PESHAWAR: Six companies have shown interest in implementing top-up health insurance package to enable the government employees to avail executive services under the Sehat Card Plus programme in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The government employees would get executive stay in hospitals and treatment for more diseases under the flagship initiative of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government, covering all the 7.7 million families of the province for cashless treatment regardless of their financial status.

Dr Amir Rafiq, deputy director of Social Health Protection Initiative (SHPI) branded as Sehat Card Plus (SCP) programme, told Dawn that top-up package had already been approved by Chief Minister Mahmood Khan and announced by Health Minister Taimur Khan Jhagra during the budget speech. It would cover the government employees, who would opt to avail it, he added.

“We have floated advertisements to invite interest of the insurance firms till June 20. Six firms have deposited expression of interest to execute the programme and evaluating the same,” he said. He added that the companies would submit their financial and technical proposals, which would be evaluated, to make a final decision regarding selection of a firm to implement the programme, first of its kind for the employees of government departments.

600,000 employees will be given option to avail executive services under the scheme

“The programme in its present shape provides free investigation and treatment services to all the people in the empanelled hospitals in general wards due to which most of the government servants hesitate to get services as they want private rooms, ambulances and other facilities not covered under the programme,” said Dr Amir.

He said that once the modalities of the top-up package were finalised, about 600,000 employees of the province would be given one-time option to get enrolled to stand entitled to executive services. He added that there would be different packages for different grades of the employees, who would be required to deposit premiums.

Dr Amir said that the employees opting to get the top-up package would also avail Rs1 million presently given to all the residents of the province and their additional premium would enable their entitlement to executive services. “The government wants to launch the new initiative on January 1. It will be totally optional for the employees to get the package and they would continue to avail free services in accordance with the ongoing package as residents of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa,” he added.

Last month, the provincial assembly passed Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Universal Health Coverage Act by virtue of which the programme has now become a permanent feature and the people would continue to avail free services. Each of the family is eligible to get treatment services worth Rs1 million per year.

However, for renal transplants, they are eligible to get Rs1.4 million from Sehat Card Plus programme and so far 60 procedures have been carried out. The programme also allows Rs5 million for liver transplant of the residents of the province. The number of beneficiaries to undergo liver transplant is 15 so far.

The latest patient to undergo liver transplant surgery is 11-year-old Shafiullah, a resident of Haripur district. His father, a labourer, couldn’t afford treatment of his son, born with a congenital metabolic disease of liver called Wilson’s disease. Two months ago, he developed acute liver failure, which entailed 90pc mortality. He underwent surgery on June 12 and is recovering fast.

So far, more than 1.2 million patients have received free treatment under the programme. The government has allocated Rs25 billion for the programme for the upcoming financial year, up from the 22 billion allocation of the outgoing year. Since extension of the coverage of the scheme to the entire population, the number of admission has increased continuously.

“There are 1,115 empanelled hospitals in the country where the residents of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa can avail free treatment. The province has 203 hospitals. The people require valid national identity card to avail treatment services under the programme,” officials said.

Published in Dawn, June 28th, 2022

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