What Is An Ayushman Card, And Who Is Eligible To Receive It?

Within the realm of initiatives aimed at improving public health in India, one important development that has garnered significant attention is the introduction of the Ayushman Card. This health insurance policy, nestled under the broader Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY), seeks to affordably and sustainably improve access to quality healthcare for millions of Indians, particularly those from lower-income groups.

The Ayushman Card serves as an identifier and passcode for beneficiaries to seek medical treatment and healthcare services from any public or empanelled private healthcare providers across the country. Instituting the Ayushman Card marks a significant milestone in the governmental goal of achieving universal health coverage.

Elucidating the Ayushman Card:

The Ayushman Card is essentially an identification tool that permits holders to benefit from the expansive features of the Ayushman Bharat Scheme, a government-backed health insurance policy. The Ayushman Bharat scheme intends to provide an insurance cover of up to INR 5 Lakhs per family per year to more than 10 crore poor and vulnerable Indian families, thereby ensuring that a significant portion of the Indian population could access healthcare without any financial burden.

Unlike most health insurance policies, the schemes distinctive feature is that it does not discriminate based on age, pre-existing medical conditions, or size of the family. The coverage under this scheme extends to pre and post-hospitalisation expenses, thereby making the Ayushman Card a crucial companion for eligible individuals seeking medical treatment.

Moreover, the Ayushman Card promotes cashless healthcare, reducing the load of out-of-pocket expenses on beneficiaries. This card also facilitates ease of mobility as it is valid across the country, promoting pan-India access to healthcare facilities under the scheme.

Who is Eligible for the Ayushman Card?

Acquiring an Ayushman Card isn’t a matter of autonomous choice; instead, it’s governed by a beneficiary’s eligibility, which is predicated on specific criteria defined by the government. The Socio-Economic and Caste Census (SECC) data for the year 2011 forms the basis for the eligibility criteria.

To be precise, the criteria for urban and rural areas differ. For instance, households without shelter, destitute, manual scavenger families, primitive tribal groups, legally released bonded labour or households with no adult members aged between 16-59 years are covered under the rural category.

On the other hand, for the urban area households, it includes those who are living in slums, homeless groups, and families where the main wage earner is a street vendor, ragpicker, domestic worker, sanitation worker, or a daily wage labourer.

Importantly, the rights to alter, include, or exclude families lie with the respective state governments. For eligibility confirmation, any one of the family members can contact the call center (14555/ 1800111565), visit the closest empanelled hospital, or the Common Service Centre (CSC) to avail of a verification process. Upon verification of eligibility, the individual can apply for an Ayushman Card and make use of its benefits.

Nonetheless, several states and Union Territories use their database for the identification of beneficiaries eligible for the Ayushman Card under the AB-PMJDY scheme.

Conclusion

The Ayushman Card program, under the broader umbrella of the Ayushman Bharat Scheme, marks a critical advance in the direction to achieving accessible and affordable healthcare for all. With its comprehensive inclusion of different strata of society, it serves as a promising venture towards universal health coverage in India. As India continues to strive towards robust, equitable healthcare systems, the critical role of the Ayushman Card and similar health insurance policies, including family health insurance plans, cannot be overstated. By integrating family health insurance plans, the program ensures comprehensive coverage for entire families, further enhancing the accessibility and affordability of healthcare services.

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