The Ayushman Bharat National Health Protection Mission (NHPM), hailed as the world's largest public funded health insurance scheme, would be ready for launch by July end, informed Union Health and Family Welfare Minister J.P. Nadda said on Thursday.
Union Health and Family Welfare Minister J.P. Nadda
"All activities related to launching of Ayushman Bharat will be done by the end of July," he told reporters a day after the Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved the health programme will cover 40 per cent of India's population.
About the timeline, Nadda said the operational guidelines being drafted by the seven working groups will be shared with the states along with the model of the tender and the contract in April. Preparation of 1,347 packages that lists down diseases and related procedures is in the final stage. Registration and operationalisation of national health agency led by an independent CEO will be done in April.
An important aspect of the paperless, cashless, portable and IT-based health insurance scheme is the validation of the target audience who can avail the benefit. The scheme aims to provide Rs 5 lakh per family per year medical coverage to 10 crore poor and vulnerable households.
On April 14, the Health Ministry would join the Gram Swaraj Abhiyan of the Rural Development Ministry to carry out an exhaustive exercise of updating and validating the data of Socio Economic and Caste Census (SECC) with all gram panchayats in every state. The 10.74 crore eligible families have been identified from various deprivation categories based on SECC data.
Nadda, along with his two Ministers of State Ashwini Kumar Choubey and Anupriya Singh Patel, would hold zonal meetings with the states to fine-tune the system. Design of IT system along with NITI Ayog would be done by May 30 and testing of IT systems and finalization will be done in June.
State and district officials would complete their training and award of tenders by the states would happen in June.
"By June end, hospital empanellment and all testing would be done so that the system is robust and reaches the last man," said Nadda.
While the Central government has kept Rs 10,000 crore for the programme, shared by the Centre and the states in the ratio of 60:40, for 2017-18 and 2018-19, the Health Minister said that there is no lack of funds and their only concern was to ensure the entitled person gets the benefit in time.
This amount is flexible and will be used to cover costs like setting up technology systems and verifying entitled beneficiaries in addition to payment of premiums in states opting for an insurance model, according to him.
This amount is separate from the Rs 85,217 crore budgetary support approved by the union cabinet for the centre’s contribution to the National Health Mission until March 2020, said officials close to the development.
The Rs10,000 crore funding is expected to come from the additional 1% health cess announced during the union budget.
Considered as "a major step towards Universal Health Coverage", the NHPM will lead to increased access to quality health and medication. In addition, the unmet needs of the population which remained hidden due to lack of financial resources will be catered to, said the minister.
"This will lead to timely treatments, improvements in health outcomes, patient satisfaction, improvement in productivity and efficiency, job creation thus leading to improvement in quality of life," Nadda added.
Health insurance penetration from the current 33% to more than 50%
eanwhile,prominent rating agency CRISIL believes the latest thrust to affordable and quality healthcare for all, especially the economically disadvantaged citizens through “Ayushman Bharat – National Health Protection Mission'', polpularly known as Modicare, is well intended and will boost health insurance penetration from the current 33% to more than 50% on implementation.
With the new scheme, the coverage will increase to more than 650 million persons from 438 million persons . However, the mechanism and vehicle for raising the humongous resources required for the moves will be a key monitorable, says a CRISIL report.
“The execution framework, too, is unclear at the moment. However, we believe the sector could be in for a huge fillip if the intent is pushed through,’’ observed the report.
The Union Cabinet on March 21, 2018, approved the launch of a new centrally sponsored scheme called Ayushman Bharat – National Health Protection Mission.
The Union Cabinet approved a budgetary support of Rs 852 billion (as Centre’s share) between fiscal 2018 and fiscal 2020 to the on-going National Health Mission (NHM), which has two sub-missions: the National Rural Health Mission and the National Urban Health Mission. The government will integrate NHPM into the NHM.
The scheme, under which more than 10 crore families from poor and vulnerable sections will get a cover of Rs 5 lakh per family per year, will subsume the ongoing centrally sponsored schemes –Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY) and the Senior Citizen Health Insurance Scheme.
As of fiscal 2017, nearly 438 million persons were covered under various health insurance schemes, including 335 million under various government sponsored schemes including RSBY.
The National Health Mission has seen cumulative expenditure of Rs 532 billion in the last two fiscals and the government has already allocated budgetary support of Rs 301 billion for fiscal 2019. During this period, the government has also spent Rs 38 billion on insurance schemes (Rs 9 billion on RSBY and Rs 29 billion on CGHS Pensioners) and has already allocated budgetary support of Rs 36 billion for fiscal 2019 (Rs 20 billion on RSBY and Rs 16 billion on CGHS Pensioners).