The medical insurance penetration in the country currently stands at a mere 20 percent. Seen from this perspective, the government’s commitment to provide up to Rs 5 lakh per year per family for secondary and tertiary medical care is a much welcome move. This will help many more people get adequate treatment without the concern of losing their life’s savings on bills. The scope of this initiative is 10 crore families, which is also good. We hope in the future the government will expand this cover to more Indians and also initiate measures to further popularise medical insurance. Other notable moves include the focus on helping TB patients and Health and Wellness centres.
However, the healthcare industry was expecting relief from high GST rates on medical equipment, which would have helped healthcare providers cut medical costs as well as improve services. Unfortunately, this concern hasn’t been addressed. Apart from this, there also needs to be a long-term vision from the government on preventive healthcare and improving the general health of people so as to reduce incidence of lifestyle diseases. This again has been missing from the announcements on healthcare.