ibnlive » India

Jun 07, 2012 at 09:56am IST

Senior citizens welcome new health insurance rules

Kolkata: The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority's (IRDA) new policies have brought much relief to the senior citizens with the age limit raised to 65 years.

Retired two years ago, 57-year-old Ambarish Banerjee spends the better part of his pension on medicines. It is vital for his survival as he's asthmatic. Health insurance at his age is hard to come by or comes at a prohibitive cost. But now there's reason to hope.

The new draft IRDA guidelines make it mandatory for health insurers to provide a policy cover for people up to the age of 65. There is no age of exit. If the premiums are renewed without a break, they can stay insured as long as they want.

"This is a great initiative, finally there is something to cheer about. It's good that the government is also thinking about us, but the health insurers must also reduce premium amounts for senior citizens, it is extremely prohibitive," Ambarish Banerjee said.

There is more good news in the draft guidelines. Insurers often refuse to renew policies for the customers who are sick. The draft guidelines crack down on this practice. Cashless facility must be provided to those undergoing treatment, even if the hospital is removed from the preferred providers list. All claims must be settled within a month if the paperwork is complete.

If these guidelines are enforced, India's senior citizens will have the medical security that has long been denied to them.

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