Free COVID-19 treatment for SSBY beneficiaries in private hospitals: Punjab Health Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu

CHANDIGARH: Punjab Health Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu on Tuesday said the state government has decided to provide free treatment to COVID-19 patients covered under the Sarbat Sehat Bima Yojana (SSBY) — a universal health insurance scheme — in empanelled private hospitals.

Sidhu said the SSBY beneficiaries can directly visit empanelled private hospitals without any need for referral from the public hospitals for coronavirus treatment.

This initiative shall bring an immense relief to the vulnerable and deprived section, which will now be able to avail level 2 and level 3 treatment in empanelled private hospitals, the minister said in a statement here.

He said the treatment available earlier in these empanelled hospitals was payable as per SSBY scheme rates fixed by the central government.

But the rates were too less to be viable for a hospital to meet expenses of treatment of a COVID-19 patient as it entails additional cost on account of PPE kits, masks, consumables, etc, he added.

Sidhu said the state government decided to bear the additional expenses and allow free treatment of COVID-19 patients in the empanelled hospitals.

“The aim is to ensure financial risk protection to around 39.57 lakh poorest, most vulnerable families in the state and is a step forward towards achievement of universal health coverage,” he said.

He said the treatment of COVID-19 patients in the government hospitals was totally free.