Maharashtra government may soon put Rs 50,000 in mishap victims’ pockets

Mumbai(dna): Accident victims in the state, who have no insurance cover of their own, can soon be assured of atleast three days’ free treatment. The Fadnavis government is planning to provide succour to mishap victims by launching an insurance cover which will grant them free treatment in private hospitals. The proposed scheme may cover their hospitalisation expenses for three days, subject to an upper limit of Rs 50,000.

“(The scheme is meant for) accident, and especially road accident victims in Mumbai and Maharashtra, who have no insurance cover,” health minister Dr Deepak Sawant told dna.

“We are planning to provide them free treatment for three days under the scheme, subject to a ceiling of Rs 50,000,” he added, stating that the government has already held discussions with the insurance companies in this regard. “We have asked them to submit their proposals,” he said.

Patients who need to continue hospitalisation after three days and have exhausted the ceiling will have to pay the rest of amount from own pocket.

“There are complaints about hospitals refusing to admit accident cases if the victim has no accident cover,” the minister said, adding that at times, these institutions also sought a deposit from patients and refrained from admitting them for treatment till the money was paid.

The department has sought a report on the potential beneficiaries based on the total number of accidents in Maharashtra.

The year 2014 saw 61,511 accidents, marginally down from 61,890 in 2013. However, the number of deaths in these mishaps increased from 12,194 in 2013 to 12,691 in 2014. though the number of injured came down from 41,106 in 2013 to 39,991 in 2014, according to state government figures.

The scheme, which Sawant said, would be the first of its kind in terms of targeted insurance cover for accident victims, will cover all victims of road accidents in Maharashtra, regardless of whether they are natives of the state or not.

“However, this will not apply to people who are already covered under mediclaim plans… They will not be able to claim double benefits,” said Sawant.

The scheme will also cover accident victims who have been provided life support services through the Maharashtra Emergency Medical Services (EMS) network of 937 ambulances spread out across the state. The ambulances can be accessed via the toll free number 108 and are aimed at shifting patients to hospitals within the crucial ‘golden hour’. However, the beneficiaries under this insurance scheme need not compulsorily make use of EMS ambulance service; they can hire whichever service that comes to them in first place.