The National Health Authority (NHA) has decided to cover Covid-19 treatment of the poorest of the poor in private hospitals under Ayushman Bharat — the central government’s health insurance scheme for the deprived, reports The Economic Times.
An Ayushman Bharat beneficiary would be able to get himself tested for Covid-19 in any empanelled private hospital free of cost as per the NHA’s decision. In case a suspected Covid-19 patient has to be isolated in a private hospital, the isolation would also be covered under the scheme. A senior NHA official, who did not wish to be identified, told ET: “We have finalised the packages which are required to cover treatment of the Ayushman Bharat beneficiaries. We have decided to cover the confirmatory multiple tests for Covid-19 in the empanelled hospitals and in case the person needs isolation. These will be covered under the scheme.”
Apart from this, the NHA expects to cover the treatment cost under its viral infection packages. According to people in the know, additional packages for respiratory distress have been worked out in case the patient needs intensive care in more serious cases.
The Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yojana (PM-JAY) or Ayushman Bharat provides free health coverage at the secondary and tertiary level to the poor. The PM-JAY is the world’s largest and fully state-sponsored health insurance scheme. It aims to cover more than 10.74 crore poor and vulnerable families as per the socio-economic caste census 2011. It provides a cover of up to Rs 5 lakh per family per year under 1,400 pre-defined packages spread over 23 specialities.
The NHA has already run its proposal by the Niti Aayog. A senior official told ET that NHA needs approval of the governing board for the packages to become operational all over India. “We have sought urgent approval within two days. The packages should be in place within this week. It is essential as state health ministers of Maharashtra and Delhi have expressed opinions that there could be community transmission. The health ministry has denied it but we need to be prepared on our end,” said another top NHA official.