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INDIAN (H)

Fixed bill limits may make Rs 5 lakh health cover affordable

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Mumbai: The insurance industry is confident that the cost of providing the Rs 5-lakh cover under the National Health Protection Scheme (NHPS) can be brought down to a fraction of the current figure for providing a similar cover under private mediclaim, which ranges from Rs 13,000 to Rs 20,000 for a family of five.

“Unlike the standard mediclaim, which is an urban phenomenon, a big chunk of the people covered under the NHPS are living in remote districts. The healthcare facilities are largely trust, missionary and district hospitals where the cost is significantly lower,” said Apollo Munich Health Insurance CEO Antony Jacob. “My guess is the cost of the scheme will be anywhere between Rs 10,000 crore and Rs 50,000 crore,” he added.

According to Jacob, the government will have defined limits for defined procedures. “It has been done under the Central Government Health Scheme and the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY). I have no doubt that there will be defined limits with NHPS,” he said. But the real challenge would be in making available healthcare facilities in remote areas, he said.

Fixed bill limits may make Rs 5 lakh health cover affordable

Sources say that the government is looking at a budget of around Rs 1,500 per family. The Centre also plans to get state governments to be part of the scheme by merging what they spend on health insurance or health assurance schemes with the NHPS. At present, states are evenly divided between the insurance and assurance models. While Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu are using the insurance model, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka and Gujarat are using the assurance model. Under the assurance model, instead of paying premium to an insurance company, the government manages the scheme though a third-party administrator (TPA). According to TPAs who facilitate cashless settlement of health claims, for insurance companies the RSBY scheme — which provides a cover of up to Rs 30,000 — can break even at a family premium of Rs 300-400. State governments have been providing insurance cover of up to Rs 1.5 lakh with a premium of Rs 700 per family. The head of a TPA company said, “It would be possible to design a Rs 5-lakh cover with a Rs 1,500 premium. The key rider is that unlike private mediclaim, which covers everything, here the spending in tertiary hospitals will be limited to defined procedures with defined package costs.”

Insurers say that the premium hospitals in metros have not agreed to the rates for procedures prescribed under RSBY and state government schemes. There are large private hospitals who have agreed to do major surgeries at a fraction of the cost charged to private hospitals.

For instance, under the Maharashtra government’s health scheme — Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Jan Arogya Yojana — the state government had negotiated with providers of stents for coronary angioplasty at Rs 23,000 several years before the central government capped prices. Insurers expect that the cost of on-boarding to the NHPS will be kept low by using Aadhaar for enrolment coupled with information on family details from the public distribution system (PDS).



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TECHNOLOGY

Overwatch news: London Spitfire crowned Stage 1 League champions

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UPDATE: London Spitfire are the Overwatch Stage 1 champions.

London Spitfire beat New York Excelsior 3-2 in the Grand Final of Stage 1, which means they take home $100,000.

ORIGINAL: The  League continues this weekend, as the final Stage 1 matches get under way.

Overwatch fans can watch the final three Stage 1 matches from 7pm UK time later tonight (February 10).

The Overwatch League matches will be live streamed on Twitch, beginning with New York Excelsior vs London Spitfire.

This will be followed by the Houston Outlaws vs Boston Uprising at 9pm UK time and Florida Mayhem vs Philadelphia Fusion at 11pm.

“LIVE TONIGHT: The final matches of #OWL2018 Stage 1, followed by the title matches!” reads a Blizzard tweet. “New York Excelsior vs London Spitfire. Houston Outlaws vs Boston Uprising. Florida Mayhem vs Philadelphia Fusion.”

Title matches will take place in the early hours on February 11, where players compete for a big money prize pool.

The Title matches begin at 1am, followed by the final match of Stage 1 at 3am UK time.

The news comes as Overwatch Year of the Dog loot boxes and skins go live on PS4, Xbox One and PC.

“This year, we’re celebrating Lunar New Year with changes to our Capture the Flag mode, including a new competitive mode, the new map Ayutthaya, and many gameplay improvements. 

“But we know what you really want… LOOT! Unlock over 50 new seasonal items—including legendary skins like Black Lily Widowmaker, Qinglong (Azure Dragon) Pharah, Xuanwu (Black Tortoise) Zarya, and Baihu (White Tiger) Genji—alongside gear from last Lunar New Year, available at reduced credit costs.”

“Over 170 cosmetic items are available, but the collection will disappear on March 5. Be sure to fire up your favorite gaming machine and see what good fortune awaits before it’s too late.”

The latest screenshots of the new Overwatch skins can be found in the gallery above.

Blizzard is also making changes to one of the game’s characters.

Blizzard has outlined plans to update Sombra in order to take some of the power away from her Ultimate.

The idea is to make her more powerful elsewhere, and to increase the usefulness of some of her other abilities.

“The idea here is to take some power out of her ult (and awkwardness of ult gain through health packs), and give her more power and usefulness in the rest of her kit,” Blizzard’s Geoff Goodman explains.

“A few changes that are being worked on accidentally found their way into the most recent patch. This is unintentional and we’re working on removing these.

“We’re planning on putting up a new PTR soon that has these changes (and more), so consider this a sneak peak.”



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