Kerala Kaumudi Online
Tuesday, 23 July 2024 6.12 AM IST

World's largest health coverage — Ayushman Bharat


People admitted to hospitals with serious illnesses are now battling not just the disease but also the rising treatment cost. Due to the lack of adequate facilities in government hospitals, commoners and middle-class society often prefer private hospitals. Only the poorer among the poor still resort to government hospitals.

Even a flu test or checkup can drain thousands from your pocket. Just spending few days for treatment in private hospitals can result in a whopping bill with 6-digit numbers. In developed countries, despite the high taxes, the government provides healthcare for citizens. In our country, free treatment is only available in government hospitals, and people dare not visit these places for their decrepit status.

We have copious efficient doctors in the state but running hospitals need a special knack which the government lacks. The central government's Ayushman Bharat - Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana scheme, is one of the health insurance schemes that makes even private hospital treatment accessible to the common man. It is the largest health coverage scheme in the world. Under this scheme, an individual or a family member can avail up to Rs 5 lakh for free treatment. One of the biggest advantages of the fully government-controlled scheme is that the treatment is available free of charge from all selected institutions in the country, irrespective of whether it is a government or private hospital.

The reports that the central government planning to further expand this scheme are encouraging. It is known that the cover of Ayushman Bharat will be increased from five lakh to ten lakh.

Apart from this, discussions are underway to make everyone above 70 years of age a part of the scheme, regardless of financial status. An announcement in this regard is expected to come in the new budget. According to the estimate for 2022, there will be 15 crores of people over sixty years of age in India. People in their 70s have limited means of earning and mostly depend on their families. The government's new move aims to avoid the rising cases of senile citizens turning a liability for families over their health,

President Droupadi Murmu had hinted in a joint session of Parliament about plans to provide free treatment in Ayushman Bharat to everyone above the age of 70. The National Health Authority estimates that the central government will have to find an additional Rs 12,076 crore to make this plan reach fruition.

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