Ayushman Bharat Yojana or ‘long live India’ is a national initiative launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the part of National Health Policy 2017, in order to achieve the vision of Universal Health Coverage (UHC). This initiative has been designed on the lines as to meet SDG and its underlining commitment, which is “leave no one behind”. It focuses on providing increase access to quality of healthcare, free medication and diagnostic services for people with low financial status. The Scheme mostly covers poor, deprived rural families and identified BPL (below poverty line) families from both urban and rural India defined as per the latest Socio-Economic Caste Census (SECC) data.
Under the spectrum of Ayushman Bharat Yojana, 2 major schemes are to be put forward in health sector –
1. Establishment of Health and Wellness Centres
2. National Health Protection Scheme
1) Establishment of Health and Wellness Centres – This is a means to deliver comprehensive primary care for all, especially for the underprivileged and vulnerable people, who cannot afford medical treatment due to the over-priced medicines and investigations. The Health and Wellness Centres will provide free diagnostic services and give access to free of cost essential drugs.
2) National Health Protection Scheme (NHPS) – Under the scheme, every eligible family is entitled to an insurance benefit of up to INR 5 lakhs per year in any private (empanelled) or public hospital across the country. This enables beneficiary’s cashless treatment at any secondary and tertiary health care facility. This is based on the principle of co-operative federalism with states of India. For implementation of the scheme, states have to establish a State Health Agency (SHA).
The prime objective is to focus on the wellness of the poor families, who fails to access appropriate care and treatment due to financial constraints. It is expected that more than 100 million families can be benefitted under the scheme. NHPS is going to be the world’s largest Government funded health insurance scheme. NHPS will incorporate the pre-existing, ongoing centrally sponsored schemes; namely Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY) and the Senior Citizen Health Insurance Scheme (SCHIS).
Features of NHPS –
• Insurance benefit covers up to INR 5 lakhs per year per family
• The yearly premium for the insurance will be shared between the Central and State/UT government on a specified ratio
• State Health Agency (SHA) will be established at state level for rolling out of the scheme.
• More than 100 million families can get benefit from the scheme (which covers about more than 40% of India’s population).
• To make NHPS paperless and to encourage cashless transactions, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has partnered with NITI Aayog.