Govt mulls health insurance for all

KATHMANDU: With a view to providing Social Health Insurance (SHI) to all citizens, a steering committee has been formed under the leadership of Minister for Health and Population.

The Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) is introducing the SHI concept for the first time on a nationwide level.

Dr Laxmi Raj Pathak, chief of policy, planning and international cooperation division, under the MoHP, said that the concept of insurance is in the initial phase of discussion.

Talking to The Himalayan Times, he said that the present constitution has guaranteed right to health for every citizen.

According to the Interim Constitution, every citizen shall have the right to basic health service free of cost from the state.

“At present, we are studying various models of health insurance of various countries to make it applicable to our country,” said Pathak. We are forming working committee soon for formulating applicable policy since different nations have their unique institutional arrangements for funding and delivering healthcare services to their citizens.

“It is too early to know which models will work in the context of Nepal,” he said.

“We’re not in a position to provide every type of free health service to the people,” said the chief, adding that they are drawing a fine line between the free health service and health insurance.

He, however, bemoaned that the people are not positive toward the health insurance policy even as the nation has shown its readiness to provide free health services to all.

The ministry has already introduced the concept of health insurance in six VDCs of six districts across the country as a pilot programme. A 17-member committee has also been formed to draw up the national policy.