A special committee under the commissioner, the National Health Mission, has been formed to examine its cost implications for the state, according to a leading daily. Maharashtra currently pays an annual premium of Rs 1,700 crore to cover 2.2 crore families. Maharashtra could lead the charge in rolling out universal health coverage among the major states.
The proposal explores the possibility of turning it into a scheme that is universally applicable to all state citizens, irrespective of income. A health-plan revamp may see 500 empaneled hospitals added. Five key changes have been proposed to the Mahatma Jyotirao Phule Jan Arogya Yojana, including a revision of surgery and procedure rates, unchanged since 2018.
Sanjay Khandare, principal secretary (health), said, “The committee’s decision on the feasibility and cost is awaited.” “The core fundamentals of the Yojana are under assessment for the first time, and they aim to implement the changes in 2–3 months.”
The renewal aims to align the yojana with the Ayushman Bharat-Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY), a parallel central-state scheme that covers a different set of receivers. PMJAY provides coverage of Rs 5 lakh to beneficiary families and covers 1,209 medical procedures.
The State Health Assurance Society, which governs the Phule Yojana, has proposed to increase the number of medical procedures from 996 to 1,209. About 500 more empaneled hospitals will be added, bringing the total to 1,500. The limited number of empaneled hospitals and their uneven distribution across Maharashtra have been significant points of criticism. In Mumbai, most significant hospitals and even mid-range facilities have not participated in the scheme over concerns about cost.
Universal health coverage would mean better social security for more citizens, said a senior official, adding that it exists in J&K and most northeastern states. Interestingly, universal coverage was extended under the Yojana during COVID-19, but it couldn’t benefit the expected numbers. State officials underlined that the scheme has supported the treatment of 55 lakh people in the past decade for a premium of roughly Rs 13,000 crore.