In the past year, 287 claims have been approved under the Rs 50 lakh insurance cover for healthcare workers fighting COVID-19.

Healthworkers at work in a hospital in Chennai Image for representation/PTI
Coronavirus COVID-19 Sunday, April 18, 2021 - 19:38

The Union government’s insurance scheme for healthcare workers announced at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic came to an end on March 24, 2021. According to an order issued by the Union Health Ministry on the same day, the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package (PMGKP) insurance scheme, launched to provide a safety net to health workers in case of any adversity due to COVID-19, was concluded on March 24, 2021, after being extended twice. Under the scheme, health workers fighting COVID-19 were provided an insurance cover of Rs 50 lakh. 

The scheme, which was announced in March 2020, has been extended thrice till March 2021. The move to conclude the scheme has been criticised for taking away the safety net from healthcare workers, at a time when there’s a major resurgence in COVID-19 cases. Soon after the information came to light and was condemned, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare tweeted that a new insurance arrangement will soon be made for healthcare workers fighting COVID-19. “The claims under PMGKP will be settled by the Insurance Company till 24th of April 2021. Thereafter a new dispensation will be provided to cover the Corona Warriors, for which the Ministry is in talks with the Insurance Company (New India Assurance),”  the Ministry of Health tweeted. 

The order had also stated that so far, 287 claims have been approved under the scheme. Mentioning the COVID-19 vaccination drive launched in January which prioritised vaccination of healthcare workers, the order said that all claims filed till midnight of March 24 would be eligible for coverage. A window of one month, up to April 24, has been provided for the final submission of all the eligible claims to the insurance company along with the requisite supporting documents. The scheme was implemented through an insurance policy purchased from New India Assurance Company.  

Recently, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) had accused the Union government of underreporting the total number of doctors who have succumbed to COVID-19. On February 2, Minister of State for Health Ashwini Kumar Choubey had said in the Rajya Sabha that coronavirus had claimed the lives of 162 doctors, 107 nurses and 44 ASHA workers in the country. The data released by the IMA, however,  said that 744 doctors had died of COVID-19. The association had also alleged a delay in disbursing the amount to the deceased health workers’ families.


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