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Ayushman Bharat beneficiaries now number 64 lakh. How is the money being spent?

The reach of Ayushman Bharat – the Centre’s flagship healthcare accessibility scheme – continues to grow according to the latest reports. A Times of India article pegs the number of Ayushman Bharat beneficiaries at 63.7 lakh. 

The scheme – officially known as the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY) – provides health insurance coverage of Rs 5 lakh per family per year to economically vulnerable families. Ayushman Bharat was allocated Rs 6,400 crore in this year’s Union budget, the largest share of the total fiscal allocation to the Union Health Ministry. 

The procedures and treatment packages covered under Ayushman Bharat have been adjusted since the scheme’s launch. Adjustments included the removal of cataract surgery as a benefit, allowing patients to exercise more choice concerning implants, and provision of a more comprehensive package of oncology treatments.

According to the Times of India analysis, palliative chemotherapy leads the treatment packages offered under the scheme with Ayushman Bharat beneficiaries availing 83,772 hospital admissions for the therapy. The cost per admission is Rs 5,882 with a total of Rs 48.8 crore sanctioned for the scheme. Radiation oncology was also used by a number of Ayushman Bharat beneficiaries, availing electron beam with linear accelerators treatment in 9,592 admissions each worth Rs 52,301 – the treatment itself covered with a total of Rs 50.2 crore sanctioned by the Government of India. 

After palliative chemotherapy, Ayushman Bharat beneficiaries have availed orthopaedics treatments the most, including implants and rehabilitations following a hip fracture. 61,574 admissions were recorded for such treatments at a cost of Rs 39,621 per admission. A total of Rs 244.7 crore was sanctioned for administering these treatments. In the field of orthopaedics, total knee replacements accounted for 11,695 admissions each worth Rs 70,426 – Rs 82.4 crore being sanctioned for such procedures under the scheme. 

In addition, various packages under neonatal treatments were availed in 18,243 admissions worth Rs 30,998. In total, Rs 56.5 crore has been sanctioned for such packages.

The treatment of cardiovascular diseases accounted for a significant share of Ayushman Bharat beneficiaries’ claims. In the field of cardiology, angioplasty (including a single medicated stent and an angiogram) recorded 46,899 admissions at a cost of Rs 64,458 apiece with a total of Rs 302.3 crore sanctioned for such treatments. Management of heart attacks and angiograms recorded 15,972 admissions costing Rs 30,017 each time with Rs 47.9 crore sanctioned. In addition, two medicated stents provided under an angioplasty witnessed 12,142 admissions each worth Rs 95,754 (Rs 116.3 crore in total being sanctioned). 

Cardiothoracic and vascular surgery also saw significant claims made. Ayushman Bharat beneficiaries availed coronary artery bypass grafting to the tune of 15,282 admissions each worth Rs 103,300 (Rs 157.9 crore being sanctioned). Mitral valve replacement saw 4,304 admissions each worth Rs 128,539, with Rs 55.3 crore being sanctioned for the procedure in total.

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