Any individual aged 60 years or above is called as senior citizen. In India, Senior Citizens are a treasure to the society. These citizens have worked hard all these years and contributed extensively for the development of the nation as well as the community.
Any individual aged 60 years or above is called as senior citizen. In India, Senior Citizens are a treasure to the society. These citizens have worked hard all these years and contributed extensively for the development of the nation as well as the community. The Senior Citizens possess a vast and diversified experience in various walks of life. The younger generation of today can gain extensively from the rich experience of the senior citizens in leading our country to greater heights. When such individuals attain the age of 60 years and above, they need to be loved with care and affection as well as they should be given due respect and made to feel special. Indian Government has introduced several benefits through its schemes in various sectors of development especially for senior citizens. One amongst such schemes includes health insurance policy for senior citizens in India.
Over the years, the Government of India has launched various schemes and policies for elderly individuals. These schemes and policies are meant to promote the health, well-being and independence of senior citizens across the country. With numerous tax benefits, travel and healthcare facilities exclusively designed and provisioned for them, Indian Government has created sufficient reasons for Senior Citizens to feel satisfied and elated. This corner on Senior Citizens is aimed at providing details regarding exclusive health insurance policy covers introduced in India especially concerning them.
The central government of India came out with the National Policy for Older Persons (or Elderly Individuals) in 1999 to promote the health and welfare of senior citizens in India. These guidelines aim to encourage individuals to facilitate provisions for self as well as their spouse’s old age. It also strives to encourage families to take special care of their elderly family members who are dependent on the bread-earners in the family. This policy has been designed to enable and support voluntary and non-governmental organizations (NGO’s) to supplement the care rendered by the family and provide care and protection to vulnerable elderly people. Healthcare, creation of awareness, training facilities to geriatric caregivers/service providers and healthcare research has also been enumerated under this policy. The main objective of this policy is to make elderly people fully independent citizens.
National Policy for Older Persons (or Elderly Individuals) has resulted in the launch of new schemes enumerated below:
v Strengthening of primary healthcare system across India in order to fulfill the requirements pertaining to healthcare needs of elderly individuals.
v Provision of separate queues and reservation of beds for elderly patients in hospitals and nursing homes.
v Imparting necessary training and orientation programs designed for medical and paramedical personnel in Geriatic care (i.e. healthcare of the elderly individuals).
v Assistance to societies for production and distribution of materials related to geriatric care.
v Promotion of the concept of healthy ageing process, preventive healthcare aspects and well-being of Senior Citizens.
v Extended coverage under the Antyodaya Scheme with special emphasis on provision of food at subsidized rates for the Senior Citizens especially the destitute and marginalized sections of Indian Society.
The Integrated program for Older Persons is a scheme that provides financial assistance up to 90 per cent of the project cost to non-governmental organizations or NGOs.. This money is used to establish and maintain old age homes, day-care centres, mobile Medicare units as well as to provide non-institutional services to elderly individuals. The scheme also incorporates other requirements of elderly citizens such as reinforcing and strengthening the family bonding, generation of awareness on family related issues and facilitating productive ageing.
Another important program introduced by the Government of India is the Scheme of Assistance to Panchayati Raj Institutions, voluntary organizations and Self- Help Groups for the construction of Old-Age Homes and Multi-Service Centres for Senior Citizens. This scheme provides a one time construction grant.
Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS) provides pensioners or retired employees of central government various healthcare facilities for availing treatment and obtaining medicines for chronic (or long-standing) ailments up to three months at a stretch. TheNational Mental Health Program focuses on the needs of elderly individuals who are affected with Alzheimer’s Disease Dementia, Parkinson’s disease, Depression, Psycho-somatic disorder and Psycho-Geriatric ailments.
The journey towards financial security does not end here. The Central Government of India is constantly in the process of evolving and rolling-out of newer plans and schemes to benefit senior citizens across the country. In the 2007-08 Budget, the Finance Minister had proposed to provide monthly income to seniors and develop new healthcare insurance schemes.
For the benefits of senior citizens various schemes have been introduced that includes:
- The National Housing Bank has introduced a 'reverse mortgage' scheme under which a senior citizen owning a house in India can avail of a steady monthly stream of income against mortgage of the house. The senior citizen remains the legal owner and occupies the house throughout his or her lifetime, without repayment of the loan. Regulations are to be initiated for creation of mortgage guarantee companies.
- Exclusive health insurance schemes for senior citizens offered by select Insurance Companies.
- The Maintenance of Parents and Senior Citizens Bill of 2007 - This bill facilitates care for the maintenance of aged parents, establishment of old homes, provision of medical care and protection of life and property of senior citizens.
These new developments concerning senior citizens are meant to get such individuals on the path to a better, peaceful, stable, financially sound and secured life.