The Meghalaya Government on Thursday launched the Megha Health Insurance Scheme (MHIS) Phase-IV in convergence with the Ayushman Bharat – Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana.
It is hoped that the medical colleges, which would come up in the State, will be able to address the issue of shortage of manpower in future.
The scheme was launched by Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma at a function in Yojana Bhavan Main Secretariat in Shillong.
Meghalaya Minister for Health and Family Welfare, A.L. Hek, Tourism Minister Metbah Lyngdoh, and other MLAs were also present at the function along with officials from the Health department.
Addressing the gathering, Conrad Sangma said the convergence scheme would ensure that each and every citizen in the State gets benefits of the health insurance and it would benefit the people immensely.
“The MHIS is a good initiative taken up by the Government in the past three years. It is important as it is inclusive and addresses the healthcare needs of the people,” the Chief Minister said.
Stating that improvement of the health sector is a top priority for the Government, the Chief Minister urged all stakeholders to have proactive participation to ensure quality and accessible health care reach the people especially the rural population.
“We need improvement in many areas especially when it comes to rural healthcare. We are looking at ways on how we can work with the private sectors to achieve our objective of providing better services to the people,” the Chief Minister said.
Stressing the importance of public awareness on healthy lifestyle practices and preventive measures the Chief Minister said that the government was keen to initiate a 100 day awareness programme on women’s health issues starting early next year.
“Besides infrastructure and medical treatment, awareness on preventive measures is equally important,” he added.
The Health Minister, A.L. Hek said that under MHIS Phase IV the coverage has been increased to Rs. 5 lakh per household from the previous Rs 2.8 lakh. In order to ensure accessibility and inclusive coverage, e-cards will be provided to all the beneficiaries instead of one card per household as it was in the previous phases of the implementation of MHIS.
The scheme will not cover State and Central government employees. The scheme can be utilized in all empanelled hospitals in Meghalaya and outside the state.
In his address, Dr. Indu Bhushan, CEO, National Health Agency, said that Ayushman Bharat scheme which was formally launched on September 25 this year, would help in reducing out pocket expenditure on medical expenses and reduce impoverishment due to expenditure on healthcare.
“The scheme will not only reduce poverty but also improve the quality of health services both in the public and private sector. The scheme will facilitate improved access to health care and increase overall health status in the country,” he said.
Lauding the launch of the convergence scheme, Dr. Bhushan mentioned that Meghalaya was at the forefront of innovations in the health insurance scheme providing comprehensive health coverage to all its citizens.
The Secretary to Health and Family Welfare and CEO, MHIS, Pravin Bakshi informed that 3.47 lakh beneficiaries belonging to the Socio Economic Caste Census category as defined under the Union Ministry of Rural Development will be covered under the PMJAY while the remaining, amounting to around 7 lakh beneficiaries, will be covered by the State government under the MHIS Phase-IV health insurance scheme.
During the function, e-cards were distributed to the beneficiaries and awards were also handed to the achievers of MHIS phase-III scheme implementation.