Govt to enrol kin of migrant workers into health insurance

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Jan 29, 2017-

The government is planning compulsory enrolment of family members of migrant workers into its health insurance programme.

The Social Health Insurance Bill-2016 proposes mandatory insurance of family members of migrant workers. The draft bill has got the nod of the Ministry of Labour and Employment and is being reviewed by the Ministry of Finance. After approval, the bill will be sent to Cabinet, which will then forward it to Parliament for endorsement.

“This is a cushion for migrants’ families. While their bread-earners are abroad, the health insurance will help family members get quality services for affordable prices and drastically cut the family’s healthcare cost,” said Dr Guna Raj Lohani, executive director of the Social Health Security Development Committee.

The Health Ministry said it is holding talks with the Labour Ministry to require migrant workers to furnish the proof of insurance of their family members while applying for permits to work abroad.

The move follows the government’s decision to increase the insurance amount for migrant workers. The government on Tuesday announced that each Nepali leaving for jobs abroad, except India, will have to buy a life insurance and general insurance package worth Rs2 million starting January 28. The decision, if enforced, could benefit more than 5 million Nepalis working in 110 labour destinations.

“If endorsed, the Social Health Insurance Bill will provide a strong legal basis for implementing the programme across the country. It will also support us in universal health insurance coverage,” said Dr Lohani.

The government on May 14 began the health insurance programme from Kailali and expanded it to Baglung and Ilam and then to Achham, Baitadi, Kaski, Myagdi and Palpa districts. Under the programme, a household of five has to pay an annual premium of Rs2,500. For every additional member, the family needs to pay Rs425.

Under this scheme, each household gets health services worth up to Rs50,000. As of January 22, as many as 47,734 people have signed up for the scheme.

Published: 29-01-2017 08:08

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