COVID -19 | Testing, treatment now available for free under Ayushman Bharat Scheme

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The Central government has decided to provide free testing and treatment of Coronavirus under the Ayushman Bharat Scheme.

The National Health Authority (NHA) is the apex body responsible for implementing India’s flagship public health insurance/assurance scheme called Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana.

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In a statement, it said this will strengthen the country’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Testing and treatment of Covid-19 is already available for free in public facilities. Now, more than 50 crore citizens, eligible under the health assurance scheme will be able to avail free testing through private labs and treatment for Covid-19 in empanelled hospitals,” the NHA said in the statement.

The NHA said that hospitals empanelled under the Ayushman Bharat scheme can use their authorised testing facilities or tie up with an authorised testing facility. The Covid-19 tests will be carried out according to protocols of the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) and by private labs approved or registered by it, the NHA said. Treatment of Covid D-19 by private hospitals will be covered under the Ayushman Bharat scheme, it said.

”In this unprecedented crisis we have to very actively involve the private sector as a key partner and stakeholder in the fight against Covid-19,” Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said according to PTI. ”Making testing and treatment available under Ayushman Bharat PM-JAY will significantly expand our capacities by including private sector hospitals and labs and mitigate the adverse impact of this catastrophic illness on the poor,” he said.

Ayushman Bharat PM-JAY is the world’s largest health assurance scheme which aims at providing a health cover of Rs. 5 lakhs per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalization to over 10.74 crore poor and vulnerable families (approximately 50 crore beneficiaries) that form the bottom 40% of the Indian population.

But many opposition ruled states have not implemented the Ayushman Bharat scheme and run their own health insurance schemes for the poor.

(With Agency Inputs)

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