New Delhi: As a solution to a prickly issue, the Modi government has decided to allow co-branding on Ayushman Bharat health cards with states’ health schemes. This means that the cards can now be used for both central and state health schemes.
Until now, the cards only bore the Centre’s logo even though the Ayushman Bharat scheme is funded by states and the central government in a 40:60 ratio, an issue that some states had objected to.
In a statement issued Wednesday, the health ministry said that the National Health Authority — the administrative authority for the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY), the tertiary care arm of Ayushman Bharat (AB) — has decided to bring greater integrity and uniformity into the beneficiary cards issued under the scheme by re-christening them under a common name, ‘Ayushman cards’.
Therefore, the card that entitles eligible families to aid under the PMJAY, will now have logos of both AB and state government health schemes.
In another significant development, transgender people have now been added to the list of PMJAY beneficiaries.
Launched on 23 September 2018, PMJAY gives an annual health cover of Rs 5 lakh to eligible families. West Bengal pulled out of the scheme in 2019 after Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee accused the central government of taking all the credit for it. In October 2020, she said she would be willing to rejoin if the Centre funded the scheme fully.
So far, 30 of 33 states have agreed to the co-branding plan. Delhi, Odisha, and West Bengal have opted to remain out of it.
“We want states to own the scheme too. This is not political. There will now be a common card for all health schemes. The card will work in any of the 25,000 empanelled hospitals,” a senior health ministry official told ThePrint, not wanting to be named.
The official said that under PMJAY, wide variations were observed in the design and nomenclature of beneficiary cards across states and Union territories.
“This created confusion among beneficiaries and stakeholders like empanelled hospitals, implementation support agencies, insurance companies, and third-party administrators. This impeded the formation of a unified identity for Ayushman Bharat PMJAY,” the official added.
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Transgenders in PMJAY
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed Wednesday morning between the NHA and the social justice and empowerment ministry to include transgender people in the list of PMJAY beneficiaries.
Officials said that the definition of family under the PMJAY has been changed to enable such an inclusion.
“The Rs 5 lakh health cover is for a family. But for a transgender [person], a single person is family. So we have changed the definition of family. This means that an individual transgender person will be eligible for PMJAY and will have a health cover of Rs 5 lakh,” the ministry official quoted earlier said.
Approximately 4.8 lakh transgender people are registered with the ministry of social justice. That registry is now a part of the PMJAY database, which was originally based on data from the Socio Economic and Caste Census of 2011.
(Edited by Uttara Ramaswamy)
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