Launched in 2018, Ayushman Bharat is the Centre’s flagship health insurance scheme and covers around 53 crore beneficiaries.
The Centre may extend the ‘Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY)’ to cover India’s non-poor population, according to a report by Mint. Additionally, the government may bring all its existing health insurance schemes under Ayushman Bharat.
Launched in 2018, Ayushman Bharat is the Centre’s flagship health insurance scheme which provides cashless cover of up to Rs 5 lakh per family per annum for secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation. As of May 2020, the scheme implemented by the National Health Authority (NHA), covered more than 10 crore families or 53 crore people.
According to the news report, NHA’s governing board on August 13 approved insurance pilots to cover ‘the missing middle’ or non-poor population of the country under Ayushman Bharat. This segment comprises multiple sections such as informal sector workers, self-employed, professionals, employees in micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), utilising the AB PM-JAY framework.
The pilot projects, the report suggests, will help in understanding what works and what does not such as health-seeking behaviour, affordability, reach and distribution, healthcare supply-side participation, among others.
In the Union Budget for 2020-21, the Centre had allocated Rs 69,000 crore for the health sector and stressed on expanding Ayushman Bharat. Out of the total allocation, a sum of Rs 6,000 crore was allocated to PM-JAY.The expansion of Ayushman Bharat scheme would see setting up and development of more hospitals in Tier-II, Tier-III cities under the public-private partnership (PPP) model, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had said.