Interim Budget 2024: FM sheds light on future of Ayushman Bharat Scheme
3 min read • Updated: February 1, 2024, 3:41 PM
In the Interim Budget for FY25, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced revisions to the Ayushman Bharat Scheme, increasing the insurance cover from ₹7,200 crore to ₹7,500 crore. This enhancement aligns with expert predictions and aims to cover 100 crore beneficiaries under the scheme, which currently supports 55 crore individuals. High-cost cancer treatments and organ transplants will now be covered, expanding the scheme's scope. Ayushman Bharat offers tertiary and secondary care hospitalization, cashless services, and coverage for pre- and post-hospitalization expenses. The budget allocation for Ayushman Bharat has seen a steady increase over the years, reflecting the government's commitment to enhancing healthcare accessibility. The interim budget emphasizes the scheme's role in improving health services and quality of life for citizens across India.
- The insurance cover under Ayushman Bharat Scheme has been raised from ₹7,200 crore to ₹7,500 crore, aligning with expert predictions.
- High-cost cancer treatments and organ transplants will also be covered under the healthcare scheme.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in her speech on February 1, announced revisions to the Ayushman Bharat Scheme for FY25, also known as Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB PM-JAY), the government's flagship healthcare program. The incoming government, post the 2024 general elections, will present the final budget in July. Until then, this is an interim estimate of what is expected.
The spend target is at ₹7,500 crore, a slight but significant increase in comparison to the ₹7,200 crore spent in FY24, as indicated by the revised estimates presented in today's Budget. The increase is in the positive direction, given that in the Union Budget 2023, AB-PMJAY witnessed a 12% rise to ₹7,200 crore from the revised estimate of ₹6,412 for FY23.
The overall revised number also makes way for the government's aspirations to cover 100 crore beneficiaries under the scheme. Presently, the count stands at 55 crore individuals, equivalent to 12 crore families. As of January 18, 2024, 30.3 crore Ayushman cards have been issued, with one-third distributed in 2023 alone. Moreover, various states and union territories that have adopted AB PM-JAY have independently expanded the number of recipients, shouldering the healthcare costs autonomously.
What will Ayushman Bharat cover?
Ayushman Bharat provides coverage for tertiary and secondary care hospitalisation, offering cashless services, along with pre- and post-hospitalisation expenditures for 3 and 15 days, respectively. This government insurance scheme encompasses over 1,900 medical services, spanning diagnostic tests, doctor consultations, treatments, and Intensive Care Unit (ICU) charges.
Accessible across a network of public and private hospitals nationwide, eligibility is extended to individuals listed in the Socio-Economic Caste Census database of 2011, totaling 10 crore families — eight crore from rural and two from urban areas. PM-JAY coverage also includes families from Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana not present in the SECC 2011 database. Notably, there are no restrictions on family size, age, gender, and pre-existing conditions are covered from day one.
Overview of Ayushman Bharat budget allocation over the years
![ayushman bharat.webp](https://assets.upstox.com/content/assets/images/cms/202421/ayushman bharat.webp)
The interim Union Budget for FY25 highlights the extension of the world's largest national health insurance scheme. In fact, this budget can pave the way for improved health services and enhanced quality of life.