Union Budget 2018: Arun Jaitley Announces National Health Insurance Scheme For 10 Crore Poor Families:

budget 2018

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced a flagship National Healthcare Protection Scheme in the Union Budget for 2018-19 for underprivileged families.

The scheme aims to provide a cover of up to Rs 5 Lakh per family every year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalization, Jaitley said in his speech. It will cover 10 crore families, benefiting more than 50 crore people, he said. “This will be the world’s largest government-funded healthcare initiative.”

The finance minister said enough resources will be allocated to the plan, without giving details. Budget documents show that the expenditure on health in 2018-19 has pegged at Rs 54,667 crore compared to a revised estimate of Rs 53,198 crore in 2017-18.

The Budget also proposed to raise the cess on personal income tax and corporation tax from 3% to 4% to fund education and healthcare needs of BPL and rural families.

The government is steadily progressing towards providing universal health coverage for citizens as the country can’t realise its demographic dividend until it is healthy, Jaitley said.

“The plan clearly indicates that the government is rightly focused on increasing health insurance penetration and ensuring that India’s aspiring populace enjoys the benefits of this essential health cover,”

​The government had made some serious efforts to improve the state of healthcare and made it a prime focus “as this is one of the largest such benefit programmes in the world”. “Raising the limit for health insurance premium from Rs 30,000 to 50,000 under (Section) 80 D and allowing a deduction of Rs 1 Lakh for critical illness for senior citizens will prompt a shift in the mindset of consumers who still think they do not require insurance and encourage them to review their decision.” 

​​ Health insurance claims in India are nearly 5 percent of the total healthcare spends which reflects that most people are “either under-insured or un-insured ” “The announcement of National Healthcare protection scheme reinforces government’s commitment towards providing healthcare protection solutions and mitigating the financial uncertainties of vulnerable families in the country,” he added.