September 24, 2018 04:30 AM NPT
By: DB Buda
JUMLA, September 24: Peru Kami of Tatopani Rural Municipality-6 visited the Karnali Academy of Health Sciences (KAHS) after stones were seen in his gall bladder. When doctors recommended to him to undergo a surgery, Kami feared that he wouldn't be able to cover the expenses.
“Health insurance came as a survival kit”, Kami said, adding, “The insurance covered my entire expenses, which summed up to a total of Rs 18,224.” This amount included the registration fee, admission charges, and even medicinal expenses after being discharged.
Mukti Krishna Bhatta, a local of Kanakasundari Rural Municipality-8, had visited the hospital after his hand fractured. Worrying about the hefty sum he would have to pay for his treatment, Bhatta too had opted out of treatment.
“My financial situation was delicate; there were no donors to help me. I was worried that my hand would be damaged if I didn't have a surgery,” Bhatta said. He said that if it weren't for his health insurance, there would have been no alternative to getting a loan. KAHS informed that Bhatta's total expense summed Rs. 20,700. Medical recorder Megraj Budha said that operation expenses were paid as per the insurance policy.
According to a report by KAHS Jumla, a total of 6,700 individuals who acquired health insurance last year received free Out Patient Department (OPD) services. Health insurance program is being conducted in one municipality and all seven rural municipalities of the district. According to Budha, after the constitution stated that all citizens must have health insurance, locals have been increasingly buying health insurance. In the district, some 22,234 people have bought insurance schemes since then. Under the insurance policy, 1,117 medicines are provided free of cost.
According to medical recorder Budha, there has been a rise in the number of people getting health insurance recently. “While 11,00 got health insurance last year, the number has doubled this year,” he said. While a family of five or fewer has to pay Rs 2,500 for the health insurance, each individual in a family bigger than five years has to pay Rs 425.
Among the districts in Karnali Province, Jumla has the greatest number of citizens with health insurance coverage. With a priority to those who have health insurance, a pharmacy has been established on the hospital premises.