Migrants to get health insurance under Ayushman Bharat scheme
The implementing agency of AB-PMJAY, National Health Authority (NHA) has been coordinating with the states in order to identify the eligible beneficiaries under the scheme.
The central government on June 10 has decided to provide its health insurance scheme Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY) to the migrant workers across the states, affected by the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic.
The decision has been taken to provide the healthcare insurance to the migrant workers, who lost their jobs and livelihoods during the nationwide lockdown, imposed to combat the pandemic.
The implementing agency of AB-PMJAY, National Health Authority (NHA) has been coordinating with the states in order to identify the eligible beneficiaries under the scheme. National Health Authority has also offered to issue e-cards to the eligible migrants.
NHA on extending insurance scheme to migrants:
Dr. Indu Bhushan, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), of NHA and AB- PMJAY stated that NHA has been actively supporting and coordinating with the states, where the migrant workers are returning. The aim of the organisation is to ensure that all the eligible migrant laborers receive e-cards. It will help in accessing the treatment at any of the impaneled hospitals across the country.
He added that this is an opportunity in sensitizing the returning migrant workers about the benefits of Ayushman Bharat, especially about the portability feature of the scheme. NHA has also been working with the states in impaneling more labs and hospitals and in mobilizing the existing hospitals to provide non-COVID and COVID treatments to the beneficiaries of the insurance scheme. Dr. Bhushan also informed that at least 80% of the 10.74 crore beneficiary families under AB-PMJAY are in rural India.
Why extending insurance scheme to migrants is important?
Dr. Suresh Sharma, Head of Population Research Centre, Institute of Economic Growth, Delhi University, mentioned that if the situation is observed from the health aspect, the exposure and the status of infection of migrant workers is unknown and if they are infected, the repercussions will be extremely serious.
He adds that the ongoing crisis definitely gives an opportunity to both the central and state governments to improve and transform the weak health system. Just as the Central government focusses on the defence perspective, equal weightage should also be given to the health perspective in the times of future pandemics.
It is a paperless and cashless scheme that provides health cover of up to Rs. 5 lakhs per family per year, for the Secondary and tertiary care hospitalization to over 10.74 crore poor families (about 53 crore beneficiaries). All the beneficiaries can easily access their cards online anytime and anywhere.
The scheme is part of the government’s National Health Policy. It aims at providing free health coverage at the secondary and tertiary level, to its bottom 40% vulnerable and poor population.