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Sanjeev Kumar Patro

Here is a reality check on the much-talked-about health insurance scheme, the Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana (BSKY), rolled out by CM Naveen Patnaik as a counter to PM Narendra Modi's Ayushman Bharat. The Big revelation made today by the National Family Health Survey 2020-21 is Odisha lagging far behind its immediate neighbours in providing health insurance.

As per the recently released NFHS-5 report, during the last half-decade, the coverage of health insurance scheme in the State is up by only around 0.2 percent. The total households where at least one member is covered by a health insurance/financing scheme in 2015-16 (prior to launch of BSKY) was 47.7 percent.

The count in 2020-21 stands at 47.9 percent. Significantly, the ambitious BSKY was rolled out in the State in August 2018.

The NFHS report reveals no impact on health insurance penetration in the State, despite the claims of the Odisha government that under the new scheme 70 lakh households have been brought under the health insurance net.

Prior to the BSKY, the only insurance scheme available in the State was Rashtriya Swasthiya Bima Yojana for BPL families.

Odisha Vs Chhattisgarh

Neighboring Chhattisgarh became the first state in India to make the RSBY universal in the year 2012. As a consequence, the health insurance coverage stood at 68.4 percent in 2015-16 vis-à-vis 47.7 percent in Odisha.

In 2020-21, the total count has jumped to a massive 71.4 percent. Significant here is the State had implemented the Ayushman Bharat Yojana in September 2018 (as per information provided in the PMJAY website).

The above numerical comparison shows the impact of PMJAY in increasing the coverage.

Odisha Vs Jharkhand

This northern neighbor of Odisha had only 13.3 percent households with a health insurance cover in 2015-16 as against Odisha’s 47.7 percent. In 2020-21, the count has taken a long leap to touch 50.3 percent. Though the state has been implementing RSBY since its inception, the only change observed between 2015-16 and 2020-21 had been rolled out of Ayushman Bharat. The Impact is obvious from the jump.

Odisha Vs West Bengal

In the year 2015-16, the number of households covered with a health insurance or financing scheme in the eastern neighbour of Odisha was 33.4 percent.

The number in 2020-21 has dipped to 29.3 percent. The significant change witnessed during the last half-decade is Centre-launched Ayushman Bharat and replaced it with RSBY.  Incidentally, West Bengal is another state, besides Odisha, to not implement Ayushman Bharat.

While Odisha rolled out its own scheme, WB is yet to introduce one. The drop in numbers tells the obvious tale.

Odisha Vs Andhra Pradesh

This southern neighbour of Odisha had launched a health insurance scheme called YSR Arogyashree in the year 2007. The State was first in the country then to roll out such a health insurance scheme.  As a consequence, the penetration of health insurance in households stood at a massive 75percent. A government change happened in 2014. Despite implementing the Ayushman Bharat since Jan 2020, the coverage count in the State has dropped to around 70% in 2020-21.

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