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sharma: ‘Ayushman cards with centre, state logos to help beneficiaries’

The health ministry’s move to issue rebranded Ayushman Bharat cards bearing the logos of both states and the Centre will make portability of medical services within the country easier, a top official told ET.

This will especially benefit those beneficiaries who have to travel outside their states for medical treatment, said RS Sharma, the chief executive of the National Health Authority (NHA).

NHA acts as the administrator of the Ayushman Bharat-Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yojana (PMJAY).

On Wednesday, the ministry said it would co-brand Ayushman Bharat health cards to include the health schemes of states.

This means the cards can now be used for both central as well as 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.

Many states, particularly opposition-ruled ones, had demanded the state’s visibility on the cards.

As of now, 30 of 33 states have agreed to the co-branding plan.

Delhi, Odisha, and West Bengal have opted to remain out of the scheme altogether, while Tamil Nadu and Telangana have not yet given their final consent for co-branding.

Sharma, who is spearheading the project, said the co-branding move is a marker of cooperative federalism as it would

the states, while they already did the work of identifying, registering beneficiaries and processing of claims.

“It is going to be a massive exercise, and similar to CoWin, we have created a portal. So, anyone who is authenticated with a linked Aadhaar and electronic KYC verified gets uploaded,” he said.

Sharma said agencies had been empanelled to print cards and the government would have proof of delivery to the right person. “It is an outcome-based payment to ensure only the correct people get the cards,” he said.

With regard to portability, he said that a person from Bihar can come to Delhi and get treated at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences as part of PMJAY.

“Cards can be shown after authentication through Aadhaar. The state foots the bill after the claim is raised. The state’s beneficiaries who were not covered under Ayushman Bharat PMJAY will also be covered under the portability. This will ensure everyone is aware of the benefits,” he said.

The government is looking to cover all 500 million beneficiaries in 33 States, he added. Under the scheme, which has been operational for the last four years, 180 million people have received Ayushman Bharat cards.

“We had the objective of issuing one card per family till now, which is done; but now we want to give a card to every member. This ensures that they can go to any of the 25,000 empanelled hospitals and get treated,” Sharma said.

PMJAY, the largest health assurance scheme in the world, aims to provide a health cover of Rs 5 lakh per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation to over 107 million poor and vulnerable families, which translates to about 500 million beneficiaries.

“The PM’s call to saturate the beneficiaries is important in this context,” Sharma said. “The card is a plastic one, unlike other cards, and the data is online. It is mainly a token of empowerment to show that he is a beneficiary of the Ayushman Bharat scheme.”



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