NHRC notice to IRDA and Finance Ministry over reported refusal or high premium for mediclaim policies for healthcare workers

The National Human Rights Commission has taken suo moto cognizance of a media report stating that the healthcare workers, who are at the maximum risk to contract the corona virus infections are facing refusals/demands for high premiums to buy group Mediclaim policies.

Reportedly, as Covid-19 cases continue to rise and the government offers little clarity on insurance cover for private healthcare professionals doing non-Covid work, and there is a scramble to find the right policy.

It is further stated that while most doctors have a medical cover, the struggle has mainly been about ensuring protection for their staffers. Moreover, as mentioned in the news report there is also confusion whether the Rs 50 lakh health cover provided by the Central government for healthcare workers included private doctors, staffers and also those doing non-Covid work.

Accordingly, The Commission has issued notices to the the Chairman, Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority and the Secretary, Department of Financial Services, Insurance Division, Union Ministry of Finance calling for a detailed report in the matter within 4 weeks, positively.

Issuing the notices, the Commission has observed that in this period of pandemic, what the country needs most is proper health facilities and infrastructure. Denial of insurance claims by the companies to the Covid Warriors will definitely bring down their morale and its result will adversely affect the general public at the end. Considering the issue as a case of violation of human rights , the Commission thought its intervention necessary in the matter as the sufferers will be poor citizens who are already under trauma of the Corona virus due to lack of medical facilities.

According to the media report, Dr Sudhir Naik, in charge of the medico-legal cell of the Association of Medical Consultants (AMC) has reportedly said that no insurance company wanted to cover the Covid-warriors. He has stated that the authorities have been forcing us to keep our clinics open, but the staffers are apprehensive about working. The medical fraternity is reportedly pinning its hopes on the standard Covid-19 policy which the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has asked all the insurance providers to design by June 15.

Reportedly, several nursing home owners in the city have been scouting for a group cover, but with little success. The companies have refused to extend even the fixed benefit covers. Here the beneficiary is paid a lumpsum on testing positive. The sum assured can vary from Rs 20,000 to Rs 2 lakh, and annual premium is relatively low.

As per news report, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) has said that a company which earlier agreed to extend a fixed benefit cover of up to Rs 2 lakh to its members, pulled out of the deal after Covid-19 cases began to rise in the state. The IMA has reportedly stated that the company has returned the premium paid by around 150 doctors who had already signed the documents.


NHRC

Press Release dt. 12-06-2020

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