In two weeks since the roll-out of the Centre's ambitious Ayushman Bharat- Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY), around 38,000 people have availed the benefits of the scheme, which has been touted as the world's largest health insurance programme, a senior official said Thursday.
Also, around 70,000 people across the country have been given Gold cards which they can show at any empanelled government or private hospital to avail benefits under the scheme, said Dr Dinesh Arora, Deputy CEO of the National Health Agency (NHA), responsible for implementing the programme.
A Gold card means that family and individual verification of a person has been completed with biometrics.
The Ayushman Bharat-National Health Protection Mission (AB-NHPM), renamed as PMJAY, was launched pan-India by the Prime Minister from Jharkhand on September 23.
Under the scheme, the government aims at providing a coverage of Rs 5 lakh per family annually, benefiting more than 10.74 crore poor families for secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation through a network of Empanelled Health Care Providers (EHCP).
There is no cap on family size and age in the scheme, ensuring that nobody is left out.
"Around 38,000 people have availed the benefits of the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana so far," said Indu Bhushan, CEO of the National Health Agency.
The health ministry earlier had said the scheme will help in reducing catastrophic expenditure for hospitalizations, which impoverishes people and will help mitigate the financial risk arising out of catastrophic health episodes.
The PMJAY will provide cashless and paperless access to services for the beneficiary at the point of service.
The scheme will target poor, deprived rural families and identified occupational category of urban workers' families, 8.03 crore in rural and 2.33 crore in urban areas, as per the latest Socio-Economic Caste Census (SECC) data.
The entitlement is being decided on the basis of deprivation criteria in the SECC database. The beneficiaries are identified based on the deprivation categories (D1, D2, D3, D4, D5, and D7) identified under the SECC database for rural areas. For the urban areas, the 11 occupational criteria will determine entitlement.
Eleven occupational categories of workers include rag pickers, beggars, domestic workers, street vendors, cobblers/ hawkers/ other service providers working on streets, construction workers/ plumbers/ masons/ labours/ painters/ welders/ security guards/ coolies and other head-load workers and sanitation workers.
In addition, the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojna (RSBY) beneficiaries in states where it is active are also included.
According to NHA officials, 98 per cent of the beneficiaries have already been identified.
Over 9,000 hospitals both public and private, have been empanelled for the scheme, and as many as 32 states and union territories have signed MoUs with the Centre and will implement the programme. Telangana, Odisha, Delhi and Kerala are not among the states which have opted for the scheme.
The NHA has also launched website mera.pmjay.gov.in and a helpline number -14555 where prospective beneficiaries can check if their name is there in the beneficiary list.