Centre to introduce unified card for central and state health schemes

Updated on Aug 25, 2022 06:04 AM IST

The move was meant to ease confusion for citizens between which schemes apply to them. Close to 20 schemes are being currently run by several states, according to the health ministry.

The Ayushman Bharat-PMJAY scheme provides health coverage of up to <span class='webrupee'>₹</span>500,000 per eligible beneficiary family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalisations.&nbsp;(HT file photo)
The Ayushman Bharat-PMJAY scheme provides health coverage of up to 500,000 per eligible beneficiary family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalisations. (HT file photo)
By, New Delhi

The Centre on Wednesday announced a plan to create a unified card that can be used to avail benefits of both the central government-run Ayushman Bharat-PMJAY as well as the health insurance schemes run by state governments individually.

The move was meant to ease confusion for citizens between which schemes apply to them. Close to 20 schemes are being currently run by several states, according to the health ministry.

“It will be a unified card that will be called Ayushman Card. What we have essentially have done is co-branding whereby beneficiaries can make use of treatment packages under central and state-run health insurance schemes using just one card. Many states have their own health insurance schemes, and there was a lot of confusion among beneficiaries regarding empanelled hospitals, implementation support agencies, insurance companies, and third-party administrators. Now there will be a common name ‘Ayushman Cards’,” said Mansukh Mandaviya, Union health minister.

The government is in the process of generating new cards that will have both the central and state government logos, and ‘Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojna-MukhyaMantri Yojna’ imprinted on it to suggest the unification.

As part of the new arrangement, eligible beneficiaries of any of the government insurance schemes will be able to get coverage at any of the 25,000 empanelled hospitals under the central scheme.

Even though it is not legally mandatory for states to implement the changes, all states, except Delhi, Odisha, and West Bengal, have agreed to adopt it.

“The central government will provide 5 lakh cover, and beyond that individual states are free to add to the insurance package. This was long in the pipeline and now finally will be launched soon,” said Mandaviya.

The Ayushman Bharat-PMJAY scheme provides health coverage of up to 500,000 per eligible beneficiary family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalisations, with 1,949 treatment procedures across 27 specialities being eligible. So far, 107.4 million beneficiary families under AB-PMJAY have been selected from the socio-economic case census of 2011.

According to the health ministry, as on August 17, 2022, approximately 188.1 million individuals have been verified under the scheme, of which 141.2 million have been issued the updated Ayushman cards.

As on today, at least 37.5 million hospital admissions amounting to approximately 45,000 crores has been authorised under the scheme through a network of 25,000 empanelled health care providers.

“The impact of PMJAY can be further amplified by educating beneficiaries and encouraging them to avail health care services under the scheme. It has been observed that the Ayushman card is a powerful medium to spread awareness of the scheme. There is also a positive correlation between availability of Ayushman cards and uptake of health care services,” said the health minister.

In January last year, the National Health Authority, which is the nodal agency to implement the Ayushman Bharat scheme, launched Aapke Dwar Ayushman (Ayushman at your doorstep) campaign, making use of frontline workers, panchayati raj institutions etc. to mobilize and verify individuals. At last 47 million beneficiaries were identified, cards generated for them, under the effort.

The second round of the campaign is planned to saturate the database by generating almost 300 million cards that are left.

“All efforts are being made to ensure not a single beneficiary is missed,” said Mandaviya.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Rhythma Kaul works as an assistant editor at Hindustan Times. She covers health and related topics, including ministry of health and family welfare, government of India.

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