Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday reviewed the implementation of the recently announced insurance scheme for health workers battling COVID-19 and emphasised the need for speedy settlement to help reach the benefits to the nominees at the earliest. The Rs 50 lakh insurance scheme is a part of the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package (PMGKP) announced in March for three months for 22.12 lakh public healthcare providers, including community health workers, who may have to be in direct contact and care of patients suffering from coronavirus infection and who may be at risk of being impacted by this.
The scheme, funded through the National Disaster Response Fund operated by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, was later extended for another three month till September. During the review meeting held via video conferencing, a presentation was made by the Chairman and Managing Director of New India Assurance providing details about the highlight of the scheme and its status of implementation as on date, an official statement said.
Of the 147 intimations received till date, claim documents have been submitted for 87, out of which 15 have been paid, 4 approved for payment while 13 are under examination, it said. "Further, a total of 55 claims have been found ineligible, out of which 35 claims fall outside the scope of the cover like police personnel, municipal workers not related to hospitals, people from education, revenue departments, etc, while another 20 claims submitted have the cause of death other than COVID-19 like cardiac arrest, etc," it said.
It is to be noted that the New India Assurance is implementing this insurance scheme. During the meeting, the finance minister highlighted the importance for a speedy settlement and emphasised the need of the benefit reaching to the nominees at the earliest. Officials from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare provided an overview of the mechanism being followed with state nodal authorities to expedite the claims, also highlighting the issues being faced while reaching out to the family of deceased as well as obtaining the legal heir certificate, it said.
Along with health ministry officials, senior officials from the Department of Financial Services were also present in the meeting. While announcing the scheme, the finance minister had said, safai karamcharis (sanitation workers), ward boys, nurses, ASHA workers, paramedics, technicians, doctors and specialists and other health workers would be covered by the special insurance scheme.
However, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare later in an FAQ clarified that private hospital staff treating COVID-19 patients will also be covered.
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