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COVID-19 brought under Ayushman Bharat Scheme, testing and treatment to be available for free at private labs and hospitals

More than 50 crore citizens, eligible under the government of India’s health assurance scheme will be able to avail free testing through private labs and treatment for COVID-19 in empanelled hospitals

The Ministry of Health and Family welfare has now put COVID-19 under the national health scheme, the Ayushman Bharat- Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY). In a joint statement of the National Health Authority and Health Authority, it was declared that COVID-19 will be covered under the AB-PMJAY.

The joint statement said, “The testing and treatment of COVID-19 is already available for free in the public facilities. Now, more than 50 crore citizens, eligible under the government of India’s health assurance scheme will be able to avail free testing through private labs and treatment for COVID-19 in empanelled hospitals. The empanelled hospitals can use their own authorized testing facilities or tie-up with an authorized testing facility. These tests would be carried out as per the protocol set by Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) and by private labs approved or registered by ICMR. Similarly, the treatment of COVID-19 by private hospitals will be covered under AB-PMJAY.”

The National Health Authority is the apex body which designs, roll out, implementation and management of AB-PMJAY across the country.

The testing and treatment of the novel coronavirus infection are being provided at government-run laboratories and hospitals freely as the fear spread of the deadly epidemic. As the Ayushman Bharat scheme is the world’s largest health insurance, this move is expected to grab more private players for providing testing and treatment for COVID-19.

As per reports, the private sector health insurance providers including ICICI Lombard Health Insurance and Star Health and Allied Insurance, have started providing dedicated covid-19 health insurance policies to their customers that led the government update the column and expand the opportunities for the citizens to avail the scheme.

Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Dr. Harshavardhan said that, “In this unprecedented crisis we have to very actively involve the private sector as a key partner and stakeholder in the fight against COVID-19. Making testing and treatment available under Ayushman Bharat PM-JAY will significantly expand our capacities by including private sector hospitals and labs and mitigate the adverse impact of this catastrophic illness on the poor.”

The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDAI) in a press release on Wednesday (1 April) had said that the standard health insurance policy “Arogya Sanjeevani” for all 29 general/health insurance companies will now cover hospitalisation under Covid-19.

Coronavirus cases in India till 4 April have been surged to 3072, while 213 have recovered and 75 have succumbed to the deadly contagious disease.

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