On the occasion of the 72nd Independence of India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the Ayushman Bharat- National Health Protection Scheme (ABNHPS) or the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana under his flagship Pradhan Mantri Jan Kaushal Vikas Yojana. Also termed as ‘Modicare’, the mission will be launched on 25th September 2018. The ‘yojana’ aims to provide free coverage of up to Rs 5 lakh per family per year at any government or even empaneled private hospitals all over India for secondary and tertiary care hospitalization. This will be the world’s biggest government-funded healthcare program. It will subsume the existing Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana and the Senior Citizen Health Insurance Scheme (SCHIS). Ayushman Bharat Scheme aims to provide medical facilities for the poor and underprivileged rural families. People listed under the Socio-Economic Caste Consensus (SECC) will be automatically enrolled under the scheme. The payment of the medical facilities available will, however, be under a package which has not yet been disclosed by the government. According to the official data of SECC (2011), 8.03 crore rural families and 2.33 urban families will be covered under the Ayushman Bharat Scheme.
In addition to the insurance plan, the government aims to open 1.5 lakh health and wellness centers by 2022, which would be equipped to treat diseases including blood pressure, diabetes, and cancer. Ten such health care centers were inaugurated in Jharkhand along with the Ayushman Bharat Scheme on Sunday.
The benefits of the scheme are portable and the beneficiary covered under the Ayushman Bharat scheme will be allowed to take cashless benefits from any government or empaneled private hospitals across the country. Adhaar Card is not mandatory for availing the benefits of the program. To ensure the proper implementation of the scheme, Ayushman Bharat- National Health Protection Mission Council (AB-NHPMC) at the apex level, chaired by Union Health and Family Welfare Minister will be set up.
With effective implementation, the Ayushman Bharat scheme may have a positive impact on the medical and health sector of the country as well as reducing out of pocket expenditure. The scheme will initially cover 40% of the population.