Prime Minister Narendra Modi rolled out the Centre’s flagship Ayushman Bharat-National Health Protection Scheme, renamed Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Abhiyan (PMJAY), from Jharkhand on Sunday. The ambitious scheme, whose announcement was made by the PM from the ramparts of the Red Fort during his Independence Day speech, aims to provide a coverage of Rs five lakh per family annually and is expected to benefit more than 10 crore poor families.
As many as 31 states and Union Territories have signed Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) with the Centre and will implement the programme over the next two to three months, after its launch tomorrow.
According to a Niti Aayog member, while the scheme will be launched tomorrow, it will effectively be operational from September 25, the birth anniversary of Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay.
What is Ayushman Bharat or National Health Protection Scheme?
The ambitious Ayushman Bharat or National Health Protection Scheme 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. The programme is being touted as the world’s largest health protection scheme. The benefits of the scheme are portable across the country and a beneficiary covered under the scheme will be allowed to take cashless benefits from any public/private empanelled hospitals across the country.
Who is covered under Ayushman Bharat or NHPS?
The scheme will aim to target over 10 crore families based on SECC (Socio-Economic Caste Census) database. To ensure that nobody from the vulnerable group is left out of the benefit cover, there will be no cap on family size and age in ‘Ayushman Bharat’ scheme. The insurance scheme will cover pre and post-hospitalisation expenses.
How will the government fund the scheme?
The expenditure incurred in premium payment will be shared between 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 and 100 per cent central funding for UTs without legislature. The states are also free to continue with their own health programmes.
So far, 14 states have finalised their memoranda of understanding with the Centre. Of these, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Madhya Pradesh, Assam, Sikkim and Chandigarh are the states that will use a trust model for the mission. In a trust model, bills are reimbursed directly by the government. Gujarat and Tamil Nadu have opted for mixed mode implementation. In an insurance model, the government pays a fixed premium to an insurance company, which pays the hospitals.
States who have/have not signed MoU
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.
Customised letter from PM Modi for Jharkhand beneficiaries
Beneficiaries of the Centre’s health insurance programme in Jharkhand, from where Modi launched the flagship scheme today, were sent a two-page customised letter from the PM, outlining the importance and benefits of the project. The government will send similar letters to 10.74 crore beneficiary families across the country gradually. The letters will have a photograph of Modi, a government official said. “Around 57 lakh families in Jharkhand are expected to receive letters by Sunday morning,” the official had said.
The letter mentions that the beneficiary family can avail the scheme in hospitals in their area and health facilities empanelled under the scheme across the country. “I hope you will receive complete treatment without the need to worry about the expense and without any hassles,” the letter states.
Besides the health insurance scheme, the PM will also launch 10 wellness centres in Jharkhand.
Jharkhand mulls inclusion of all under scheme
The Raghubar Das government is mulling inclusion of all the people under the scheme since 85 per cent of the population will benefit following the rollout of the health cover tomorrow. “Fifty-seven lakh families of the state’s total 68 lakh families will benefit from ‘Ayushman Bharat’, which is 85 per cent of the state’s population. The government is considering to include the rest 15 per cent population by collecting some premium from them,” the chief minister was quoted as saying by PTI.
PM asks Orissa CM Naveen Patnaik to link people of Odisha with Ayushman health scheme
On Saturday, PM Modi had asked Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to link the people of the state with the Ayushman Bharat health insurance scheme. “I urge Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik to link people of state with Ayushman Bharat scheme to be launched on Sunday,” Modi had said while addressing a public meeting at Talcher.
Referring to former PM Rajiv Gandhi’s famous assertion that only 15 paisa out of a Rupee sanctioned by the Centre for the welfare of the people reaches beneficiaries, he said, “They knew about the ‘bimari’ (illness) but had no vision to solve it.”
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