Telangana is ranked among the top states in providing healthcare. Currently, one out of every four people in Telangana receives government health coverage, while the national average is one out of every nine people. However, health experts are calling for a better policy to cover the middle-class population.
According to reports, Telangana has a total of 9 million beneficiaries who are availing health coverage through the Centre’s Ayushman Bharat and Arogasri schemes. The data released by the government in the Rajya Sabha shows that there are 2.9 million beneficiaries under Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojna and 6.1 million beneficiaries under the Arogasri scheme. Telangana has a health coverage rate of 23.6%, while Andhra Pradesh has a coverage rate of 26% and Tamil Nadu has a coverage rate of 19%.
Health experts point out that although the coverage rate is increasing, the middle-class section of the population is being left out. The TS-IMA Scientific Committee Convener Dr Kiran Madala refers to a report by NITI Ayog, stating that India is neglecting the middle section as only the poor are covered under the government sector, while the upper class opts for private insurance. It is important for the government to formulate a policy to provide coverage for the middle class.
Dr Madala explains that one reason for the low penetration of the Ayushman Bharat scheme in Telangana is the availability of better treatment packages under Arogyasri. For example, the package for trauma in Arogyasri is Rs 30,000, while in Ayushman Bharat it is Rs 20,000. This has led corporates to prefer Arogyasri over Ayushman Bharat. Additionally, the scheme has been more successful in northern India due to a lack of facilities in those states.
In terms of coverage in different states, Uttar Pradesh has the highest number of beneficiaries with 18 million, followed by Tamil Nadu with 14 million. On the other hand, Lakshadweep has the lowest coverage with 12,523 beneficiaries, and Andaman and Nicobar Islands have 23,000 beneficiaries.