Ayushman Bharat-Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY), world’s largest state-sponsored health insurance scheme, will now cover the testing and treatment of COVID-19 – which is already available for free in public facilities.
AB-PMJAY or national health protection mission, is a government-funded initiative that aims to provide 100m Indian families with up to INR500,000 ($6,762) of health insurance coverage each year.
A statement by India’s ministry of health and family welfare (MoHFW) and National Health Authority of India (NHA) said, “More than 500m Indians, eligible under the government of India’s health assurance scheme, will now be able to avail free testing through private labs and treatment for COVID-19 in empanelled hospitals.
“The empanelled hospitals can use their own authorised testing facilities or tie up with an authorised testing facility. These tests would be carried out as per the protocol set by Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) and by private laboratories approved or registered by ICMR. Similarly, the treatment of COVID-19 by private hospitals will be covered under AB-PMJAY. ”
This initiative by the MoHFW and NHA comes after a number of private health insurers, including ICICI Lombard Health Insurance and Star Health and Allied Insurance, started providing dedicated COVID-19 health insurance covers.
The decision is expected to attract more private players to provide testing and treatment for COVID-19. Active private sector involvement will be critical as India has seen a surge in the number of COVID-19 patients in the last week.