Prime Minister Narendra Modi last week reviewed the progress of preparations for the launch of the National Health Protection Scheme under the Ayushman Bharat programme. The world’s largest health assurance scheme aims to provide free health insurance of Rs 5 lakh per family to nearly 40% of the country’s population.
A report by PwC and CII shows that the government spends only 1.25% of its GDP on healthcare, which makes India’s public health ecosystem one of the most under-performing globally. Despite the double-digit increase in annual growth in health insurance, more than 80% of the population does not have any significant health coverage. While multiple state government-sponsored insurance schemes exist, overall penetration is low and more than two-thirds of healthcare spend is out-of-pocket expenditure.
However, the government’s ambitious Ayushman Bharat-National Health Protection Scheme will have a far-reaching impact on the country’s healthcare system, and especially for the poor families.