Modicare: State-run insurance companies to be preferred over private firms for Ayushman Bharat
As Prime Minister Narendra Modi gears up to announce the launch of Ayushman Bharat-National Health Protection Mission (AB-NHPM) from the ramparts of Red Fort on the Independence Day, the government it seems has given in to the key demand of RSS and its affiliate Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM). Both the organizations had demanded that state-run insurance companies be given preference over private insurers.
Under the Ayushman Bharat scheme, also dubbed as Modicare after it was announced in this year's annual Budget, states where the government-owned insurance companies match the bids of private insurers, the business will be divided 50:50 between such firms. State-run health insurers include Oriental Insurance, National Insurance, United India Insurance Company, The New India Assurance Company, etc.
While the insurance premium has not been decided yet, it is likely to be discovered when companies bid for the business. The lump sum cost to government for Ayushman Bharat scheme is not known yet but it is expected to be much higher than Rs 12,000 crore that was estimated earlier. The scheme has also been touted as the 'world's largest government funded health care programme'.
Once the scheme is implemented, patients will be able to walk into empanelled hospitals on the first day and receive cashless treatment upto Rs 5 lakh per annum for each family. Southern states such as Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka which already have health insurance schemes in place are far better prepared to introduce Ayushman Bharat. In fact, the central government will be initially using Telangana's technology backbone to launch NHPM.
The government has been reaching out to beneficiaries since April this year through Panchayats and Gram Sabhas. Beneficiaries are being selected on the basis of the Socio Economic Caste Census (SECC) data of 2011. Initially, beneficiaries would be identified through their mobile numbers before a unique ID is issued.