Ayushman cover likely for 40 crore more at small premium

Moving towards rolling out the world’s first comprehensive health insurance scheme, the government plans to expand the Ayushman Bharat health cover to over 40 crore more people who are currently not covered under any government or private health insurance scheme.

While over 50 crore people (10.74 crore families) are already covered under the Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY) that provides free annual health cover of Rs 5 lakh to every family, the government now plans to extend this coverage for a small premium to those who cannot afford a health insurance at retail price. The plan is to bring down the insurance premium by more than one-third of the retail price and make it affordable for the ‘missing middle’ who are currently devoid of any financial protection for health, an official said.

The governing board of National Health Authority (NHA) – the implementing agency for AB-PMJAY – approved the proposal in a meeting earlier this month. The NHA is now planning to start pilot projects in select states over the next few months, after which coverage will be expanded pan India.

The move assumes significance as it will mean premium health facilities in government as well as private sector will be soon accessible to people without any income bar. It is likely that even private wards in government hospitals will be made available under the scheme.

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