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India Announces National Health Plan: Ayushman Bharat

This September, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the launch of the Ayushman Bharat-National Health Protection Scheme (AB-NHPS) in his Independence Day speech of 2018.

The scheme is targeted at poor, deprived rural families and an identified occupational category of urban workers' families.

To ensure that nobody is left out (especially women, children and the elderly), there will be no cap on the family size and age under the AB-NHPS. The scheme will be cashless and paperless at public hospitals and private hospitals. AB-NHPM will be an entitlement-based scheme where it will be decided on the basis of need as defined in five government designated economic categories. In addition, other factors including current housing both rural and urban will determine eligibility.

The Ayushman Bharat Health Insurance Scheme is intended for India's poor, not for employees in the private sector who receive health insurance from employers or in government who receive health coverage through the CGHS (Central Government Health Scheme). It will have a huge impact on employment in the medical services field, building of more hospitals and healthcare facilities, standardization of protocols, giving access to secondary and tertiary health care to hundreds of millions of people who earlier didn't have access, and much more. However, experts say the cost estimate for this program is grossly understated which will have to be corrected. There is a concern as well as India, at present, does not have an adequate supply of medical service providers and hospitals. This is a big and bold step in the right direction.

At this time, OneDigital, along with our Indian Partner, Prudent Brokers, does not see an immediate impact on our clients. However, within five years’ time, the cost of medical care and private medical insurance could see annual increases tied to this new national plan. We will continue to monitor any developments and keep our clients up to date with changes that could impact their benefits strategy.

For more information about the recent developments, or to find out more about OneDigital’s global benefits solutions, contact your OneDigital consultant.

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