In a first, medical insurance for treatment of mental illness will be available as in cases of physical illness, Union Health Minister J P Nadda said on Sunday.
“#MentalHealthCareAct2017 For the first time, medical insurance for treatment of mental illness to be available on the same basis as is available for treatment of physical illness under Section 21(4) of the Act (sic),” Nadda tweeted.
The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) had recently issued circular directing insurers to cover mental illness, besides physical ailments.
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The Mental Healthcare Act, 2017, which came into force from May 29, has made it mandatory to provide for “medical insurance for treatment of mental illness on the same basis as is available for treatment of physical illness”.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his Independence Day speech, said his government would launch the ambitious the Ayushman Bharat healthcare scheme on September 25.
Modi had said the programme’s technology would be tested in the next one month to make it foolproof.
The scheme will target poor, deprived rural families and identified occupational category of urban workers’ families, 8.03 crore in rural and 2.33 crore in urban areas, and will cover around 50 crore people.
While Punjab, Kerala, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Delhi are yet to come on board, Odisha has refused to be a part of the scheme, an official said.
As many as 22 states have preferred to run the scheme on “trust model”.
The Centre has allocated about Rs 10,000 crore for the project, which is claimed to be the world’s largest government-funded healthcare insurance programme. It is yet to release its share of funds to the states.
The Union Health Ministry has launched a formal process to empanel public and private hospitals to achieve universal health coverage under the programme.
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The Centre was simultaneously carrying out beneficiary identification. Under the process, 80 per cent of beneficiaries, based on the Socio-Economic Caste Census (SECC) data in the rural and the urban areas, have been identified.
The Health Ministry has included 1,354 packages in the scheme under which treatment for coronary bypass, knee replacements and stenting, among others, would be provided at 15-20 per cent cheaper rates than the Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS).