The Centre’s flagship health insurance programme Ayushman Bharat will extend coverage to beneficiaries for COVID-19 treatment.
The announcement was made by the National Health Authority (NHA), the agency responsible for overseeing implementation of Ayushman Bharat – officially known as the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY). Under the plan, both COVID-19 treatment and testing will be covered. “We will be implementing it once the approval is given and as soon as the government allows treatment of COVID-19 patients in private hospitals,” an official commented, quoted by The Press Trust of India.
“Confirmed COVID-19 patients who have tested positive by laboratory can get treatment at Government-designated hospitals free-of-charge,” the NHA explained on the official PMJAY website. “Treatment for symptoms such as cough, respiratory distress, severe respiratory illness, etc. is available free-of-cost for eligible beneficiaries of Ayushman Bharat…under various packages such as acute febrile illness, pneumonia, severe pneumonia, pyrexia of unknown origin, respiratory failure due to any cause (pneumonia, asthma, COPD [chronic obstructive pulmonary disease], ARDS [acute respiratory distress syndrome], foreign body, poisoning, head injury etc.), among others.
“It is advised that in case of any of these symptoms present, patients should follow the treatment protocol as set by [the] Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India.”
“We have finalised the packages which are required to cover treatment of the Ayushman Bharat beneficiaries,” an official told The Economic Times on condition of anonymity. “We have decided to cover the confirmatory multiple tests for Covid-19 in the empanelled hospitals and in case the person needs isolation. These will be covered under the scheme.”
An NHA official also quoted in The Economic Times elaborated that “we have sought urgent approval within two days. The packages should be in place within this week. It is essential as state health ministers of Maharashtra and Delhi have expressed opinions that there could be community transmission. The Health Ministry has denied it but we need to be prepared on our end.” The NHA has also presented the proposal to government think tank Niti Aayog.