New Delhi: Commemorating the 72nd Independence Day at the Red Fort, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday announced that India’s mega health scheme Ayushman Bharat, now repackaged as Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Abhiyaan, will be rolled out on September 25, the birth anniversary of Deendayal Upadhyaya.
“The scheme will provide a cover of Rs 5 lakh per year to 50 crore individuals across income groups. However wealthy the family may be, a perennial illness dents financial stability of the family forever. In order to prevent that from happening, we will be holding experiments in this sector for the next 6-7 weeks after which we will officially roll out the scheme,” said Modi.
Modi inaugurated the first health centre under Ayushman Bharat Scheme in Bijapur on April 14, 2018. Under the scheme, the government plans to open 1.5 lakh health and wellness centres by 2022, which will be equipped to treat host of diseases, including blood pressure, diabetes, cancer and old-age illness.
Also under the scheme, the government has prepared the broad contour of the National Health Protection Scheme (NHPS) and the work is on to finalise parameters for identifying beneficiaries and hospital entitlement.
On January 5, Modi had asked officials to devote the next three months in developing these less developed districts and had said he would like to visit one of these areas which would be well-performing.
After its official announcement during the budget speech by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, the Cabinet on March 14, approved the National Health Protection Mission that marks the rollout of the mega scheme. The beneficiaries of the proposed scheme will be more than 10 crore poor families, based on the Socio Economic and Caste Census database.
Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana, which provided a health cover of Rs 30,000, and the Senior Citizen Health Insurance Scheme will be subsumed into the new healthcare scheme.
A government statement on earlier said this cover will take care of almost all secondary care and most tertiary care procedures.
"To ensure that nobody is left out (especially women, children and elderly), there will be no cap on family size and age in the scheme. The benefit cover will also include pre- and post-hospitalisation expenses. All pre-existing conditions will be covered from day one of the policy," the government said in the statement.
The Ayushman Bharat scheme will also have a defined transport allowance for each time a person is hospitalised.
The different categories in rural areas include families with only one room with kaccha walls and kaccha roofs, families having no adult member between age 16 to 59, and female-headed households with no adult male member between age 16 to 59, among others.
Also, families with disabled members and no able-bodied adult member, SC/ST households, and landless households deriving major part of their income from manual casual labour, will be entitled under the scheme.
For urban areas, 11 defined occupational categories are entitled under the scheme. The beneficiaries can avail benefits in both public and empanelled private facilities.
All public hospitals in the states under the scheme will be deemed empanelled for the scheme. As for private hospitals, they will be empanelled online based on a defined criteria.
To ensure that the funds reach state health agencies (SHAs) on time, the transfer of funds from the central government will be done through an escrow account directly.