Accident victims on national highways can soon expect to get cashless treatment from the best hospitals in the country with the government planning to launch a new nationwide insurance scheme for them.
The new scheme, which would be implemented by the ministry of road transport and highways (MoRTH), has got nod from the Department of Financial Services with the condition that an ‘open and transparent’ system will be evolved in selection of insurers to provide the cover.
As per the plan, MoRTH will take up the responsibility of financing the premium of such cashless cover from its budgetary resources, while one insurance company per zone would be selected to offer the plan and settle claims. The road ministry has identified five to six zones across the country where this plan would be launched.
?Cashless treatment of accident victims along the national highways is an ambitious programme of the ministry that is aimed at making road travel more secure. We have already launched three pilot projects on this and would go for a nationwide launch after assessing the data on accidents and claims coming before the insurers,? MoRTH secretary Vijay Chibber told FE.
Under the pilot project, the road ministry has proposed to provide a cover up to R30,000 for medical treatment of accident victims within 48 hours of a mishap. Any expense beyond that would have to be borne by the victims or their family. The ministry has created a corpus of about R25 crore to run the three pilots and would seek higher budgetary allocation to run the scheme after assessing data from these projects.
?We would know the requirements of the nationwide launch of this scheme within a year when data from the pilots would be available to us,? Chibber said.
Officials statistics suggest that 17 lives were lost in road accidents every hour last year in 2011, while, in 2010, the figure was 15. On a pan-India basis, 1.42 lakh people died in road accidents in 2011, an increase of over 7,000 from 2010.
The plan to offer cashless treatment to road accident victims had earlier run into rouble when the finance ministry (Department of Financial Services) raised objection over the process of selection of the insurer in the first pilot launched by MoRTH at the Gurgaon-Jaipur Stretch of NH?8. The DFS was unhappy that the road ministry assigned the job of pilot to ICICI Lombard General Insurance after engaging the services of public sector National Insurance Company in developing the scheme.
In a letter written to the road secretary earlier, financial services secretary Rajiv Takru had expressed concern that the private sector company won the bid after it came forward to execute the project on zero administrative expense basis and spent R30 lakh voluntarily on running the scheme.
The DFS secretary has now informed the road ministry to carefully award projects to insurers in the pilot and evolve a fair and transparent process in the selection to prevent any criticism in appointing a particular service provider and also get a better deal. This has cleared the way for the new scheme to be tested.