The government has launched a new health insurance scheme aimed at families below the poverty line.Finance minister Arun Jaitley in his budget speech said that this scheme will offer a health cover of up to Rs 1 lakh per family and for senior citizens in age group of 60 years and above, a top-up of Rs 30,000 will be available additionally.At present, India only has the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY) was envisaged to provide health insurance coverage to Below Poverty Line families.
“Catastrophic health events are the single most important cause of unforeseen out-of-pocket expenditure which pushes lakhs of households below the poverty line every year.
Serious illness of family members cause severe stress on the financial circumstances of poor and economically weak families, shaking the foundation of their economic security,” said Jaitley in his speech.
RSBY, launched by the labour and employment ministry on April 1, 2008.
Here, the coverage extends to five members of a family-head of the household, spouse and up to three dependents.
Beneficiaries need to pay only Rs 30 as registration fee, while Central and state governments pay premium to the insurer.
Expressing his views on the Budget, Sandeep Patel, MD & CEO, Cigna TTK Health Insurance, said, “The budget proposal to launch a new health protection scheme will ensure penetration of health insurance and promote financial inclusion.
The proposal for additional Rs 30, 000 health cover for senior citizens will help reduce the burden of healthcare expenditure for the aged.”
Inflation in health insurance is in double digits according to various estimates. In this segment, health insurance costs are high for senior citizens as also premium for health covers since risks associated with them are high.