As the country neared the end of the second week of the 21-day lockdown, confirmed COVID-19 cases breached the 4000-mark on Monday. The death toll crossed 100.
The Central Government has decided to make the testing and treatment for COVID-19 available under the Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PM JAY).
“This makes more than 50 crore citizens, under the Central Government’s health assurance scheme, eligible to avail free testing through private labs and treatment for COVID -19 in empanelled hospitals,” said Dr Indu Bhushan, CEO, Ayushman Bharat.
“Beneficiaries can avail both testing and treatment as per the standardised process set under the AB PM-JAY scheme. They can avail cashless and paperless access to care for COVID-19 as in the case of other illnesses under the scheme. The amount will be deducted from the beneficiary family’s wallet that provides a health cover of Rs 5 lakh per family per year.” Dr Bhushan said.
Additional cost required for isolation and treatment will be decided by the states.
“In case of highly infectious illnesses like COVID-19, there is an additional requirement like isolation of cases and PPE for healthcare workers. Various states are likely to adopt different strategies to utilise services of private hospitals”, Dr Bhushan said.
The decision is aimed at involving the private sector in case there is a surge in the number of COVID-19 patients.
At present, the government is waiting for data to emerge from the states as to how many people are being been treated under the Ayushman Bharat scheme.
Ayushman Bharat or Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana is the flagship scheme of the Government of India that provides a cover of up to Rs. 5 lakh per family per year.
This will ensure the secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation for over 53 crore vulnerable families.
The scheme has 1,578 health benefit packages with defined rates. Over 20,000 public and private hospitals have been empanelled countrywide to provide in-patient services to the beneficiaries. Since its launch in September 2018, over 95 lakh hospital treatments worth nearly Rs. 13,000 crore have been provided under the scheme.