http://economictimes.indiatimes.com...r-poor-attracts-world/articleshow/6750697.cms NEW DELHI: Indiaâ€™s ambitious public health insurance scheme covering 19 million poor families is now going global, after the World Bank recommended it for the rest of the world. After the multilateral development institution flagged it as a â€œmodel of good design and implementationâ€, countries such as Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Nigeria and Ghana have evinced interest in learning from the experience. The Maldives government has asked the Union labour ministry, the nodal ministry for implementing the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY), to design a similar project for its people. â€œWe have just had a meeting with the finance minister of Maldives. He not only wants us to design a health insurance scheme for them, but also is keen on empanelling our hospitals,â€ said Anil Swarup, director general , labour and welfare . If the plan comes through, it will be the first experiment with transnational insurance and could actually bring business to our hospitals, said Mr Swarup, the man behind the scheme. Maldives has just three hospitals and several hospitals in southern India get asubstantial number of patients from the country every year. Other countries in Asia and Africa with sizable number of poor people have shown interest in replicating the Indian scheme that provides cashless treat-ment up to Rs 30,000 annually to a family of five at empanelled government and private hospitals through smart cards. About 4,500 private hospitals and 2,000 public hospitals are part of the RSBY scheme. Indonesia has invited Mr Swarup to Bali next week to give a presentation on how the scheme works while Nigeriaâ€™s health department has already had a meeting through video conferencing. Pakistan and Bangladesh have also discussed the possibility of introducing the scheme in their countries at various international forums, Mr Swarup said. â€œIt is the smart card-driven foolproof technology , which makes the scheme unique and is the reason behind its success in India,â€ said M Ramadoss, chairman and managing director of public sector insurance company New India Assurance , one of the insurance providers under the scheme. Countries such as Ghana and the Philippines, which already have a functional public health insurance schemes in place but have problems in settling accounts of hospitals, want to use the smart card technology to make their schemes smoother. The biometric card has the finger print of the cardholder and a mere swipe allows a free treatment at empanelled hospitals. The Indian labour department has now started work on the tender document that Maldives should float to select an insurance company to run the scheme. â€œThe procedural costs will be more (than in India) as transportation costs will also have to be taken into account,â€ Mr Swarup said. The premium for providing the Rs 30,000 medical cover to a poor household of five varies from state to state and ranges from Rs 300-600. Medical emergency is one of the biggest reasons for indebtedness among the poor. Free insurance under the RSBY is now being extended to non-BPL families for identified categories like domestic workers, vendors and rickshaw pullers. Other citizen groups may also be allowed to benefit under the scheme by paying their own premium.