Close to 13 lakh State government employees, pensioners and their families would soon be able to avail cashless medical treatment at corporate hospitals under the Arogyasri scheme. Modalities to implement the scheme are being worked out and the scheme touted as ‘Arogyasri Plus” is expected to be launched in a few months from now.
Talking to The Hindu on the sidelines of a seminar on ‘Health Insurance for Senior Citizens’, organised here on Friday by Help Age India, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Arogyasri, A. Babu said that the State government employees and pensioners need not pay money up front to private hospitals and later on try to reclaim through medical reimbursement. “Close to 13 lakh families amounting to 42 lakh persons will be covered under the new Arogyasri scheme. Nobody has to spend from the pocket and then try to reimburse it. Moreover, under the present reimbursement scheme, employees are not getting 100 per cent refund. The transaction will be cashless,” Mr. Babu said.
The Arogyasri CEO maintained that the State government ‘in principle’ had decided to cover the pensioners and government employees under the scheme. “The government has not made it official but the ground work to implement the scheme is already underway. We hope to launch the project in the next six months ,” he said“Under the scheme, we will provide additional services like regular health check up camps, special helpline and even exclusive ambulance facilities.
We are working out modalities,” Mr. Babu added. Chief Guest in the seminar, Chairman, Insurance Regulatory and Development Authorities (IRDA), Dr. J. Harinarayana highlighted specific regulations to help senior citizens. “No company can refuse to give insurance to persons up to 65 years. Ideally when persons turn 56, they should buy a health insurance. By the time they turn 60, the insurance company will cover them fully,” he said. Members from senior citizen’s organisations aid that insurance companies do not display flexibility in setting premiums, due to which elderly are unable to avail insurance plans. “Insurance companies have to come up with modest premium. But they seldom do. That’s why, in India, more than 90 per cent of senior citizens do not have insurance,” said R. N. Mittal, president, All India Senior Citizens Confederation.
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