Soon a national medical insurance policy for HIV positive
people could be a reality in India. National Aids Control Organization (NACO)
will press insurance companies to make insurance 'inclusive and universal for people
living with HIV (PLHIV).' Presently HIV is excluded from all insurance policies
available in the country.
Officials of the health ministry cited that earlier
HIV/AIDS was regarded as an incurable disease, however now it has become a
manageable health problem. A ministry
official said, "Those living with HIV are living longer and have less morbidity
cases, thanks to the increase in anti-retroviral therapy (ART) coverage. With
timely initiation of ART, PLHIV may live a normal life up to 20 more years.
Companies need to realize that covering HIV patients with a medical policy is
no more a loss making proposition."
In India presently insurance policy for PLHIVs is offered
only by Star Health and Allied Insurance in four states- Karnataka,
Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. This policy provides health cover
of Rs. 30,000 with yearly premium of Rs. 1,511. Over 7,000 PLHIVs have
subscribed to this insurance policy. Â NACO
states, "HIV has been taken out from the exclusion list making it possible for
poor PLHIVs to be covered under health insurance, which can make them entitled
to one time hospitalization for nearly 700 in-patient procedures with costs up
to Rs 30,000 by paying a minimal registration fee of Rs 30 per annumm."