A state-backed health insurance policy for senior citizens is likely to be announced by the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi. It is expected to be on the lines of the 'Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana', the accident insurance scheme launched by the government last Independence Day.
The proposed scheme will be available to all families not exceeding five members, including those families headed by senior citizens and the entire family will be covered under a single sum insured, says the draft note. The upper age limit for availing of the benefit is 60 years.
The scheme will offer a cover of Rs 50,000 to a family of five on a floater basis, and in those cases where the oldest beneficiary is under 60, for an annual premium of Rs 500-700 and a sum insured of Rs 1,00,000, says the draft. In case of senior citizens, it could go up to Rs 1 lakh.
It will be the government's first health insurance policy for people above the poverty line. Those below the poverty line are covered under the existing 'Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana'. "As long as it builds penetration of health insurance in a sustainable way, it is welcome," said Sanjay Datta, head of underwriting at ICICI Lombard.
The government has opened about 150 million bank accounts under 'Jan Dhan Yojana', the government's financial inclusion scheme. The 'Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana' is the personal accident policy for sum assured of Rs 2 lakh for a nominal amount of Rs 12 a year. Similarly, the life insurance policy 'Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana' for Rs 2 lakh is available for a premium of Rs 330.
Welcoming the proposal United India Insurance chairman and managing director Milind Kharat told PTI that "the scheme will help senior citizens the most as now they have to pay a huge premium to get an health cover".
"We hope that it will be lapped up the masses and the resultant increase in volume will help us insurers provide wider cover at a comparatively low premium."However, if no subsidy is offered to the poor, it will be difficult for them to afford," he added.