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Wednesday, February 1, 2023

After KPK, Punjab to get universal health insurance

In a meeting on Tuesday, the law minister disclosed that by the end of this year, each family in Punjab will receive health coverage of Rs. 1 million.

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Punjab Law and Cooperatives Minister Raja Basharat disclosed during a meeting that by the end of this year, each family in the province will receive free health insurance. The service will offer health coverage of up to Rs. 1 million per family.

This meeting was called to discuss various feasible models for implementing this plan. It was attended by Punjab Health Minister Dr. Yasmeen Rashid, Punjab Finance Minister Hashim Javan Bakht, the Planning and Development Board Chairman, Punjab Specialized Health Secretary, Punjab Finance Secretary, Punjab Law Secretary, and other officials.

Law Minister said that the provincial government wants to ensure that each family gets the card. He added that this is the first step towards Imran Khan’s vision of a state mirroring “Rayasat e Madina”. He said, “Under this program, Sahiwal and DG Khan will get the cards by April while other divisions will get it by December.”

Mr. Hashim Javan Bakht said that the department of health should sign a contract with the related agency for health insurance for at least three years so that the scheme is sustainable. According to Secretary Specialized Health, last year, out of 5.2 million registered people in the province, 136,000 benefited from the health card.

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Health insurance in Punjab was initiated under Prime Minister’s National Health Programme by ex-PM Nawaz Sharif. It was Launched in Rahim Yar Khan on 21st Oct 2016 and had expanded to Narowal, Bhakkar, Layyah, Khushab, Vehari, and lastly Hafizabad by February 2018.

However, Imran Khan’s government expanded it to 28 districts when the Sehat Insaf Card was launched by the Prime Minister on 22nd February 2019. On January 24th, the Health Minister Dr. Yasmin Rashid announced that the Cabinet had formally approved the provision of Sehat Insaf Cards to all families of the province.

The Services in KPK

KPK is the first province in Pakistan to roll out health cards to its entire population. This project was initiated by Imran Khan in 2016.

The first phase of the program was launched in 2015 that covered three percent of the population (100,000 families in four districts) of the province.

The program was extended to 51 percent of the population (1,791,930 people in all districts) in the second phase in 2016. The third phase of the program was started in 2017, covering 64 percent of the population (3,200,000 families).

Read More: Universal Health Coverage: A Revolution for the Poor

The program is meant only for patients requiring hospitalization. It covers all secondary care and tertiary care diseases such as accident and emergency, diabetes, kidney ailments, hepatitis B and C, all types of cancers, and heart and vascular diseases.

Out of the 1 million covered under the card, Rs200,000 had been specified for an emergency, maternity services, fracture, and general surgery; Rs400,000 for cardiovascular, diabetes, kidney, basic cancer, and neurological diseases; and the rest Rs400,000 for cancer, chemotherapy, kidney transplant, accident, and emergency.