Ever since the Karnataka government signed an MoU with the National Health Agency, Government of India, for implementation of Ayushman Bharat-Arogya Karnataka on October 30, around 600 people have already benefited from the integrated universal health scheme. The scheme provides coverage of ₹ 5 lakh per family per year. In Karnataka, 62 lakh poor and vulnerable families are eligible for the scheme. Karnataka Health Secretary Jawaid Akhtar said, “There are 1615 secondary and complex procedures that the socially deprived can get treated under the scheme. The state government has also expanded the coverage from the current ₹ 1.5 lakh per family to ₹ 5 lakh, per family for another 65 lakh Below Poverty Line (BPL) families that do not come under the Ayushman Bharat pool.” There are 1.15 crore BPL families in the state and 19 lakh APL families. For APL families, the state will fund only 30 percent of the expenditure and the cap is ₹1.5 lakh per family.
There are 900-odd hospitals where patients can avail treatment, out of which 490-odd are private hospitals. “Under the Karnataka Private Medical Establishment (KPME) Act, the procedure rates need to be fixed after constituting an expert committee, which will be done soon. Moreover, if there is a difference in procedure rate between Ayushman Bharat and Arogya Karnataka, then, whichever is higher will be fixed. Hence, more hospitals are expected to come on board,” Akhtar said. However, there is a caveat. Ayushman Bharat CEO Indu Bhushan said, “There is a gate-keeping system in Karnataka wherein one cannot get treatment in private hospitals unless the patient first visits any of the government hospitals and gets a referral letter that it does not have the capacity to treat the patient. This is something that other states can learn from.”
Naghath Tabassum Abroo, Executive Director, Suvarna Arogya Suraksha Trust, the implementing agency of the scheme, said, “60 percent of the expenditure incurred for 62 lakh families will be borne by the Union government whereas the state government will bear 40 percent. The scheme is already in effect and the government order can be expected on Monday or Tuesday.”
IDs to have different name and logo
The state has so far issued around 4.5 lakh Arogya Karnataka ID cards called ARKID which will now be AB-ARKID (Ayushman Bharat-Arogya Karnataka ID). “After the Government Order is issued, we will have Ayushman Bharat’s name printed on it along with both the logos of Ayushman Bharat and Arogya Karnataka. But the existing cards will be valid. Any BPL patient can get treatment with a BPL card and Aadhaar which is mandatory for the integrated scheme,” Abroo said. – New Indian Express