PM To Flag Off Senior Citizens Pension Scheme Today

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Prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee will on Monday flag off a new insurance pension scheme for senior citizens as well as a community-based health insurance cover for the poorer sections of society.

Varistha Pension Bima Yojana, to be administered by the Life Insurance Corporation (LIC), provides for life-time pension at the assured rate of 9 per cent on the one-time lumpsum premium.

The minimum pension under the scheme will be Rs 250 per month and the maximum Rs 2,000 a month. The minimum premium has been fixed at Rs 33,335 and the maximum at Rs 2,77,490.

All citizens above 55 years of age can avail of the scheme, that was announced by finance minister Jaswant Singh in his 2003-04 Budget speech along with the health insurance scheme to ensure easy access to good health services to the less advantaged sections.

The scheme provides for pension during the lifetime of the pensioner and in the event of death of the pensioner, the purchase price will be returned to the nominee.

The difference between the actual yield earned by LIC on the funds invested under the scheme and the assured return of 9 per cent will be reimbursed to LIC annually by the Central government.

The community-based universal health insurance scheme offers health protection and easy access to good health services to the disadvantaged sections. Under this scheme, a premium of Re 1 per day for an individual, Rs 1.50 per day for a family of five and Rs 2 per day for a family of seven will entitle eligibility to get reimbursement of medical expenses up to Rs 30,000 towards hospitalisation, a cover for death due to accident up to Rs 25,000 and compensation due to loss of earning at the rate of Rs 50 per day up to a maximum of 15 days.

For below poverty line (BPL) families, the government will contribute Rs 100 per year towards their annual premium. The policy is meant for groups consisting of minimum 100 families. The scheme will be on the lines of mediclaim policy.

Hospitals run by non-governmental organisations (NGOS), state governments, trust hospitals or selective private hospitals with fixed schedule of charges will be enlisted for providing benefits. Pre- and post-hospitalisation as well as domiciliary hospitalisation shall be excluded from the scope of the policy, a press release by the ministry stated.

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