It is a well-known fact that persons with disabilities (PwDs) in developed nations have easy reach to medical treatments and healthcare services. But in a developing country like ours, obtaining access to health care facilities is a grueling task for the disabled, especially when hospitals burden the patients with heavy medical bills. According to the census figures of 2001, India has over 21 million people who are suffering from one or the other kind of disability. Even though there are schemes launched by government and insurance companies to promote inclusive development and financial independence of PwDs, still a lot of aspects pertaining to disability insurance await a thoughtful solution. The below mentioned points will shed light on the various dimensions of health covers for disabled.
Congenital Disability and Life Insurance Schemes:
Congenital disability is a medical condition that is present right from the birth of a person and most of the health insurance companies in India do not cover congenital disabilities. But LIC in 2008 launched a congenital disability rider under LIC’s Jeevan Bharti-I plan for the female lives insured. However, there are some expensive endowment plans in the market for handicapped persons that offer average benefits when compared to the regular plans. Therefore insurance as an investment option may not give fruitful results to the differently abled.
Accident Disability Insurance:
Unlike congenital disability which puts the person in a high risk category, people with accidental disabilities are eligible for health insurance plans. Accidentally disabled individuals are treated as normal applicants by most of the health insurance companies, and they do not impose extra charges or restrictive clauses on the cover. You can stay prepared for any of the future medical exigencies by simply buying a health insurance plan. Among all the misconceptions related to health insurance, your accidental disability should not bother you from buying a health insurance plan.
Information to be Declared
The applicant must declare his disabilities in detail in the proposal form and submit the documents as required by the insurer. Most companies demand a Doctor’s report to assess the level to which the disability hinders the person’s day to day activities. Companies may also seek information on any of the tests or doctor visits made recently.
Tax Benefits Available for Disabled Persons:
Tax benefits for persons with disabilities are covered under section 80U and 80DD of the income tax act. As per section 80U, a person with 40% to 79% disability is eligible for a tax deduction of Rs 50,000 and a person above 80% disability is allowed a tax deduction of Rs 1,00,000. Under section 80DD the family members of the dependent disabled person too can claim deductions. If the dependent’s disability is 40% to 79%, the supporting family member will get deductions of Rs 50,000 on the insurance covering the disabled. For disabilities greater than 80%, deductions of Rs 1,00,000 is available.
Eligibility for High Risk Covers:
Like every other applicant, the disabled person too has to provide the reasons for opting a high risk cover plan. The prime reason for anyone choosing a high risk product is to ensure the security of their dependent members in case of an unfortunate incident. It is also to be noted that high risk covers are more expensive than normal life insurance plans.
Other Options Available for Persons with Disabilities:
Insurers generally accept medical conditions that do not impair speech, cause mental instability or affect the person’s mobility. But on the other hand, government has launched certain schemes to financially empower the disabled without excluding the medical conditions that private companies generally do not consider for life insurance.
The government of India offers an insurance scheme called Nirmalya Health Insurance for people with mental disabilities. It provides an insurance coverage of 1 lakh at a very low premium amount. It also covers preexisting conditions and OPD treatments.
Another such initiative by the government that aims at providing affordable health insurance to PwDs is the Swavalamban Health Insurance Scheme. The plan offers a single premium across all age groups and it can be availed by any person with disability whose annual family income is less than Rs 3,00,00.
Currently in the insurance market, disabled persons who are not under the high risk category can prove the degree of their medical condition and buy insurance plans that suit their requirements. However, the health insurance scenario is likely to improve in the coming days and more plans will be available for even the high risk categories of PwDs.
GST rate of 18% applicable for all financial services effective July 1, 2017.
Disclaimer: Premiums may vary depending upon factors like age, location and prevailing taxes/GST.