For the first time in the country, people with disabilities are being brought under health insurance such that they can get treatment at a low cost.
Called Bangabandhu Suraksha Bima for Persons of Disabilities, people with autism, Down’s syndrome, intellectual disability and cerebral palsy will initially be eligible for the insurance policy, which was launched by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday to mark the National Insurance Day.
The initiative has been piloted in Dhaka city, Dhaka district and Sylhet district.
While the persons with the disability do not have to pay any fee to avail of the health insurance service, a portion of the premium will have to be borne by the parents.
The Sadharan Bima Corporation, which is initially implementing the scheme along with Neuro-Developmental Disabilities Protection Trust (NDDPT), will have to pay an annual premium of Tk 600.
Parents whose monthly income is Tk 25,000 or less will have to bear 25 percent of the annual premium or Tk 125. The remaining 75 percent or Tk 450 will be borne by the NDDPT.
Parents whose monthly income is more than Tk 25,000 will have to bear the entire annual premium. Up to Tk 1 lakh of the medical bill will be borne by the policy.
For now, disabled people aged 3 to 25 years can sign up for the policy, said Jakir Hossain, deputy general manager for Sadharan Bima Corporation’s marketing, business development and underwriting division.
Based on the response, the scheme will be expanded, he added.
The big challenge lies in expanding the coverage or implementing it efficiently, said Anowar Ullah, managing director of NDDPT.
In Dhaka and Sylhet, the number of people with autism and other neurological disabilities is higher than in other districts.
“That’s why we initially chose these two areas. We will bring 1 lakh people under this insurance in one year,” he added.
There are plans to bring the visually impaired, speech impaired and the other categories under the policy later, said Abdul Mannan, deputy director of NDDPT.
On behalf of the prime minister, Sheikh Mohammad Salim Ullah handed over ‘Bima Padak’ to five persons for their outstanding contribution to the insurance sector and ‘Bangabandhu Surokhya Bima Policy’ to two differently able children.
Md. Mokbul Hossain and Mostafizur Rahman, former chairmen of Sandhani Life insurance and National Life Insurance respectively; Sheikh Kabir Hossain, president of Bangladesh Insurance Association; Nasiruddin Ahmad Choudhury, adviser and founding managing director of Green Delta Insurance; and Nazrul Islam Khan, a former secretary were given with lifetime achievement awards for their significant contribution to the development of the insurance sector.