Rs 15 lakh aid for treatments out of Ayushman cover
Poor patients in need of expensive treatment not covered by packages under the Ayushman Bharat insurance scheme will now again be able to get financial assistance of up to Rs 15 lakh under the Rashtriya Arogya Nidhi (RAN) scheme, an official statement said.
The beneficiaries of Ayushman Bharat scheme in need of expensive surgeries like organ and bone marrow transplants, spine surgeries, and revision surgeries for faulty joints became ineligible for assistance under RAN after the guidelines were revised in February last year.
“If as per medical advice, the suggested treatment is not covered under any of the approved listed packages of AB-PMJAY, financial assistance up to Rs 15 lakh can be provided to AB-PMJAY beneficiaries out of umbrella scheme of RAN,” states the office memorandum with the revised guidelines.
An official from the health ministry confirmed the same, on condition of anonymity.
Financial assistance is provided to patients living below the poverty line suffering from life-threatening diseases and rare diseases at 14 central government hospitals, including four hospitals in Delhi – All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Dr Ram Manohar Lohia hospital, Safdarjung hospital and Lady Hardinge Medical College and associated hospitals. In addition, the scheme also has a Health Minister’s Cancer Patient Fund at 27 regional cancer centres.
In 2017-18, Rs 40 crores were used from the Rashtriya Arogya Nidhi funds at AIIMS, Delhi for providing free treatment to 926 people, approximately 4.31 lakhs per patient, according to the latest annual report from the hospital.
In January, the Delhi high court had directed AIIMS to treat a poor 11-year-old boy with aplastic anaemia for free, with the central government reimbursing the cost of treatment, as the disease is not covered under the central government’s flagship Ayushman Bharat scheme.
“This had opened up the way for other patients to approach the court to get financial aid. However, the change in guidelines is a big win,” said Gaurav Bansal, a city based advocate who had filed the case for the 11-year-old.