Ahead of the proposed pan-India launch of Ayushman Bharat scheme popularly dubbed as Modicare, the Yogi Adityanath government today started the trial run of the universal medical cover scheme. UP health minister Sidharth Nath Singh today formally launched the trial run from the government-owned Balrampur Hospital here. The trials would continue till September 13 in all the districts of the state before the scheme is launched nationwide on September 25. Modicare promises providing no-frills medical care cover of up to ₹500,000 per family per year. Meanwhile, UP cabinet today gave its nod to run Modicare as an assurance rather than an ‘insurance’ scheme. State Agency for Comprehensive Health and Integrated Services (SACHIS) has been designated as the Trust to manage the claims of beneficiaries, while a 13-member governing body headed by the state chief secretary would monitor the entire process.
Addressing the media after the cabinet meeting this afternoon, Singh claimed the switching over to assurance from the proposed insurance model would benefit the beneficiaries as the Trust would ensure there were no hassles for the claimants. He informed all the enrolled hospitals would be manned by an Ayushman Mitra to help beneficiaries in completing the process of claims. These Ayushman Mitra will be given an honorarium of ₹5000 per month along with ₹50 for each claim processed. There are about 1000 hospitals registered for the scheme in UP, while the Adityanath government had sanctioned ₹4.40 billion as its 40 percent share of the total ₹10 billion budget for the project in the state.
National Health Protection Scheme (NHPS) or Modicare is a flagship scheme of Prime Minister Narendra Modi aimed at the bottom of the pyramid sections of society. In UP, it is estimated to cover nearly 11.8 million poor households consisting of 60 million people. It is touted as the world’s largest public-funded health insurance net to benefit over 500 million people in India. In April 2018, Modi had unveiled the maiden Health and Wellness Center under Ayushman Bharat in Chhattisgarh on the occasion of Ambedkar Jayanti.
In Union Budget 2018-19, finance minister Arun Jaitley had announced the plan to provide free health insurance to about 107.4 million poor households. The scheme proposes to identify beneficiary households on the basis of the 2011 socio-economic caste census. Later, the Center had clarified that the states would also need to contribute towards the ambitious program. Compared to Modicare, the United States’ Affordable Care Act (ACA), popularly termed as Obamacare and launched in 2010, had only targeted 50 million people. Thus, Modicare is 10 times the size of Obamacare. Modicare is estimated to incur about ₹100 billon during 2018-19 and 2019-20 fiscals with the premium portion to be shared by the Center and the state governments. – Business Standard