Ayushman Bharat, India’s flagship health insurance scheme for the least privileged communities in the nation, has announced that the government’s new scheme, Support for Marginalized Individuals for Livelihood and Enterprise (SMILE), will provide medical coverage for transgender individuals that includes support for medical interventions like sex-change operations.
Annual medical coverage of five lakh rupees per family is already provided through Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY), but this benefit will now be extended to transgender individuals under the SMILE scheme.
“There are five components of the new scheme,” the Secretary of social justice and empowerment R. Subrahmanyam told the Economic Times, “Education, health, skill development, rehabilitation, and economic linkages. For health, packages are being worked out under Ayushman Bharat for transgenders. This will cover surgeries and medical support required by transgender persons.”
The SMILE scheme is set to be rolled out by the ministry of social justice this week on October 12.