Centre ends insurance scheme for healthcare workers, says new plan coming soon
The central government has concluded the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package insurance policy scheme, which was launched to provide a safety net to the Health Workers fighting COVID-19 so as to ensure that in case of any adversity due to COVID-19, their families are taken care of. The scheme was implemented with effect from 30 March 2020 initially for a period of 90 days to provide an insurance cover of Rs 50 lakh to the health workers fighting COVID-19. Subsequently, the duration of the scheme was extended up to 24 March 2021. The Scheme, which was implemented through the purchase of an Insurance Policy from New India Assurance Company Limited, came to an end on 24 March 2021. The government has said that the claims under the scheme will be settled by the Insurance Company till the 24th of April 2021.
The government added that the scheme has acted as a very effective safety net and has been able to provide relief to the dependents of Health Workers who have lost their lives due to COVID-19 while fighting the pandemic. Under the Scheme, 287 claims have so far been approved/paid by the Insurance Company.
However, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) has claimed that at least 734 doctors have died due to the COVID-19 virus and the families of less than half of them have been able to avail of the benefits of the scheme. “Indeed, there is an apparent delay from the families in seeking help as most are shattered and entangled in the procedural difficulties in getting legal heir certificates, cause of death certificates, certificate of authenticity to prove they have worked in covid healthcare, and the rise in the pandemic. There is a growing shortage of doctors as they are overworked and stressed; it is the responsibility of the government to keep their morale high with adequate care and open-minded support. IMA appeals to extend the PMGKP insurance for another 6 months, expedite and ease the procedures and ensure all our healthcare professionals are recognized, honoured as martyrs, and adequately compensated for their dedicated services and comfort their families with motherly attitude,” said Dr Jayesh M. Lele, secretary-general, IMA, in a letter written to the Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan.
In a letter addressed to Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, Villupuram Member of Parliament D Ravikumar urged him to take immediate steps to extend the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package (PMGKP) Insurance scheme. He said that the decision to stop the scheme from March 24 will disturb the morale of the health workers and will worsen the already deteriorating situation.
New plan to be launched soon
The Union Health Ministry has also clarified that a fresh Insurance Policy for Covid warriors will become effective after the scheme concludes. In a letter released before the Centre had said that the PMGKP scheme has also played a very important psychological role in sending the right signals to the Health Care Workers and in keeping their morale high.
Who all were covered under the PMGKP scheme?
- Public healthcare providers including community health workers, who may have to be in direct contact and care of COVID-19 patients and who may be at risk of being impacted by this.
- Private hospital staff and retired /volunteer /local urban bodies/ contracted /daily wage /ad-hoc/outsourced staff requisitioned by States/ Central hospitals/ autonomous hospitals of Central/ States/UTs, AIIMS and INIs/ hospital of Central Ministries can also be drafted for COVID 19 related responsibilities.
What is the process of submission of the claim?
- The claimant needs to fill up a claim form along with necessary documents as prescribed and submit the same to the Healthcare Institution/ organization/ office where the deceased was an employee of /engaged by the institution.
- The respective institution will give the necessary certification and forward it to the competent authority.
- The competent authority for State/UT is Director General Health Services /Director Health Services/ Director Medical Education or any other Official specifically authorised by the State/UT Government for this purpose.
- The competent authority for Central Government, Central Autonomous / PSU Hospitals, AIIMS, INIs and Hospitals of other Central Ministries is Director or Medical Superintendent or Head of the concerned institution.
- Competent authorities will forward and submit claims to the insurance company for approval.