In his Independence Day Speech in 2018, Prime Minister Narendra Modi made an announcement of the launch of the biggest government-sponsored health insurance scheme in the world – Ayushman Bharat Yojana, renamed as the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY).
The ambitious scheme aimed at offering health insurance cover of Rs. 5 lakh per family to 10 crore families covering the urban and rural poor, with nearly 50 crore beneficiaries. The annual premiums of the health insurance cover shall be borne by central and state government in a 60:40 ratio and will be totally free for the below poverty line families.
Here are the principal benefits of this flagship scheme introduced by the government.
- For the Ayushman Bharat eligibility, the beneficiaries are selected from the Socio-Economic Caste Census of 2011. Of the 10 crore families to be covered under the scheme, 2 crore comprises of families residing in urban India and 8 crore families comprise of families residing in rural India.
- The scheme gives special priority to those over 60, children, especially the girl child and women. Furthermore, the health cover is all-inclusive and does not have any restrictions in terms of family size and age limits.
- PMJAY beneficiaries can avail cashless treatment throughout India. The scheme plans to make the entire process cashless and remove the burden of paying out-of-pocket expenses.
According to the 71st Round of NSSO, 82% of urban households and 85.9% of rural households have no access to healthcare insurance.[i] The government’s expenditure for the healthcare sector in India is expected to be raised to 2.5% of GDP by 2025. [ii] Furthermore, the country’s healthcare market may reach $372 billion by 2022. [iii]
Despite some advances, the healthcare industry in India has plenty of hurdles to face. Its existing infrastructure is inadequate to cope with the growing demand of citizens all over the nation. While schemes like PMJAY are a ray of hope for the underprivileged, the harsh reality is that most hospitals across the country remain under-financed and under-staffed.
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