With senior citizens finding it difficult to get a suitable health insurance cover, the government is finalising a new health insurance scheme for those above 60 years, which would provide a cover of Rs 1 lakh annually for secondary and tertiary treatment.
Modelled on the lines of the Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana and the Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Bima Yojana, the new scheme is likely to be launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on August 15.
“The scheme would involve annual cover, renewable from year to year. Treatment would be cashless,” said a note prepared by the department of financial services.
Senior citizens would be expected to subscribe individually for the scheme but the government would subsidise the premium for those below poverty line by up to 90 per cent through cash transfers to their bank accounts.
Finance minister Arun Jaitley had announced in the Union Budget 2015-16 that the government would set up a Senior Citizen Welfare Fund using unclaimed deposits in provident funds to subsidise the premium paid by “vulnerable groups” such as senior citizens.
“There are unclaimed deposits of about Rs 3,000 crore in the PPF, and approximately Rs 6,000 crore in the EPF corpus,” he had said, adding that there are about 10.5 crore senior citizens in the country.
“It is envisaged that while the scheme would be based on individual subscription, a large pool covering almost all of the estimated 2.7 crore BPL senior citizens aged over 60 years would form, along with additional membership of a very large number of the non-BPL senior citizens who would subscribe,” said the note.
The insurance cover to BPL senior citizens would be above the Rs 30,000 health insurance cover provided through the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana.
The finance ministry is also considering the option of providing a Rs 1 lakh cover annually on a family floater basis to the entire family that would include senior citizens.
The Prime Minister had last year on August 15 launched the PMJDY for financial inclusion to ensure that each family would have at least two bank accounts. Under the scheme, 16.92 crore accounts have been opened.