In his last Independence Day address from the ramparts of the Red Fort ahead of the next Lok Sabha election, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Abhiyaan or Ayushman Bharat will be launched on September 25 on the birth anniversary of Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay.
"The healthcare initiatives of the government will have a positive impact on 50 crore Indians," said the PM.
The centre has allocated about
Rs. 10,000 crore for the healthcare project, which is claimed to be the world's largest government-funded healthcare insurance programme. It is yet to release its share of the funds to the states. What is Ayushman Bharat?
Expected to revolutionise country’s healthcare sector, Ayushman Bharat, also known as the National Health Protection Scheme aims to cover over 10 crore poor and vulnerable families in the country and provide them with a cover of Rs 5 lakh per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation.
The scheme, once implemented, will provide medical benefits to around 50 crore people in the country who are finding access to proper healthcare difficult.
The scheme will encompass in itself two already existing government programmes such as Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY) and the Senior Citizen Health Insurance Scheme (SCHIS).
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.
There are two schemes under this programme i.e. National Health Protection Scheme and setting up of Wellness centres.
The National Health Protection Scheme aims to cut down the individual expenditure.
The next aspect of the scheme is the setting up of wellness centres that will provide primary medical care to the citizens. As part of this, the government will upgrade existing public healthcare facilities in to wellness centres.
Implementation of the scheme
The government aims to establish Ayushman Bharat National Health Protection Mission Agency (AB-NHPMA) to manage the scheme. A dedicated entity called State Health Agency (SHA) will be made operational to manage the schemes in states and union territories. In addition, the states and UTs will have the freedom to decide whether they want to implement the scheme directly or through entities such as insurance companies.The expenditure involved for the scheme will be shared by central and state governments in a specified ratio based on Ministry of Finance guidelines.