National

Health insurance fails to attract Baitadi folk

- TRIPTI SHAHI, BAITADI

Apr 19, 2019-

The Health Insurance Board of Nepal envisions improving the overall health situation of Nepali people through universal health coverage by increasing access to, and utilisation of, necessary quality health services. However, residents of Baitadi, a district in the country’s Farwest, seem less attracted to the health insurance schemes introduced by the government.

So far only 6,578 individuals out of 250,000 Baitadi inhabitants have taken health insurance coverage, according to statistics provided by the Health Insurance Board, Baitadi. Among them 3,642 are male and 936 female.

A majority of Baitadi citizens travel to India for health check-ups and treatment as they do not trust the health services provided by the government hospitals in Nepal. This distrust stems from the lack of well-facilitated infrastructure and quality service in government hospitals in Nepal.

Rajendra Bhattarai, a local, said that since people rely on neighbouring Indian towns even in case of minor ailment, they see it unnecessary to get insured in Nepal.

“We are compelled to rush to India for medical treatment. What do we do with the health insurance here?” asked another local Sudarshan Bohara.

Officials at the Insurance Board said that even those who have subscribed to health insurance policies have started discontinuing the renewal of their policies.

“Even the people who understand the importance of health insurance have no interest in getting insured in Nepal. They travel to nearby Indian town of Pithauragadh when they need health services,” said Jaman Singh Badal, an insurance registration employee.

“Even the local government leaders and civil employees do not have health insurance here. Forget about the ordinary citizens,” he said, adding that people’s representatives could play a crucial role in their respective communities to attract people towards health insurance by setting their own examples.  

The health insurance programme was introduced in late 2016, according to which a five-member family was required to pay a premium of Rs 2,500 while filling a form and pay the equal amount during the renewal of the policy. Meanwhile, a family exceeding five individuals was required to pay Rs450 per additional member.

Published: 19-04-2019 09:27

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