India has achieved significant public health gains and improvements in health care access and quality over the last three decades. The health sector is amongst the largest and fasting growing sectors, expected to reach US$ 280 billion by 2020. At the same time, India’s health sector faces immense challenges. It continues to be characterized by high out-of-pocket expenditure, low financial protection, low health insurance coverage amongst both rural and urban population. It is a matter of grave concern that we incur a high out-of-pocket expenditure on account of health and medical costs. 62.58% of our population has to pay for their own health and hospitalization expenses and are not covered through any form of health protection. Besides using their income and savings, people borrow money or sell their assets to meet their healthcare needs, thereby pushing 4.6% of the population below the poverty line. The Government of India is committed to ensuring that its population has universal access to good quality health care services without anyone having to face financial hardship as a consequence.
Under the ambit of Ayushman Bharat, a National Health Protection Mission (AB-NHPM) to reduce the financial burden on poor and vulnerable groups arising out of catastrophic hospital episodes and ensure their access to quality health services was conceived. AB-NHPM seeks to accelerate India’s progress towards achievement of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and Sustainable Development Goal - 3 (SDG3).
Ayushman Bharat – National Health Protection Mission (AB-NHPM) will provide financial protection (Swasthya Suraksha) to 10.74 crore poor, deprived rural families and identified occupational categories of urban workers’ families as per the latest Socio-Economic Caste Census (SECC) data (approx. 50 crore beneficiaries). It will have offer a benefit cover of Rs. 500,000 per family per year (on a family floater basis).
AB-NHPM will cover medical and hospitalization expenses for almost all secondary care and most of tertiary care procedures. AB-NHPM has defined 1,350 medical packages covering surgery, medical and day care treatments including medicines, diagnostics and transport.
To ensure that nobody is left out (especially girl child, women, children and elderly), there will be no cap on family size and age in the Mission. The scheme will be cashless & paperless at public hospitals and empanelled private hospitals. The beneficiaries will not be required to pay any charges for the hospitalization expenses. The benefit also includes pre and post-hospitalization expenses. The scheme is an entitlement based, the beneficiary is decided on the basis of family being figured in SECC database. When fully implemented, the AB-NHPM will become the world’s largest government funded health protection mission.