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Ayushman Bharat: Bengal, Bihar, Chhattisgarh Top Beneficiaries

West Bengal, Bihar and Chhattisgarh emerged the largest beneficiaries of Ayushman Bharat, Narendra Modigovernment’s flagship healthcare insurance scheme. The government has spent Rs 798.34 crore on the scheme till November end, minister of state for health and family welfare Anupriya Patel informed the Rajya Sabha. West Bengal was allotted a total of Rs 193.34 crore including Rs 16.78 crore administrative expenses, while Bihar got an allocation of Rs 188.27 crore, and Chhattisgarh Rs 114.43 crore, the minister stated while answering a question by BJP MP Amar Shankar Sable. Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY) under Ayushman Bharat offers up to Rs 5 lakh annual hospitalization coverage for poor families. The scheme is targeted to benefit more than 50 crore people. Ayushman Bharat is benefiting more than 10,000 people daily at present. The number is expected to go up to 30,000 soon. The scheme is funded by the central and state governments in the ratio of 60:40. For Northeastern and Himalayan states, the center will bear 90 percent of the expenses towards the scheme.

The scheme has benefited more than 5 lakh patients since its launch in September this year. The scheme seeks to improve access to healthcare facilities for the poorer sections of the society. It also targets a reduction in out-of-pocket expenditure on health, which is estimated to be 60 percent of the healthcare cost in the country. The scheme has come under criticism for spending public funds in private sector as about 60 percent of work under Ayushman Bharat is done at private hospitals at present. The government will need to strengthen the country’s public health infrastructure to take a large chunk of work to make the scheme cost effective. The government has also shortlisted five analytics firms to identify frauds in Ayushman Bharat, according to a newspaper report. These companies are entrusted with the work of detecting malpractices by private hospitals in the implementation of the scheme. However, many of the top private hospitals in big cities have kept themselves away due to low package rates offered under the scheme. – Financial Express