State-owned general insurers may get the first preference in the Ayushman Bharat health insurance scheme.
While the model tender documents made no mention of which category of insurers will be eligible for the scheme, it is now left for individual states to take a call on this matter.
Some state insurance unions have sought first preference for public sector non-life insurers, who say the unions have handled high volumes of health insurance across rural and urban areas.
"States which adopt an insurance model can take a call on this matter," said a senior official overseeing this programme.
If this is implemented, first preference will be to the four PSU insurers. If they do not participate in the bidding, private insurers will also be invited.
These four are — National Insurance, Oriental Insurance, New India Assurance Company and United India Insurance.
Sources told Moneycontrol that at least nine states have informally conveyed that they will be adopting the trust model. This will mean that these states will set up their own trusts to offer the Rs 5-lakh family floater health insurance. They will not require the assistance of any insurance company for this purpose.The official quoted above also said that the government has given the freedom to states to chose whichever model they want and also decide on the eligibility of the insurance company.
"Only the rough contours of the initiative have been spelt out. Slight modifications can be made over that," added another official.
The Ayushman Bharat-National Health Protection Mission (AB-NHPM) is completely free for the families, the premium share between Centre and States will be 60 percent and 40 percent. This scheme will cover 100 million poor families.
The erstwhile government-sponsored health insurance of Rs 30,000, called Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY), had run into rough weather with several private insurers staying away from the bidding process stating that unsustainable premiums were being quoted.
Once implemented, NHPM will be the country's largest health insurance programme in terms of the size of insurance as well as number of people covered.