Is the Sehat Card's Rs18,000 for a C-section delivery enough?

Private hospitals refuse patients, say rates are low
Jan 26, 2022

Prime Minister Imran inaugurated on Wednesday Naya Pakistan Sehat Cards for the people of Islamabad. Under the project, up to one million families across Islamabad, Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltistan, and Tharparkar will be provided health insurance of Rs1 million.

The government has already inaugurated similar health insurance programs for Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The card promises hundreds of thousands of families an affordable universal healthcare program. However, in a country where the majority of government hospitals are either overcrowded or not functioning at optimum, it all comes down to how private hospitals honour the government’s health insurance scheme.

Naya Pakistan Sehat Cards provides insurance coverage of Rs18,000 for a Caesarean Section operation and Rs15,000 for a normal delivery.

SAMAA TV’s Daniyal Umar made calls to private hospitals and maternity homes in Lahore to find out how much they charge for baby deliveries and if they accept the Sehat Card.

Private hospitals in Lahore are charging somewhere between Rs70,000 to Rs200,000 for normal delivery of babies depending on the facilities. For Caesarean Sections, charges vary from Rs80,000 to Rs300,000.

One of the clinics that SAMAA TV contacted was of Punjab’s Health Minister Dr Yasmeen Rashid's. A clinic staffer said over the phone that Dr Rashid does not have time so her daughter handles patients. For a normal delivery, the clinic charges around Rs150,000. This does not include the cost of medicines, he said. For a Caesarean Section, the charges can go up to Rs225,000, exclusive of medicines, he said.

All private hospitals that were contacted refused to honour the government issued health card. They said that the rate that the State Life Insurance has set is low and it is not feasible for them to provide coverage at this rate.

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