Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Tuesday, September 22 addressed 'Aarogya Manthan' 2.0 to virtually celebrate the second anniversary of Ayushman Bharat-Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY), country's largest healthcare scheme.
Termed as one of the revolutionary steps towards a healthy India, Ayushman Bharat-Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yojana is a union government's programme to provide free access to healthcare for people in the country. People using the programme access their primary care services from a family doctor. It also aims to provide secondary and tertiary care hospitalization to the beneficiaries across public and private empanelled hospitals in India.
Part of the National Health Policy, the scheme was launched on September 23, 2018, by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the National Health Authority was subsequently set up to administer it.
"As the world's largest public-supported health assurance scheme, it provides financial risk protection to over 53 crore Indians from economically and socially disadvantaged backgrounds by assuring them with a health cover of ₹5 lakh per eligible family per year to avail cashless inpatient secondary and tertiary healthcare," said the Union Health Minister
He highlighted that the scheme has provided treatments worth over ₹15,500 crore in two years.
"Nearly half of the beneficiaries have been girls and women. The scheme has provided treatments worth more than ₹15,500 crore. It has saved crores of lives and households from getting wiped out due to catastrophic expenditure on health that pushed an estimated 6 crore families below the poverty line each year," Dr Harsh Vardhan said.
He also added that in these two years, the scheme has provided free treatment to more than 1.26 crore beneficiaries. Over 23,000 hospitals have been enlisted to provide the necessary services and more than 12.5 crore e-cards have been issued.
Detailing on the outlay, the minister pointed out that 57 per cent of the total amount had been utilised for tertiary procedures related to the treatment of major illnesses like cancer, cardiac ailments, orthopaedic problems, and neonatal issues.
Dr Harsh Vardhan said that 45 per cent of the enlisted hospitals under the scheme are private facilities which have provided 52 per cent of the overall treatments. These hospitals raised 61 per cent of the hospital admissions claims amount.
"An eligible patient from any state implementing PMJAY can avail of cashless treatment anywhere in India, in any empanelled hospital. Portability has been built into the design of the scheme and enabled 1.3 lakh citizens of the migrant population to avail treatment at the nearest hospital," he said.
Dr Harsh Vardhan also stated that the benefits of the scheme will soon be extended to groups such as manual scavengers and truck drivers, among others through convergence with other central health schemes.
On the way ahead, he said: "The focus this year will be on expanding the reach of the PMJAY network and services to other left-out population groups such as manual scavengers, road traffic victims, truck drivers, among others through convergence with other Central health schemes."
"Along with the recently launched National Digital Health Mission, which will build the necessary digital health ecosystem to enable enhanced access to safe, timely, quality and affordable healthcare for 1.3 billion Indians, Ayushman Bharat will become a pillar of the country's healthcare system."