Free COVID-19 testing only to persons under Ayushman Bharat Scheme and EWS Categories; SC allows private labs to charge others

April 14,2020

by Swastika Saxena

According  to the recent reports, COVID-19 positive cases surge past 9300 with over 200 deaths in India as of now. Approx 2,06,212 tests were conducted till yesterday with strict practice of social distancing and precautions. Amidst this scenario, the SUPREME COURT  has modified its interim order of April 8,2020 which said to test for Covid-19 free of cost.

Now it is free only for economically weaker sections of the society including those who are under Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana A bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice S. Ravindra Bhat passed the orders on two on applications, one is filed by a Senior Orthopaedic surgeon seeking to modify Court’s order dated April 8 in which Supreme Court allowed free testing in private labs for COVID-19. Second, application has been filed by Bijon Kumar Mishra seeking impleadment and direction to ensure the treatment of COVID-19 infected patients free of cost in all hospitals.

People have to be tested only if the doctor certifies. We need to see what is actual number of beneficiaries. We have 139 Government labs where irrespective of economic status, people can get tested. We are seeing a serious problem and end of the problem is unknown. We have to prioritise resources, solicitor general Tushar Mehta said.

The private labs can continue to charge as earlier( as fixed by ICMR-4500/-). The Government of India, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare may issue necessary guidelines for reimbursement of cost of free testing of COVID-19 undertaken by private Labs and necessary mechanism to defray expenses and reimbursement to the private Labs.

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