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Thousands in lurch as Punjab fails to clear Rs 131 cr medical bills

The treatment of the beneficiaries of the cashless health insurance scheme Ayushman Bharat Mukh Mantri Sehat Bima Yojana (AM-MMSBY) was hit following the non-payment of Rs 131 crore bills raised by various government and private hospitals under the scheme.

Thousands of beneficiaries were left in a lurch as both government and private hospitals in several areas were denied treatment under the scheme.

Beneficiaries of scheme react
Shabnam, a senior citizen from Mohali told India Today that she was denied medicines even though the authorities had issued her an Ayushman Bharat beneficiary card. “My daughter’s surgery was done free of cost in the past but now they are refusing the medicines. I was compelled to buy medicines from the open market,” she said.

Another beneficiary, Mohammad, who also hails from Mohali, was also denied free medicines under the cashless health insurance scheme.

Despite the state government’s statement that over 65 percent of the population was covered under the scheme, the ground report by India Today found out that several people were not aware of the benefits.

The salaries of the health professionals appointed under the scheme have also been withheld.

The worst hit among the lot are the beneficiaries who had to undergo major surgeries and other procedures and were admitted to hospitals.

Punjab owes Rs 216 crore to various hospitals, out of which Rs 85 crore was released on August 3, 2022.

Speaking to the media in Chandigarh, Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann said that pending payments will be cleared soon.

“Wherever there is a shortage, funds will be made available. Money will not be a hurdle. We will release the funds on priority,” Bhagwant Mann said.

Speaking to India Today, AAP’s Chief Spokesperson Malwinder Singh Kang said that there were allegations of a scam in the name of health insurance and the bills for some of the hospitals were under scanner. India Today

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