Thursday 25th Jul 2024
Dhivehi Edition
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Aasandha Out of Cash: Healthcare Insurance Scheme Surpasses Fiscal Budget

MALÉ - A fiscal crisis is looming over the Maldives as the state's insurance scheme, Aasandha, has run out of funds for the current fiscal year. According to a report released today by the Finance Ministry, Aasandha has already exhausted its annual budget of MVR 1.045 billion, with half of the fiscal year still to come.
The figures reveal a budget overrun of MVR 109 million, meaning that expenditure has exceeded the allocation by roughly 10%. This places significant pressure on the state budget and could potentially impact the provision of vital health services to citizens.
During the budget preparation phase, the government assured the public that it would take special measures to curb the expenditure of Aasandha, as part of a broader strategy to reduce the budget deficit. Yet, it appears that these proposed cuts have not been implemented, adding to the fiscal woes.
One major contributing factor to the budget deficit is the surging costs of medical treatment in India. A significant portion of Aasandha's funds are allocated to cover the medical bills of Maldivians in Indian hospitals, which have been charging exorbitant prices for their services.
The situation is made more challenging due to a prior agreement that permits Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH) to outsource treatments to Indian hospitals, further straining the already stretched Aasandha fund.
This crisis did not come without warning, as international financial institutions have previously expressed concerns over the fiscal management of Aasandha and the National Social Protection Agency (NSPA). These institutions proposed spending reforms, which were unfortunately ignored by the government.
This financial debacle raises serious questions about fiscal responsibility and the long-term sustainability of Aasandha. While the government remains silent on its next steps, thousands of Maldivians relying on the scheme are left in the lurch, wondering how their future medical expenses will be covered.