The Central Government is considering doubling the Ayushman Bharat health insurance scheme, increasing its coverage to Rs 10 lakh from Rs current 5 lakh.
The expansion aims to include critical ailments like cancer and transplants within its coverage.
An official announcement in this regard is anticipated in the upcoming interim Union Budget on February 1, 2023, PTI news agency reported citing exclusive government sources.
"To ensure that serious illnesses requiring the expenditure of more than Rs 5 lakh such as transplants and high-cost cancer treatments etc. are also covered under AB PMJAY, the ministry is working on finalizing a proposal to increase the cover amount from Rs 5 lakh per family per year to Rs 10 lakh per family per year from 2023-24 onwards," the government official said.
The move aligns with the government's larger plan to double beneficiaries to 100 crore under the Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB PM-JAY).
The scheme is planned to extend benefits to Kisan Samman Nidhi recipients, construction workers, non-coal mine workers, and ASHA workers over the next three years.
The Ayushman Bharat Yojana, a flagship government health scheme, presently provides Rs 5 lakh as health insurance coverage per year per family.
The program, particularly designed for the underprivileged, issues cashless facilities through the 'Ayushman card' for secondary and tertiary care hospitalization.
According to government statistics, AB PM-JAY has over 55 crore individuals, which is equal to 12 crore families. As of January 18, 2024, the scheme has issued 303 million cards, with one-third distributed in 2023 alone.
In just one day on January 17, 2023, 5.84 lakh cards were issued. Moreover, various states have clubbed their state health insurance schemes with AB PM-JAY enhancing the insurance cover.
Some have adopted AB PM-JAY independently to utilise the existing network of hospitals and infrastructure while bearing the cost themselves.
The coverage extends to secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation, cashless services, and pre-and post-hospitalization expenses for 3 and 15 days respectively. Over 1,900 medical procedures are covered under the insurance scheme.
Now as part of the ongoing Viksit Bharat Sankalp Yatra health camps, which started in November 2023, physical Ayushman cards are distributed to beneficiaries with over 5 crore people attending the camp so far.
As a part of on-spot services under the Viksit Bharat Sankalp Yatra, Health Camps are being organized at the places of the halt of the IEC Van in the Gram Panchayats.
To avail the services under the Ayushman Bharat scheme, individuals must possess an Ayushman card, which can be obtained through the 'Ayushman App.'
Eligibility verification involves checking the Socio-Economic Caste Census of 2011 or the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY) plan. The government aims to continue saturating the benefits of central government schemes across the nation through the Viksit Bharat Sankalp Yatra.
To access Ayushman Bharat benefits, use the official Ayushman app and log in, select state, and scheme, and enter family ID, Aadhaar, and PMJAY ID.
Download the card if your name appears in green, or else complete your e-KYC with fingerprint scanning or face authentication. Download the card and show it at the empanelled hospitals for free medical treatment.