Launch of health scheme likely

The Ayushman Bharat-National Health Protection Scheme (AB-NHPS), likely to be launched on Wednesday, aims to provide a medical coverage of Rs. 5 lakh a family every year. The scheme, estimated to benefit more than 10 crore poor families, will be implemented on a pilot basis in select States. The nationwide roll-out will be in September-end. A senior health official said the scheme would target poor, deprived rural families and identified occupational category of urban workers’ families. While Punjab, Kerala, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Delhi are yet to come on board, Odisha has refused to be part of the scheme.

Currently, 22 States have preferred to run the scheme on a “trust model”. The Centre has allocated about Rs. 10,000 crore for the project, said to be the world’s largest government-funded healthcare insurance programme. However, it is yet to release its share of funds. The Health Ministry has launched the process to empanel public and private hospitals.

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