Why the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana failed to deliver?

Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY) is a government-run health insurance programme for the poor. It provides health insurance coverage to the unrecognized sector workers belonging to the BPL category and their family members.

Why RSBY has failed to deliver?

The RSBY has failed to deliver because of its design which was complex.

  • The beneficiaries were provided with the smart cards but the beneficiaries were unaware on how to use it.
  • The indifferent attitude of the hospitals was not addressed. Many hospitals did not respect patients with the card and saw them as availing medical care free of cost. In some cases the hospitals even refused to oblige the card.
  • There was lack of awareness about the use of the card. Hence it was reduced to a showpiece.
  • Lack of involvement and endorsement by local leaders further diminished the value of the card for the households.
  • The difficulty in understanding the benefits of the card and how to use it led households to opt for seeking medical care without the card.
  • The orthodox mindset saw health insurance as the bad omen indicating the arrival of sickness. There were no attempts to address this cultural stigma.

The lapses with the RSBY must give lesson to the authorities as India has launched new mega health scheme PMJAY. The government must explore ways to develop a rights based approach so that the PMJAY scheme becomes an asset to the society.


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