More Citizens to Gain from Urban Poor Health Plan

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The scheme allows treatment at discounted rates in private hospitals. The initiative was started in 2010. Even COVID and mucormycosis are covered in the plan. Meanwhile, activists said the scheme should be scrutinised first. A system should be in place to curb issuance of unauthorised cards in the first stage itself.

Pune: The maximum income limit for beneficiaries has been increased under the Urban Poor Health Scheme and more citizens in the civic limits will soon be able to benefit from it.

“The state government has allowed us to increase the income limits. A proposal regarding it has been tabled before the standing committee. After the approval is granted, more citizens will be eligible to apply for the scheme,” said a senior official of the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC).

Currently, only those with an annual income of Rs1 lakh can take advantage of the programme. After the new proposal is approved, anybody with Rs1.6 lakh income per annum can avail the benefit from it.

The scheme allows treatment at discounted rates in private hospitals. The initiative was started in 2010. Even COVID and mucormycosis are covered in the plan.

Meanwhile, activists said the scheme should be scrutinised first. A system should be in place to curb issuance of unauthorised cards in the first stage itself.

On an average, Rs30 crore is annually spent to keep the scheme running and the expense is likely to go up by around Rs20 crore, while nearly 1 lakh citizens benefit from the scheme every year and it is likely to double after the income limit goes up. Government and private hospitals under PMC limits are empanelled under the scheme and provide 50 per cent waiver in bills to members of the scheme. The remaining amount is paid by PMC to the hospital.

According to the city based health activists, though the decision to increase the limits is a much welcome move, the civic administration should make absolutely sure that genuine beneficiaries get the facilities.

“Document scrutiny should be strict, and random audits and sudden checks are a must,” said Abhijit More, a health activist.

The PMC has planned to digitise the scheme to reduce mismanagement and malpractice in this programme.

1 Sep, 2023

Source : Healthworld.com from The Economic Times

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