Ayushman Bharat 2.0 is in the works, with an objective to cover another 400 million citizens in the middle-income bracket.
This would be an addition to the 500 million citizens already covered under the same scheme, taking the total to 900 million citizens, or close to 75 per cent of India's population.
NITI Aayog and Health Ministry are designing a plan to give health coverage to that specific population, according to a report in The Economic Times.
The report quoted a senior official saying that they are analyzing different options for a plan that would have wide-ranging effects similar to Ayushman Bharat, while considering financial implications and implementation challenges.
The proposals being evaluated for uninsured people comprise a choice between a partial or supplementary payment, whilst offering a comparable coverage of Rs 500,000 feasible as per Ayushman Bharat.
The official stated that private companies seek assurance from the government, for a large market demand to develop a serviced product for this group.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Ayushman Bharat (2018) offers up to Rs 5 lakh coverage for secondary and tertiary healthcare to underprivileged people.
Identification of beneficiaries is based on Socio Economic and Caste Census (SECC) 2011 deprivation and occupational criteria, for rural and urban areas. It also covers Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana families not present in the SECC 2011 database.
The Ayushman Bharat scheme, also known as the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY), covers the bottom 40 per cent of the population, and the high-income group can afford their own healthcare or have coverage.
However, the government sees the need to assist the middle income groups in healthcare.
Ayushman Bharat has been a tremendous success so far. Concerning population, the policy serves a pool 1.6 times the size of the United States of America, 2.5 times that of Pakistan, four times that of Japan, six times that of Germany, eight times that of France, and 25 times the size of Sri Lanka.
Assuming the European Union were to implement a similar scheme today for each of its citizens, it would be 25 per cent smaller in operational scale than India.
There is also the question of the raw data gained from Ayushman Bharat.
With over 500 million beneficiaries today, and perhaps close to 900 million in the future, the policy will garner data which shall require elaborate expertise to be transformed into meaningful knowledge. Thus, India can go from reactive healthcare model to a preventive healthcare model.
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