| A helping hand
There are various insurance covers available in the market for people with special needs who are dependent on others
It is a statistic we may like to overlook but can’t. As per the reports of World Health Organization, India accounts for the largest national population of disabled people in the world. According to the World Bank, there are around eight crore persons with disability in the country, that is around 6 per cent of the total population. What’s worse, their access to social security is grossly inadequate, especially of those who are dependent on their parents or guardian.
Consider the observation by the World Bank: “Households with disabled members are significantly poorer than average, with lower consumption and fewer assets. Children living with disability are around four to five times less likely to be in school than Scheduled Tribe and Scheduled Caste children. Disabled adults also have far lower employment rates than the general population—and this fell from 43 per cent in 1991 to 38 per cent in 2002, even in the midst of economic growth.”
No doubt, people with disabilities are among the most excluded in Indian society and are subject to multiple deprivations. There are not many good insurance schemes for the blind, deaf, orthopedically handicapped or mentally retarded. We list the available insurance covers for differently-abled people.
Asmita: Group life insurance scheme
Parents of handicapped dependants are primarily worried over the fate of their children with special needs when they are no more. For such parents and guardians, the National Trust, an autonomous organization under the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment, Government of India, has launched Asmita, a group life insurance scheme.
The National Trust works for the welfare of persons who have disabilities like autism, cerebral palsy, mental retardation and multiple disabilities. Compared with several life insurance products that are available for parents, guardians and supporters of handicapped dependants, Asmita is more affordable.
Under the scheme, either one of the parents, the guardian or the supporter of a disabled person (beneficiary) is insured for a sum of Rs 10 lakh. The insurance covers death, accidental or otherwise, of the person insured. There is no survival benefit in the scheme but in the unfortunate event of the death of the insured person, the insurance proceeds would go back to the National Trust (as it is the sole nominee under the scheme) which would use it to make arrangements for the lifelong shelter and care of the beneficiary, and ensure that the beneficiary is looked after well.
However, no benefit would be accrued under the scheme for death arising out of suicide or intentional self-injury by an insured person.
The scheme is underwritten by an Indian life insurance company, licensed by the Insurance Regulatory & Development Authority or Irda.
Eligibility & application process: Any person or organization can apply under the scheme as the applicant by paying the applicable fees. Only those persons who have any of the disabilities covered under the National Trust Act are eligible to be beneficiaries under the scheme. Further, only one of the parents, the legal guardian or the supporter of the beneficiary on whom the beneficiary is financially dependent is eligible to be covered under the scheme as an insured person.
The insurance company and the premium payable are decided through a transparent process, according to the National Trust. The premium is paid by the National Trust to the selected insurance company. The insurance cover is valid for one year or till its renewal.
Claim process: In the event of death of the insured person, immediate intimation in writing is to be given to the insurance company. The documents normally required by the insurance company are the claim form, death certificate and post-mortem report (in case of accidental death). The insurance company has to pay the claim amount within five weeks from the date of receipt of complete documentation.
Niramaya: Health insurance scheme
Niramaya is a health insurance scheme launched by the National Trust in association with ICICI Lombard for persons with autism, cerebral palsy, mental retardation and multiple disabilities. The scheme provides an insurance cover up to Rs 1 lakh to all persons with disabilities and there is a single premium across the age band. There is also no exclusion of pre-existing conditions and an insured person can avail services ranging from regular medical checkup to hospitalization, therapy to corrective surgery, transportation, pre- and post-hospitalization expenses, no pre-insurance medical tests, cashless hospitalization in empanelled hospitals, reimbursement of claims in case of OPD services and treatment through non-empanelled hospitals.
Eligibility & application process: Any eligible person can apply for enrolment under the scheme in the prescribed format and submit it to the nearest organization registered with the National Trust (the list of registered organization is available on the National Trust’s website (www.thenationaltrust.in). An applicant has to submit the application form along with the fee slip to the National Trust. However, families below poverty line don’t need to pay any fee but they have to submit a copy of the BPL card.
On successful enrolment and approval, the health card is issued to each beneficiary. As regards the premium payment, a family with income up to Rs 15,000 per month has to pay Rs 250 per annum, while one with monthly income of above Rs 15,000 has to pay a premium of Rs 500 per annum.
Jeevan Adhar: Life insurance cover
LIC has launched two policies, Jeevan Adhar and Jeevan Vishwas, for handicapped dependants. Jeevan Adhar is a whole-of-life plan and therefore there is no maturity benefit. The plan is for a person who has a handicapped dependant and the benefits are partly in lump sum and partly in the form of an annuity. The premiums paid under this plan are eligible for income tax benefit under Section 80DDA of the Income Tax Act. The policy also provides for the guaranteed additions at the rate of Rs 100 per thousand sum assured for each completed policy year.
On the death of the person assured, the sum assured together with the guaranteed additions and terminal additions, if any, become payable.
Jeevan Vishwas is an endowment assurance plan for the benefit of handicapped dependants. On surviving till the end of the term of the policy or earlier death, the sum assured, together with the guaranteed additions and loyalty additions, if any, becomes payable. As much as 20 per cent of such benefit amount is paid in a lump sum and the balance amount is utilized to provide an annuity on the life of handicapped dependant.
Further, for people having handicapped dependants, the Income Tax department has provided tax benefits under the Income Tax Act.
Section 80DD allows deduction of Rs 40,000 to an assessee in respect of medical treatment including nursing, training and rehabilitation of a handicapped dependant or amount paid or deposited in specified schemes of LIC or Unit Trust of India for the maintenance of handicapped dependant. However, in the case of serious disability, one can claim deduction up to Rs 1 lakh under income tax rules. Under handicapped dependents come husband, wife, children, parents and siblings. However, to claim deduction one has to get Form 10 IA certificate from a government hospital’s doctor.
Baja Allianz’s Ability Insurance
Baja Allianz’s Ability Insurance is one of the insurance plans launched by private insurance players for working handicapped people who are economically independent. Inaugurating the plan on World Disability Day, the company announced that it launched Ability Insurance Plan for specially-abled citizens to live carefree by giving them and their family the assurance of safety and security. There are three policies under the plan: Ability Life Insurance Plans, Ability Health Insurance Plan and Ability Motor Insurance Plan.
Under the life insurance plans, there are various categories like Assured Protection Insurance Plan, Max Advantage Insurance Plan, Bajaj Allianz Invest Gain, Bajaj Allianz ChildGain and Bajaj Allianz Super Saver. Under general insurance, there are categories like Bajaj Allianz Motor Insurance and Bajaj Allianz Health Insurance.
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