In his fifth Independence Day speech from the ramparts of Red Fort, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on August 15 announced that the government will launch the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Abhiyaan (Ayushman Bharat) on September 25 on the birth anniversary of Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay. PM Modi said the healthcare initiatives of the government will have a positive impact on 50 crore Indians. “The Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Abhiyaan (Ayushman Bharat Scheme) will be launched on 25th September (Deendayal Upadhyaya’s birth anniversary) this year. It is high time we ensure that the poor of India get access to good quality and affordable healthcare,” he said from the Red Fort in the national capital.
The policy was initially announced by the then Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in February this year during the presentation of last full budget of the NDA government. It has been dubbed as ‘Modicare’ scheme by the Bharatiya Janata Party leaders.
What is Ayushman Bharat scheme?
The scheme was announced to provide healthcare facilities to the sections of the society who cannot afford it. It aims to cover over 10 crore vulnerable families (approximately 50 crore beneficiaries) and provide health cover up to Rs 5 lakh per family per year. According to the latest Socio-Economic Caste Census (SECC) data, the scheme will target poor, deprived rural families and identified occupational category of urban workers’ families – 8.03 crore in rural and 2.33 crore in urban areas.
The benefits of what is being touted as the world’s largest health protection scheme are portable across the country. a beneficiary covered under the scheme will be allowed to take cashless benefits from any public/private empanelled hospitals across the country.
In order to make sure that nobody from a vulnerable group is left out of the benefit cover, the government has decided not to put a cap on family size and age in ‘Ayushman Bharat’ scheme. The insurance scheme will cover pre and post-hospitalisation expenses.
“It is essential to ensure that we free the poor of India from the clutches of poverty due to which they cannot afford healthcare,” PM Modi said in his speech while adding that technology will play a crucial role in the implementation of the programme. He added that in four to six weeks, testing of these technology tools under the scheme will start.
How will the finances be covered?
The expenditure as premium payment will be shared by the Central and state governments in a specified ratio – 60:40 for all states and UTs with their own legislature, 90:10 in Northeast states and the three Himalayan states of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal and Uttarakhand. All the UTs without a legislature will get 100% central funding. The states are also free to continue with their own health programmes.
As of now, 14 states have finalised their memoranda of understanding with the Centre – with Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Madhya Pradesh, Assam, Sikkim and Chandigarh deciding to use a trust model for the mission. In this model, the bills will be reimbursed directly by the government.