New Delhi: At least 20 states signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with ministry of health and family welfare on Thursday committing to launch the Ayushman Bharat – National Health Protection Mission (AB-NHPM).

Dubbed as “Modicare" the NHPM, is being described as the world’s largest health insurance scheme. It will be cashless and paperless access to health services up to Rs5 lakh per year to poor and vulnerable people identified as per the socio-economic caste census.

“We shall work with the spirit of cooperative federalism, to perfect this largest health assurance scheme of the world," J.P. Nadda, union health minister said during a health conclave held in New Delhi. “The success of the scheme hinges upon the active participation of the states. States need to own the scheme while Centre will design the policy framework with all possible flexibility and support," said Nadda.

The beneficiaries under the scheme can avail services anywhere in India and it is expected to bring a visible relief to the target families by mitigating the financial risk arising out of catastrophic health episodes. During the conclave, model tender documents, final operational guidelines for Modicare also were released which are focused on beneficiary centric delivery of services while ensuring there is no compromise on the quality of healthcare services and preventing frauds.

“Twenty states have so far signed MoU and the number may increase up to 25 states by the end of this month. Training and demonstration of empanelment software will be conducted in next two weeks and States can operationalize empanelment of hospitals by 1st of July," said CEO AB-NHPM, Indu Bhushan. The scheme will be available for the beneficiary families at the point of service in both public and private empanelled hospitals across India. The private healthcare providers have welcomed Modicare and expressed hope that it should become a financially viable scheme with timely reimbursement.

“It is indeed a bold and aspirational scheme. The private sector certainly wants to participate and collaborate to help meet the aspirations and hopes that the pricing and timeliness of payments is taken care of to make the partnership a viable one," said Rajit Mehta, managing director and CEO of Max Healthcare.

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