Budget May Unveil Health Insurance Scheme for Elderly


New Delhi: The government is working on a cashless health insurance scheme for senior citizens which may be announced in the upcoming Union budget 2016-17.

Around Rs. 10,000 crore – lying unclaimed in banks and insurance companies, Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) and small savings schemes – would be utilized for providing the health insurance cover to the elderly, sources said.

Senior citizens are often dependent on their children or extended families for healthcare, they said, adding that the proposed scheme will help in meeting secondary and tertiary healthcare needs.

The quantum of insurance cover would be more than Rs. 50,000 for persons over 60 years.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will present the central budget for the next financial year on February 29.

The proposed scheme will be administered by the Department of Financial Services under the Finance Ministry.

The government proposes to link this scheme to bank accounts of beneficiaries to directly transfer the subsidised amount to the accounts. As per the proposal, the government would subsidise the premium for those below poverty line by up to 90 per cent through cash transfers to their bank accounts.

It’s not that the government will forfeit these unclaimed funds, sources said, adding that if claimants come forward they will be paid because the fund would be revolving in nature, sources said.

A health insurance scheme for senior citizens would be a logical extension of the ongoing low premium life insurance (Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana), general insurance (Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana) and pension plan (Atal Pension Yojana) of the government, sources said.

The Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima scheme offers a renewable one-year life cover of Rs. 2 lakh to all savings bank account holders in the age group of 18-50 years, covering death due to any reason, for a premium of Rs. 330 per annum.

The Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima scheme offers a renewable one-year accidental death-cum-disability cover of Rs. 2 lakh for partial/permanent disability to all savings bank account holders in the age group of 18-70 years for a premium of Rs. 12 per annum per subscriber.

The Atal Pension scheme focuses on the unorganised sector and provide subscribers a fixed minimum pension of Rs. 1,000, Rs. 2,000, Rs. 3,000, Rs. 4,000 or Rs. 5,000 per month, starting at the age of 60 years, depending on the contribution option exercised on entering at an age between 18 and 40 years.