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Budget 2024: Centre mulling two healthcare models for seniors

Budget 2024 could see the Centre expanding the scope of Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB PM-JAY) to provide crucial healthcare support for India’s senior citizens in line with the NDA’s election promise to cover all individuals over 70 under the scheme.

“Every elderly person above 70 will be covered and benefit from free treatment under Ayushman Bharat Yojana,” President Draupadi Murmu had said in her recent Parliamentary address.

According to the Mint newspaper, two models are in consideration one covering all family members with senior citizens, and another providing coverage only to senior citizens in a family.

BT could not independently verify the report. Health benefit packages for geriatric treatment are being developed, and hospitals with dedicated geriatric services will be included under PM-JAY, the report further added.

The Centre is also mulling an increase in the number AB PM-JAY beneficiaries. Ayushman Bharat-Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY), the world’s largest publicly funded health insurance scheme, currently provides ₹5 lakh per family annually for secondary and tertiary care to 12 crore families.

The State Health Agencies (SHAs) are responsible for empaneling hospitals under the scheme, ensuring comprehensive healthcare access nationwide.
Only about 20% of people over 60 are covered by health schemes like the Central Government Health Scheme, Employees State Insurance Scheme, Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojna, cooperative health insurance, employer medical reimbursement, or private insurance, according to the India Ageing Report 2023.

Elderly men have slightly higher coverage (19.7%) compared to elderly women (16.9%). The report also indicates minimal rural-urban disparity in coverage.

President Murmu also highlighted the rapid progress of establishing 25,000 Jan Aushadhi Kendras, further enhancing healthcare infrastructure and accessibility. Business Today

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