Health insurance in Arunachal

Flights Of Fantasy

[ M Panging Pao ]

In September 2018, along with the prime minister’s announcement of the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY), the chief minister of Arunachal Pradesh launched the Chief Minister’s Arogya Arunachal Yojana or CMAAY.
The CMAAY replaced the erstwhile Chief Minister’s Universal Health Insurance Scheme, which was suspended due to the existence of several problem areas.
The announcement of the CMAAY was good news for all Arunachalee citizens. With very poor health infrastructure forcing Arunachalee patients to frequently travel outside the state for advanced medical care, the CMAAY is a step in the right direction. As per the latest census, about 90,000 families qualified for the PMJAY. The remaining families, comprising state government employees, APST families and non-APST permanent residents, are eligible for the CMAAY. Both these plans cater cashless medical treatment for earmarked medical procedures at empanelled hospitals of upto Rs 5 lakhs per family per year.
Citizens can enroll in the scheme online through website or use the mobile app ‘Aarogya Arunachal’, and through dedicated enrollment kiosks in each district. The documents required are laid out in the website.
Though a good initiative, there are certain irritants in the laid down schemes. Presently, there are only two empanelled hospitals in Arunachal Pradesh – Bakin Pertin General Hospital, Pasighat, and the Tomo Riba Institute of Health & Medical Sciences (TRIHMS), Naharlagun. Private hospitals in Arunachal, and other hospitals like RK Mission Hospital, are not empanelled. This may create problems like unavailability of sufficient hospital beds, delay in operation dates, refusal by hospitals to treat patients, etc.
Empanelment of a few private hospitals and a few other government/public hospitals of Arunachal could ease this problem.
There are presently 17 empanelled private hospitals – all outside the state. There are some in remote and disconnected cities like Aurangabad! There are only single private hospitals empanelled in Kolkata, Tinsukia and Dibrugarh. With Dibrugarh and Tinsukia frequented by patients from nearby districts of Arunachal, there is a need to empanel more hospitals in Dibrugarh, Tinsukia and Kolkata.
With a little more fine-tuning, the CMAAY has the potential to be a game-changer in the provision of cheap medical care to Arunachalee patients. Provision of good healthcare is one of the most basic requirements of any civilized society. The state government definitely needs to be appreciated for re-launching the health insurance scheme for Arunachalee citizens. Let’s hope the implementation is also equally efficient and good. The CMAAY should not die like the CM’s Universal Health Insurance Scheme.
(The contributor is retired Group Captain, Indian Air Force)