The Tamil Nadu government has proposed the integration of the Ayushman Bharat scheme with its ‘Chief Minister’s Comprehensive Health Insurance Scheme’ that provides coverage to any family with annual income of below Rs 72,000. So far, 1.58 crore families are enrolled under the Rs 1 lakh scheme, that also provides Rs 2 lakh coverage for specialised procedures. Of the hundreds of approved procedures, 158 have been reserved for government hospitals. The state also has a corpus fund of Rs 35 crore to help the poor with expensive procedures like transplants.
Tamil Nadu has sought use of the Food Security Act data, which has been Aadhaar-seeded by the state government, and not the Socio Economic Caste Census Data of 2011. The concern being that a lower number of families will benefit under the Central government guidelines.
“We are yet to arrive at a common ground on this,” admits a senior officer. Tamil Nadu has also suggested that the Centre’s scheme should cover only those procedures not covered by the state scheme. The reason being the rates of procedures prescribed. For example, while the state scheme has fixed caesarean operation rate at Rs 30,000, under the Central scheme it is a mere Rs 9,000.
In Andhra Pradesh, with the Centre having agreed to CM Chandrababu Naidu’s demand that the scheme would be known as ‘Ayushman Bharat-NTR Vaidya Seva’ in the state, the process of analysing beneficiary data has started. Like Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh too is planning to extend the coverage of the new scheme beyond the Centre’s eligible beneficiaries and bear the financial burden of bringing additional families under its umbrella.
Neighbouring Telangana is yet to come on board for the new scheme, given its own successful state scheme. Director of Telangana Vaidya Vidhan Parishan, Sivaprasad says, “We haven’t decided yet and CM K. Chandrasekhara Rao is a bit reluctant to join Ayushman Bharat as the state’s initiative Arogya Sree covering little over a crore people is a great success.”
Although Arogya Sree, provides Rs 2 lakh coverage per family as against Rs 5 lakh under the Central scheme, Telangana has empanelled more hospitals and its scheme covers more diseases. The state also offers special packages for expensive procedures like cochlear implant surgery.
By G.C Shekhar in Tamil Nadu and M.S. Shanker in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana