About 90 minutes after the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY) launch function in Ranchi came to an end, a baby girl was born to 22-year-old Poonam Mahto — the first beneficiary of the programme in Jharkhand after its official rollout.
Born at East Singbhum Sadar Hospital in Jamshedpur, Poonam and her husband Sikander’s baby has made room for herself in the Ayushman Bharat map alongside Karishma, whose parents are the first beneficiaries of the world’s largest government health insurance programme. Karishma was born in Karnal, Haryana on August 17, two days after PMJAY was named so by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his Independence Day speech.
PMJAY entitles 10.74 crore families to an annual health cover of Rs 5 lakh. The scheme was launched on Sunday in 445 districts across 26 states. It would cover a population of 9.4 crore. Health being a state subject, in states that already have health insurance or assurance programmes of their own, PMJAY will be in alliance with the state schemes. Along with the state schemes, it now covers about 12.24 crore people.
Divyanshu Jha, executive director of the state health agency responsible for PMJAY in Jharkhand, said: “It is a proud moment for us that the scheme was launched from Jharkhand by the honourable Prime Minister. We already have our first beneficiary, after a baby girl was delivered by caesarean section. We hope this scheme helps out a lot more people.”
A resident of Basurda village in East Singbhum, Sikander,25, works as a labourer in a factory. Poonam’s gold card number is PO8QVRKDF.
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A gold card means a person’s family verification and individual verification has been completed with biometrics. On displaying the card at any empanelled hospital — government or private — the person gets benefits under the scheme.
However, procedures such as caesarean section, which in insurance parlance are known as moral hazard (tendency of an insured person to seek more healthcare than is actually needed) procedures, will only be reimbursed if they happen in government hospitals. This precaution has been put in place to prevent fraud.
A state official said: “They do not have a mobile number, they are very poor. The baby was delivered around 3.23 pm under Dr Veena Singh at the hospital. The hospital has raised a claim of Rs 18,500 for the delivery.”