Ayushman Bharat, the government's flagship health insurance scheme for the poorest of the poor will now cover transgender and fund medical interventions such as sex change operations.

Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY) grants a medical cover of Rs 5 lakh to each family per year, which entitles them to free medical care at all government and empanelled private hospitals. Under the government's new scheme, Support for Marginalized Individuals for Livelihood and Enterprise (SMILE), this benefit will now be given to trans people. Medical assistance and medical intervention will be included in the health care coverage.

Education, health, skill development, rehabilitation and economic ties are the five components of the new scheme.

On October 12, the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment will launch SMILE. The project is divided into two sub-schemes: the Central Sector Scheme for Comprehensive Rehabilitation for the Welfare of Transgender Persons; and the Central Sector Scheme for Comprehensive Rehabilitation of Persons engaged in the act of begging.

The umbrella scheme will cover a wide range of initiatives, including welfare measures for both transgender people and persons who are engaged in the act of begging with a strong emphasis on rehabilitation, medical care, counselling, education, skill development, and economic linkages, with the help of state governments and non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

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The Centre has set out Rs 500 crore for a five-year transgender welfare package.

Revised health benefits packages:

  • The Health Benefits Package (HBP) Master under the Ayushman Bharat Yojana has been revised by the National Health Authority (NHA), the scheme's apex body. The new plan aims to treat COVID-19 cases holistically.

  • The rates of several health packages have been hiked by 20% to 400% under PMJAY in the revised version of the Health Benefits Package.

  • According to the NHA, charges for around 400 procedures have been revised, and a new medical management package relating to black fungus has been added.

  • Ayushman Bharat PMJAY currently has 1669 treatment procedures, including 1080 surgical operations, 588 medical treatments, and one unspecified package.

  • The rate revision has been done in radiation oncology procedures; medical Management procedures like procedure for dengue, acute febrile illness etc; surgical package treatment for black fungus; and other procedures like Right/left heart catheterization, PDA closure, Arthrodesis, Cholecystectomy, appendicectomy etc.

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