KATHMANDU: Officials at Health Insurance Board (HIB), the government’s social protection programme, have said lack of quality health service, awareness and human resources rendered health insurance ineffective.
Executive Director of HIB, Dr Damodar Basaula, said there are only 5,304,270 people who have health insurance in the country. Although HIB was established in 2016, only 70% have renewed their insurance. “We have effectively proceeded with health insurance as done in other countries. Still, we are lagging behind,” Basaula said.
About factors affecting health insurance schemes, ongoing Covid 19 is one, he added. Failure to implement the government’s definition of the Insurance Board as an autonomous body has made the matter worse, Basaula blamed.
Meanwhile, HIB has demanded that the government approve 372 quotas for various positions in the Board. As per the insurance policy, the HIB has managed insurance of free health treatment worth Rs 100,000 when one goes for Rs 3,500 annual insurance.
For free health treatment, HIB has reached an agreement with 441 government and private health institutions. The government itself has paid premium amounts for the groups including extremely poor people, senior citizens above 70 years, HIV infected and people with disabilities, leprosy and tuberculosis insured under the programme.
So far, across the country, the insurance programme has covered 1.5 million households. Of them, the number of extremely poor is 488,004, senior citizens 634,735, HIV infected 25,289, people with severe disabilities 93,629, leprosy infected people 2,849 and tuberculosis-infected people 2,474.
Eight local levels of Kathmandu and Lalitpur districts have yet to be covered by health insurance. So far, 745 local levels of the district have been covered by the government’s social protection programme. The local levels awaiting the programme are Kathmandu Metropolitan City, Kirtipur, Budhanilakantha, Shankharapur and Nagarjun in Kathmandu district, and Lalitpur Metropolitan City, Godavari Municipality and Mahalaxmi Municipality in Lalitpur district, according to Srijana Poudel, section officer at the Insurance Board.
(With inputs from RSS)