The health ministry has sought Tk750 crore from the upcoming budget for health compensation of doctors, nurses and technicians
The government is going to introduce separate health insurance for doctors, nurses and technicians engaged in the treatment of patients infected with the coronavirus.
If a doctor dies while treating Covid-19 patients, his/her family will get insurance benefits of Tk10 lakh in addition to cash compensation. For nurses and technicians, the insurance benefit is of Tk5 lakh. State-owned Jiban Bima Corporation will introduce the insurance.
On April 7 last, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina announced a special insurance as a reward for government officials and employees, including doctors, nurses and technicians, who are risking their lives to provide healthcare amid the coronavirus pandemic.
After that, the Jiban Bima Corporation took up an initiative of health insurance for doctors, nurses and technicians, but the finance ministry and the health ministry did not agree to it.
On April 23, the finance ministry issued a circular, stating that the frontline fighters infected with the coronavirus would be given cash compensation, in lieu of insurance benefits, ranging from Tk5-10 lakh.
It also stated that, in case of death from Covid-19, each family of the health fighters would get Tk25-50 lakh based on their grades.
For that purpose, the health ministry asked for an allocation of Tk750 crore in the upcoming budget for 2020-21. It also sought Tk100 crore from the government for the same reason in the current financial year.
But apart from the initiative of cash compensation, the government has finalised the introduction of health insurance for doctors, nurses and technicians, said Shibli Rubayat Ul Islam, chairman of the Jiban Bima Corporation.
He also said the Jiban Bima Corporation was working on the insurance announced by the prime minister. Later, the government decided to provide cash compensation instead of insurance benefits to frontline fighters.
"We, the Jiban Bima Corporation, have finalised everything on our own to give insurance coverage to doctors, nurses and technicians of government hospitals who are involved only in treating coronavirus patients. The board meeting has also approved it."
According to Shibli, the Jiban Bima Corporation will share a portion of the insurance premium from its corporate social responsibility fund. The rest will be borne by the government or the health workers themselves.
The insurance will be introduced before June, he said, adding that any doctor or health worker who dies of coronavirus before then, however, would not get the benefit.
On May 4, the Jiban Bima Corporation sent a letter to the finance ministry, informing it about the approval of the launching of insurance in its board meeting. The ministry will approve it soon.
The corporation officials said they received offers including rates and terms from AXA France Vie, a France-based company, after contacting various international reinsurers, including those of Europe, to introduce health insurance policies for doctors and health workers.
The Jiban Bima Corporation has proposed some amendments to them. The French company will give its final opinion on this very soon.
The officials also said a list of doctors, nurses and technicians employed in government hospitals to treat Covid-19 patients would be taken from the health ministry. Doctors and health workers would have to register for the facility.
The French reinsurance company proposed Tk5 lakh for doctors and Tk3 lakh for health workers, including nurses, in case of their deaths.
The annual premium rate of the one-year-term policy was said to be 0.78 percent while the maximum age for availing insurance benefits was proposed at 60 years.
The French company mentioned several conditions for the insurance facility. Those include submission of National Identity Card (NID), digital fingerprint, date of birth, PCR test matched with digital fingerprint, date of hospitalisation and submission of death certificate.
But the Jiban Bima Corporation amended the proposal, saying that the insurance benefit for doctors would be Tk10 lakh and for health workers Tk5 lakh while the age limit would be 70 years.
Instead of the digital fingerprint, a copy of the NID or passport will have to be submitted. Hospitalisation papers will not be applicable in case of death while undergoing treatment at home.