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All You Need to Know about the Ayushman Bharat Scheme

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    Ayushman Bharat Yojana

    About the Ayushman Bharat Yojana

    Ayushman Bharat, also known as the Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY), is a flagship healthcare scheme launched by the Government of India in September 2018.

    It is one of the world’s most extensive government-funded healthcare programs to provide affordable and quality healthcare to the underprivileged and economically vulnerable sections of society.

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    The Ayushman Bharat scheme has two major components: Health and Wellness Centers (HWCs) and the National Health Protection Scheme (NHPS). Let’s explore each component in detail:

    1. Health and Wellness Centers (HWCs): Under this component, the government aims to transform and strengthen the existing primary healthcare infrastructure in the country. These centres act as the first point of contact for individuals seeking healthcare services. HWCs provide comprehensive direct healthcare services, including preventive, promotive, and curative care. They offer various services, such as child healthcare, non-communicable disease management, and essential diagnostics.

    2. National Health Protection Scheme (NHPS): NHPS, now known as the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY), is the insurance component of Ayushman Bharat. It aims to provide health insurance coverage to over 500 million economically vulnerable individuals and families across India. The scheme covers secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation expenses for medical procedures, surgeries, and treatments for major illnesses and diseases. Beneficiaries are entitled to receive cashless treatment at empanelled hospitals and medical institutions.

    The Ayushman Bharat scheme prioritises the inclusion of vulnerable and marginalised sections of society, such as rural populations, women, and the elderly. It seeks to reduce the financial burden on individuals and families due to healthcare expenses while promoting preventive healthcare and early intervention.

    The scheme is funded through a combination of central and state government contributions, with the central government providing most of the funding. It operates on a paperless, cashless, and technology-driven platform, ensuring seamless access to healthcare services and streamlined claim processing.

    Ayushman Bharat Health and Wellness Centers (HWCs):

    Health and Wellness Centers (HWCs) are a crucial component of Ayushman Bharat, the flagship healthcare scheme launched by the Government of India.

    HWCs play a pivotal role in transforming and strengthening the primary healthcare infrastructure in the country. These centres act as the first point of contact for individuals seeking affordable healthcare services, aiming to provide comprehensive and quality healthcare at the grassroots level.

    The primary objective of HWCs is to ensure the provision of essential primary healthcare services, focusing on preventive, promotive, and curative care. HWCs aim to address health issues at an early stage by emphasising preventive healthcare, thus reducing the burden on secondary and tertiary care facilities.

    Let’s delve deeper into the critical aspects of health and wellness centres:

    1. Range of Services: HWCs offer a wide range of healthcare services to cater to the needs of the population. These services include antenatal care, child healthcare, immunisation, screening for non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as diabetes and hypertension, management of common illnesses, family planning services, essential diagnostics, and basic medicines. HWCs focus on health promotion and education, raising awareness about healthy lifestyle practices and disease prevention.

    2. Qualified Healthcare Providers: HWCs are staffed with trained healthcare professionals, including doctors, nurses, and community health officers. These professionals are responsible for delivering primary healthcare services, conducting health assessments, providing counselling, and referring patients to higher-level facilities, if required. The government has initiated recruiting and training healthcare personnel specifically for HWCs, ensuring their proficiency in providing quality care.

    3. Infrastructure and Equipment: HWCs require adequate and essential medical equipment to deliver healthcare services effectively. The government has allocated resources to upgrade and establish infrastructure for these centres, ensuring they have examination rooms, basic laboratory facilities, pharmacy services, and equipment for essential diagnostics. This enables healthcare providers to diagnose and manage common illnesses and perform preliminary investigations on-site.

    4. Integration with Public Health Programs: HWCs are integral to implementing various public health programs and initiatives. They are the focal point for immunisation campaigns, maternal and child health services, screening programs for communicable and non-communicable diseases, and other preventive healthcare interventions. This integration strengthens the primary healthcare system and enhances the reach and impact of public health initiatives.

    5. Technology and Digital Solutions: Ayushman Bharat strongly emphasises leveraging technology to enhance healthcare delivery. HWCs have digital tools and software to efficiently manage patient records, health information systems, and data reporting. This digital integration streamlines processes, enables real-time monitoring and ensures better coordination between different levels of healthcare facilities.

    6. Community Engagement: HWCs actively engage with local communities and encourage community participation in healthcare activities. They collaborate with community-based organisations, self-help groups, and local stakeholders to raise health awareness, organise health camps, and implement community health programs. This community engagement approach helps address health concerns specific to the local population. It fosters a sense of ownership and responsibility among community members towards their health and well-being.

    7. Capacity Building and Training: The government provides regular training and capacity-building programs for healthcare providers working in HWCs. These programs aim to enhance their clinical skills, knowledge of evidence-based practices, and familiarity with the latest healthcare guidelines. Continuous learning opportunities ensure that healthcare providers can deliver quality care and keep pace with medical science and technology advancements.

    Establishing and strengthening health and wellness centres under Ayushman Bharat signify a paradigm shift towards a preventive and holistic approach to healthcare.

    HWCs play a vital role in improving the overall health and well-being of individuals and communities across India by improving access to primary healthcare services, promoting early detection and management of diseases, and focusing on health promotion.

    Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY)

    The Pradhan Mantri Ayushman Bharat health insurance scheme, commonly referred to as Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY), is a government initiative designed to extend health insurance coverage to disadvantaged households throughout India. The program’s central objective is to ensure that those who are most economically vulnerable have access to quality healthcare services when they need them most.

    By providing financial support for medical treatments and procedures, PM-JAY aims to alleviate the burden of healthcare costs for low-income families and promote better health outcomes for all. Below are the vast array of features and benefits provided by PM-JAY:

    Key Features of Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY)

    1. Coverage: PM-JAY provides health insurance coverage to 50 crore beneficiaries, which includes economically disadvantaged families identified based on the Socio-Economic Caste Census (SECC) database. The scheme covers both rural and urban populations, ensuring inclusivity across different sections of society.

    2. Cashless Treatment: Under PM-JAY, beneficiaries are entitled to receive cashless treatment at empanelled hospitals and healthcare institutions. This means that eligible individuals can avail of healthcare services without paying any upfront fees or expenses at the point of service.

    3. Benefit Portability: PM-JAY offers benefit portability for beneficiaries to receive treatment across all empanelled hospitals in India. This is especially beneficial for individuals who need medical care while travelling or residing outside their home state.

    4. Empanelled Hospitals: PM-JAY has a network of empanelled public and private hospitals and healthcare providers across the country. These empanelled facilities meet specific quality standards and guidelines set by the government to ensure quality healthcare services to beneficiaries.

    5. Comprehensive Coverage: PM-JAY covers various medical procedures, treatments, and hospitalisation expenses. The benefit cover includes costs related to medical and surgical treatments, diagnostic tests, medications, pre- and post-hospitalisation care, and follow-up treatments for various illnesses and diseases.

    Benefit Cover Under Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY)

    1. Secondary Care Hospitalisation: PM-JAY covers expenses related to secondary care hospitalisation, which includes medical procedures, surgeries, and treatments that require hospital admission. This ensures that beneficiaries have access to necessary medical interventions and specialised care.

    2. Tertiary Care Hospitalisation: PM-JAY covers expenses related to tertiary care hospitalisation. This includes treatments for major illnesses, complex surgeries, advanced medical procedures, and specialised interventions that require advanced medical facilities and expertise.

    3. Pre-Existing Diseases: It covers the treatment of pre-existing diseases, ensuring that individuals with chronic illnesses receive the necessary medical care and support.

    4. Maternity and Newborn Care: It provides coverage for maternity and newborn care, including antenatal care, delivery, and postnatal care. This benefit supports women and their newborns in accessing essential healthcare services during pregnancy and childbirth.

    5. Pre and Post-Hospitalisation Expenses: It covers pre- and post-hospitalisation expenses, such as diagnostic tests, consultations, and medications, ensuring comprehensive support throughout the treatment journey.

    6. Follow-Up Care: It includes follow-up treatments and care required after hospitalisation. This includes necessary consultations, medications, and rehabilitative services to support the recovery and well-being of beneficiaries.

    It is important to note that the specific benefit covered under this varies, depending on the medical condition, treatment requirements, and the hospital where the beneficiary seeks treatment.

    The Ayushman Bharat Yojana aims to provide financial protection and alleviate the burden of healthcare expenses of eligible individuals and families. It helps them access quality healthcare services when needed.

    Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY) ensures affordable and accessible healthcare for economically vulnerable sections of society, enhancing their overall well-being and quality of life.


    Ayushman Bharat Scheme, comprising Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY) and Health and Wellness Centers (HWCs), is a comprehensive and transformative healthcare scheme launched by the Government of India. PM-JAY provides health insurance coverage to financially unstable households, ensuring access to cashless treatment for various medical procedures and hospitalisations. HWCs serve as the backbone of primary healthcare delivery, offering essential services, preventive care, and health promotion at the grassroots level. These components of Ayushman Bharat aim to bridge gaps in the healthcare system by improving access to quality healthcare and reducing financial burdens. Moreover, they aim to promote better health outcomes for millions across India.

    The Ayushman Bharat Yojana focuses on inclusivity, comprehensive coverage, and technology integration. These demonstrate the government’s commitment to achieving universal health coverage and addressing the healthcare needs of the most vulnerable sections of society. Ayushman Bharat aims to ensure affordable and accessible healthcare by providing healthcare coverage of Rs 5 Lakh per family below the poverty line and catering to over 10 crore families, thus contributing to a healthy and prosperous nation. This scheme is a much-needed health-centric change in the country.

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