Insurance policy for migrants on anvil

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Feb 14, 2017-The government is set to unveil a policy that necessitates migrants’ to purchase insurance coverage for their family members to become eligible for a work permit. The policy is expected to come into effect once Parliament endorses the Social Health Insurance Act, 2073.

The policy could benefit dependants of an estimated 3 million migrants working in various countries except India. Officials at the Ministry of Labour and Employment (MoLE) said that the policy would ensure better safety nets for migrants and their families. “Discussions are going on with the Ministry of Health and other stakeholders to set up a mechanism for its implementation,” said MoLE Spokesman Govinda Mani Bhurtel. 

MoLE is also in the process to increase the coverage of migrant workers going abroad in line with the announcement made by PM Pushpa Kamal Dahal in January.  The announcement made it binding for both the aspiring workers and those who have already been working abroad to purchase insurance coverage worth Rs2 million.   

Insurance companies have been urged to contact families of the migrants for the additional amount required for supplement package, according to official. 

The migrant-oriented insurance policy, if it succeeds, will not only ensure a better social security net to migrants but also bring the government closer to meeting its dream of providing insurance cover to all Nepalis.  

Around 56 per cent of Nepali households have at least a working member abroad, according to the Household Survey 2011, though the actual number of migrant households is believed to be much higher. 

Policymakers are also drafting modalities to ensure that each migrant is covered without bureaucratic hassles. MoLE officials said that proof of the insurance coverage should be submitted together with other documents that are required to obtain work approval. 

Last month, Dr Guna Raj Lohani, executive director of the Social Health Security Development Committee, had told the Post that the planned policy would help migrants’ families to get more affordable health care. As per the plan, each migrant household could get insurance cover worth up to Rs50,000 by purchasing an annual package of Rs2,500 for a family of five. Families having more than five members will have to pay an additional Rs 425 per head.

Published: 14-02-2017 08:44

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