The Central government has decided to allocated Rs 10,000 crore initially to implement the Ayushman Bharat-National Health Protection Mission (AB-NHPM). Health Minister JP Nadda told this to reporters at a press briefing on March 22, 2018.
This amount is flexible and it will be used to cover costs of setting up technology systems and verifying entitled beneficiaries in addition to paying premiums to states that are implementing the scheme through insurance models, the minister added.
On March 21, 2018, the Union Cabinet had approved the launch of the centrally sponsored scheme.
This fund for the scheme is likely to come from the additional 1% health cess announced in the union budget, separate from the Rs 85,217-crore budgetary support approved by the union cabinet for the National Health Mission up to March 2020, said health ministry officials at the briefing session.
By July-end, the ministry will have worked out operational guidelines for states, trained district officials, awarded tenders, empanelled hospitals and finalized the types of treatment packages that AB-NHPM is applicable to, the health minister said.
The ministry will also authenticate the data provided in the Socio-Economic Caste Census 2011 with the rural development ministry to update the information to identify true beneficiaries for the scheme, Nadda said.
By then, the ministry would also have made operational the National Health Agency to manage the scheme's implementation at the central level and carried out zonal meetings with states to fine-tune the system, he said.
In July, the ministry will also start testing the IT system for the scheme, which includes safeguards to prevent its fraudulent use, in different states, he said.
"This is a new scheme. We've included all the learnings of RSBY. We've included all the learnings of the States who had their own independent (programmes in preparing it)," said Nadda.
The minister, however, did not clarify on the insurance premium rates the government was seeking but added that budget would not be a problem as more funds can be infused if required.
Health Secretary, Preeti Sudan said that nearly 1,350 procedure packages, including packages for cancer care, are currently being finalized and will include elements such as the cost of medicines required in treatment.
In the first phase, the packages will not include organ transplants, she said.
The government intends to provide family cards with unique QR codes to the scheme's beneficiaries, she said. It also intends to gradually encourage states starting with insurance models to opt for trust models, Sudan said.