India's premier and independent insurance company 'Star Health' is out with a gift for the HIV infected. The Chennai-based company- Star Health and Allied Company Ltd. has extended a proposal to the IRDA (Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority), seeking to provide insurance coverage for those with the HIV virus. The potential market would be around 5.7 million affected persons across India.
According to Jagannathan, Chairman and Managing Director of the company, the premium is likely to be fixed at around 3000 rupees per year with a coverage up to 50,000 rupees.
Jagannathan was quoted: "The compensation becomes payable if an HIV patient is confirmed to be carrying AIDS. We would work in close co-operation with non-government organizations (NGOs) and other social groups to identify HIV cases and offer insurance cover, as it is difficult to identify the affected individuals, because people are ashamed of accepting this deadly disease, due to social stigma. That's why we adopted the institutional route in spite of identifying individuals."
According to experts, the Human Immunodeficiency Virus, HIV is a deadly virus, which spreads via four reasons. The first reason is: unprotected sexual relationship with any stranger. The second reason is: re-using an infected syringe. The third reason is: from the infected mother to her pre-natal baby. Besides this, it can also be spread through infected body fluids including semen and blood by any accidental means. Acquired Immune Deficiency Virus, AIDS, the leading stage of HIV is a deadly disease. There is no cure available for it. But experts agree the patient could survive for a longer time if he or she gets the proper treatment.
According to Star Health's officials, the social stigma attached to HIV patients and the difficulty in drawing the individuals out to take up a policy on their own , had forced Star Health to adopt the institutional route to offer this cover.
In addition, the company has also come out with a product called `Red Carpet' for senior citizens. It offers hospitalization benefits only , for people above 60 years and up to 69 years, at entry level and assured renewals thereafter. The premium would be fixed (Rs.5, 000 to Rs. 10,000) for a cover of Rs. 1 lakh to Rs. 2 lakh. There would be no pre-acceptance screening. The policy would cover even pre-existing diseases with a look-back period of 12 months.