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Elder groups- The New Indian Express

Express News Service

NEW DELHI:  Bangalore-based community organisations that works for the welfare of the elderly and India’s largest network of private hospitals has written to Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman seeking expansion of the Ayushman Bharat-Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY), the government’s flagship health insurance scheme, to cover all women above the age of 65 and all men above 75 years. 

In a joint letter, Dr Alexander Thomas, the chairperson of the Association of Healthcare Providers-India (AHPI), which has 11,000 members, including 3,000 big hospitals, and Kris Gopalakrishnan, Chairperson Vayah Vikas, the NGO which works for the welfare of the elderly and co-founder Infosys, said there are an estimated 140 million elderly in India and about 30 per cent of the rural elderly from BPL households are recipients of old-age pension benefits. They said just 30 per cent of households in India are covered by some form of health insurance, and nearly 40 per cent of the elderly are working, especially in urban areas (26 per cent) and mainly in the unorganised sector. 

The two organisations have given three suggestions to improve the quality of life of the elderly, who often do not have access to a pension or medical insurance. In the letter, they requested that the coverage of AB-PM-JAY, the world’s largest government funded healthcare program, targeting 50 crore beneficiaries, should be extended to all women above the age of 65 and all men above 75 years. Under the insurance scheme, a cover of up to `5 lakhs per family per year, for secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation, is provided.

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