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ISLAMABAD: The federal cabinet will likely approve on Thursday (tomorrow) expansion of Sehat Sahulat Programme to all permanent resident families of Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) and Gilgit-Baltistan based on the NADRA data with additional cost of Rs 1.8 billion yearly.

The Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination (NHSRC) moved a proposal (summary) to the federal cabinet meeting scheduled on Thursday with Prime Minister Imran Khan in the chair contending that the Health Ministry along with the participating provincial and regional governments is working on a social health, protection initiative of Sehat Sahulat Programme (Qaumi Sehat Card).

The initiative has been devised to provide free of cost financial health protection (Health Insurance) to the poor and marginalised families identified from the National Socio-Economic Registry (NSER) database of EHSAAS/BISP to protect them against extra-ordinary indoor healthcare expenditure.

This protection not only assures reduction in out-of-pocket expenditure on seeking indoor healthcare services but also provides cashless quality healthcare services to families in a dignified manner from empaneled public or private sector hospitals.

Additionally, the initiative also gives opportunity to enroll families to spend their savings from health expenditure, on improving their socio-economic status.

The Health Ministry added that for the purpose of implementing the initiative, the ministry (Health) and participating provincial governments conducted a unified procurement of insurance company through nationwide tender process during the year 2018.

As a result, the State Life Insurance Corporation has been hired for the period of three years (2019-2021) on fixed health insurance premium to implement the programme in target districts.

The contract is going to expire on 31 December 2021 and the Ministry of NHSRC is working on starting new procurement process for hiring insurance company on a new benefit package for the next three years (2022-2024).

The ministry, in the summary, added that it will implement and finance this special initiative for the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) and Gilgit-Baltistan through existing Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) of Sehat Sahulat Programme and by revising, modifying its approved PC-1 for additional financial resource of approximately Rs 1.8 billion per year, at an expected annual health insurance proration of Rs 3,000 per family per year.

The ministry to secure permanent resident family data of the Islamabad Capital Territory and Gilgit-Baltistan districts from the NADRA, and provide families with Qaumi Sehat Card regardless of their poverty level, and it will include universal provision of Qaumi Sehat Card to all permanent resident families of the Islamabad Capital Territory and Gilgit-Baltistan districts in its new procurement of insurance company and start implementation of the directives by December 2021. The Ministry of Planning Development and Special Initiatives has proposed that the insurance cover in the ICT (Islamabad) may also be extended to the registered temporary residents (citizens), who are mostly government servants.

A separate proposal is being submitted for covering the federal government servants through the Finance Division.

The prime minister in his capacity as minister in-charge Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination has seen and authorised submission of this summary to the Cabinet.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021


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