The central government is likely to extend the 'Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY)' to cover India's non-poor population and will also integrate all the various health insurance programs within the scheme, according to a report by Mint.
The NDA government's flagship scheme launched in 2018 provides a cashless cover of up to Rs 5 lakh per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalization to over 107.4 million poor and vulnerable families (about 530 million beneficiaries).
The Mint report said that the governing board of National Health Authority (NHA), the implementing body of the scheme, on Thursday gave a go-ahead to conduct insurance pilots for covering 'the missing middle' or non-poor population of the country comprising varied sections such as informal sector workers, self-employed, professionals, employees in micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) etc that is spread across occupations, geography and income strata.
The report added that insurance pilots for 'the missing middle' will help in understanding what works and what doesn't, such as the complexities of self-pay covers on a voluntary basis, issues regarding adverse selection, health-seeking behaviour, affordability, reach and distribution, healthcare supply-side participation, economies and efficiencies, customer feedback and other mechanisms etc.
Among the major agenda items discussed during the board's meeting, it said was the impact of COVID-19 on AB PM-JAY.
The NHA governing board has also approved the proposal to integrate existing health schemes of central ministries with AB PM-JAY to employees including government and contractual staff and other beneficiary groups such as building and construction workers, manual scavengers, road accident victims and central armed police force personnel.