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Centre’s free hospitalization bill under PM-JAY hits Rs 86,000 crore

Free hospitalisation benefits worth Rs 86,000 crore have been provided to beneficiaries of the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY) since the scheme was rolled out in September 2018.

More than 65 million people have so far benefited from the PMJAY scheme which offers Rs 5,00,000-a-year free health cover. The scheme was made available for 107 million poor households in the country, roughly covering the bottom 40% of the population.

The Centre launched the scheme on September 23, 2018, to alleviate the suffering of the people due to the rising cost of healthcare. According to an estimate about 62% of healthcare costs were borne out of pocket pushing millions of Indians into poverty every year.

Under PMJAY, close to 2,000 procedures are available for beneficiaries to get cashless treatment which includes all the costs related to treatment, medicines, supplies, diagnostic services, physician’s fees, room charges, surgeon charges, OT & ICU charges, etc.

People from Tamil Nadu benefitted most under the scheme, followed by Karnataka, Rajasthan, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat.

The top speciality care treatments availed by beneficiaries to date are general medicine, infectious diseases, general surgery, medical oncology, ophthalmology and orthopaedics.

Among the procedures availed by the people, are hemodialysis, screening for Covid-19, multiple packages and acute febrile illness.

More than 34.29 crore Ayushman Cards have been issued to beneficiaries so far. As many as 30,162 public and private hospitals are empanelled under PM-JAY.

PM-JAY has played a pivotal role in reducing out-of-pocket expenditures which used to push millions into poverty earlier.Considering that many people in the country are just one medical bill away from slipping into poverty, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance recently recommended that PM-JAY scheme be extended to the ‘missing middle’ on a paid basis.

According to a Niti Aayog report unveiled in October 2021, at least 30% of the population, or 400 million individuals – called the missing middle in this report – are devoid of any financial protection for health. The Financial Express

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