Service seekers reluctant to renew government health policyNeither the local health posts nor the district hospital has provisions to cover the health expenses of service seekers under the policy.
Dil Prasad Sunar of Golkhada in Puthauttarganga Rural Municipality-12 got a health insurance policy of Rs 2,900 in 2018 under the government’s ‘swastha beema’ scheme for his family of six. However, he did not renew his policy this year because he could not make use of the policy when he needed it for a lack of designated healthcare facilities where the policy is accepted.
“I visited the Primary Health Centre close to my house but when I reached there, I was sorely disappointed,” he said. “Not only did my insurance policy not work but even the medicines at the health post had expired.”
Prem Kumari Budha of Bhume Rural Municipality-7 has also decided not to renew his family’s insurance policy this year as none of the local and district hospitals accepted the policy.
Other families who had got the insurance are also reluctant to renew their policies.
The majority of people from all three rural municipalities—Bhume, Sisne and Puthauttarganga—in Rukum East have decided not to renew their health insurance policy this year as neither the local health posts nor the district hospital has the provision to cover the health expenses of service seekers under the policy.
The health insurance scheme was launched in the district in March 2018.
According to Ganesh Oli, chairman of the district hospital management committee, the district hospital and the insurance board have only recently reached an agreement in regards to the ‘swastha beema’ scheme.
“An agreement between the hospital and the insurance board has just been put in place but the insured are not getting the service. The pharmacy at the hospital is not fully operational. That is why the service seekers have not been able to avail of the health policy,” he said.
Sapna Bista, registration officer of the Health Insurance Board, said that the health policy was not being put to use because the board failed to designate health institutions where the policy could be accepted.
“But we have now reached an agreement with the district hospital so the service seekers can make use of the policy,” she said.
In Rukum (East), around 2,373 households have signed up for the government health policy covering a total of 6,609 individuals. The highest number, 2,451 people, is from Bhume Rural Municipality, 2,178 from Sisne Rural Municipality and 1,978 from Puthauttarganga Rural Municipality.
Although the local government has formulated policies, programmes and budgets prioritising the health insurance policy, not many people have signed up for it.Chairman of Bhume Rural Municipality Homprakash Shrestha said that the local unit will put more focus on health insurance in the next five years. “Our aim is to make affordable treatment accessible to the majority of the population,” he said. “The rural municipality authorities have decided to formulate policies, programmes and budget accordingly.”