Beneficiaries under Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY) can now procure their entitlement cards free of cost. The government on Friday waived off the fee of ₹30 per card that beneficiaries until now were required to pay to village level entrepreneurs field level operators under the common service centres (CSC) across the country.
However, for issuance of duplicate card or reprints, ₹15, excluding taxes, shall be charged from the beneficiary by the CSC.
The arrangement came after the National Health Authority (NHA), the government agency responsible for implementation and management of the scheme on Friday signed a memorandum of understating (MoU) with CSCs under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology. The MoU is aimed at generating new PVC beneficiary cards called “Ayushman cards” under the PM-JAY and further streamlining and easing the process of service delivery under the scheme.
Ayushman cards generated at any of the PM-JAY empanelled hospitals, however, were issued for free and will continue to be issued free of charge, the government said. “With the introduction of special PVC Ayushman cards issued completely free and replacement of paper-based cards, beneficiaries will now be able to store them easily at home,” Ram Sewak Sharma, Chief Executive Officer, NHA.
While the card is not an essential requirement to avail healthcare benefits under the AB PM-JAY scheme, it is part of mechanism for the identification and verification of beneficiaries to enable seamless delivery of health services to patients and prevent any kind of malpractice and fraud.
“Doing away with the ₹30 processing charged for each Ayushman card will have a high impact at the last mile as the poor still see paying for a Government scheme card as an expense they can avoid. Taking the momentum forward, beneficiaries can visit any of the CSCs across India to check and validate their entitlement and get the benefit of the scheme absolutely free of cost,” said Dinesh Tyagi, Managing Director, CSC e-Governance Services India Limited.
Under the MoU, it has been decided that the National Health Authority (NHA) will pay a fixed cost of Rs. 20 (exclusive of taxes) only for first-time Ayushman card issuance to Common Service Centres (CSC), and other such associated organisations.
The PVC cards will be manufactured at a centralised location to ensure uniformity and quality of the Ayushman cards distributed Pan-India. The State specific instructions/information would be printed at the back of the e-card. These will be dispatched to the VLEs who have generated the PM-JAY ID, from where PVC Ayushman Card can be collected after bio-authentication.
AB-PMJAY is the flagship health protection scheme of the central government that provides a cover of up to ₹5 lakh per family per year, for secondary and tertiary care hospitalization to over 10.74 crore poor and vulnerable families (about 53 crore beneficiaries).