IBA Mediclaim scheme has come into existence from 1st October 2015 for the employees and officers and from 1st November 2015 for the retirees. In that scheme it was clearly mentioned that “the new Scheme as applicable to the officers/ employees in service would be continued beyond their retirement/superannuation/resignation etc. subject to payment of stipulated premium by them. The new Scheme would also cover the existing retired officers/ employees of the Banks and dependent spouse subject to payment of stipulated premium by them.” That means that the entire scheme in full would be applicable for the retired employees also. Based on this understanding, thousands of retired employees discontinued their individual insurance policies and joined IBA Mediclaim scheme. But the rude shock was that the reimbursement under domiciliary treatment, which was part of the IBA Mediclaim Scheme, was not extended to the retired employees. Then after some discussions, domiciliary reimbursement restricting to 10% of the insurance policy of Rs.3 lakhs i.e. upto Rs.30000/- in the case of retired workmen and 10% of the insurance policy of Rs. 4 lakhs i.e. upto Rs.40000/- in the case of retired officers was extended whereas there was no such restriction for employees and officers in service. The irony is that they have to pay exorbitant differential premium to avail this benefit. For example, in the proposed scheme for this year commencing from 1st November 2022, the premium payable is as follows:
Amount in Rupees:
|Category||Sum assured||Premium Without domiciliary||Premium With domiciliary||Difference|
In the case of officers, for availing the benefit of Rs.40000/-, one has to pay a premium of Rs.39968/- and in the case of workmen, for availing the benefit of Rs.30000/-, one has to pay Rs.36586/-. This has been the case for the past few years without being questioned by any one. Is there any iota of logic in this?
Steep rise in premium:
In the year 2015, when the scheme commenced, the premium for a floater policy of Rs.3 Lakhs for workmen was Rs.5670/- : whereas it is Rs.41334/- today. Similarly in the year 2015, the premium for a floater policy of Rs.4 Lakhs for officers was Rs.7559/- : whereas it is Rs.57808/- today. Both the premiums have increased by more than 7 times in 7 years. Compared to last year, this year’s premium has been escalated by more than 30%. It is more than 3 months’ pension for many pensioners in the lower cadre and who retired earlier. How can they afford to pay this? As a result, thousands of retired employees have been going out of this scheme unable to bear the sharp and steep increase in the premium. If this situation continues, in a few years almost all would leave this scheme.
What is the solution?
Reducing the room rent, cutting the reimbursement quantum, excluding certain diseases etc. and thereby trying to reduce the premium is not the solution. The only solution is that as in the case of employees and officers in service, the Banks have to bear the premium for the base policy of the retired employees and officers. The premium for the top-up policy can be borne by the retired employees and officers. That is the only solution to safeguard the health of the elders and to avoid their pre-mature death.