Special Correspondent

CHENNAI: A health insurance scheme for persons with autism, cerebral palsy, mental retardation and multiple disabilities was launched at the Spastics Society of Tamil Nadu here on Tuesday.

‘Niramaya’ aims at providing affordable health insurance and improving the general health condition and quality of life of persons with disability. The scheme will be implemented and monitored by the National Trust through a third party nodal agency with the active participation of local-level committees.

Inaugurating the scheme, Social Welfare Minister Geetha Jeevan said as an experimental measure, the scheme was introduced in Erode district and now extended to all districts. It would be a boon to persons with disability, she said, and appealed to parents of disabled children to make use of the scheme.

N. Raveendran, Managing Director, ALEgION Insurance Broking, the implementing agency, said enrolment had started. So far 2,500 affected persons were covered. “We want to cover the entire population of affected people in the State.” Over 300 hospitals had been identified in the State so far and more would be included in future.

The premium had been fixed at Rs.250 per annum. For those whose parents’ monthly income was less than Rs.15,000, the government itself would pay the premium. Enrolment procedure was simple and insured person could take treatment in one of the identified hospitals. This was the first time that health insurance was introduced for disabled persons as they were considered high risk group, Mr. Raveendran said.

N.S. Palaniappan, Secretary, Social Welfare Department, said the State government had initiated many welfare schemes for the disabled children.

Annie Shyam, Director of the Society, spoke.