On Sunday, Prime Minister Modi has launched one of the world’s largest publicly funded health insurance scheme, Ayushman Bharat –Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY) in Ranchi, Jharkhand. This health insurance scheme termed as “game-changer initiative to serve the poor” which is set to cover some 50 crore poor people in India.
The scheme will contribute a cover of up to ₹5 lakhs per family per year, for secondary and tertiary care hospitalization. Over 10.74 crore underprivileged families (approximately 50 crore beneficiaries) will be eligible for these benefits. The scheme will target poor, deprived rural families and identified an occupational category of urban workers’ families, 8.03 crore in rural and 2.33 crore in urban areas, as per the latest Socio-Economic Caste Census (SECC) data.
Eleven occupational classes of workers include domestic workers, rag pickers, beggars, street vendors, cobblers and other service providers working on streets, construction workers, plumbers, masons, painters, security guards, coolies, labours and other head-load workers and sanitation workers.
The size of the scheme could be assessed from the fact that more than 1,300 ailments are covered under it, including heart diseases, kidney and liver disorders, and diabetes, the PM said. “People are calling the scheme Modicare and by other names, but for me, it is an opportunity to serve the poor. I hope and pray that the poor don’t have to visit hospitals, but, if they do, the Ayushman cover will be at their service. The poor of my country must get all the facilities that the rich enjoy.” he said.
PMJAY will provide cashless and paperless access to services for the beneficiary at the point of service. No one needs to register for the initiative. A health card would be provided to the beneficiaries for availing of the benefits. A toll-free number will be made available to the people for finding out more about the scheme. PMJAY will help relieve the financial risk appearing out of catastrophic health incidents. When fully implemented, PMJAY will become the world’s largest fully government-financed health protection scheme.
Modi also said that 2,500 modern hospitals would come up in tier-II and tier-III cities and would generate employment opportunities. “A total of 13,000 hospitals have become a part of the Ayushman Bharat scheme. Our government has taken a holistic approach to lay stress on affordable and preventive healthcare. This scheme will set a standard for countries across the world, Modi said.
As many as 31 states and Union Territories have signed MoUs with the Centre and will implement the programme over the next two to three months, after its launch on Sunday. Remaining states and UTs which include Telangana, Odisha, Delhi, Kerala, and Punjab have not signed, so the scheme will not be implemented in those states till they come on board. Over 8,735 hospitals, both public and private, have been enrolled for the scheme.