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Budget 2018: Budget 2018: Health insurance benefit for senior citizens raised to Rs 50,000

Feb 01, 2018

Providing relief to senior citizens, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today raised the Section 80D limit of the Income-tax Act relating to deduction in respect of health insurance premium to Rs 50,000 from the earlier 30,000.

The section provides medical insurance or preventive health check-up of a senior citizen, deduction of Rs 30000.

It is proposed to amend the said section so as to provide that the deduction of fifty thousand rupees in aggregate shall be allowed to senior citizens in respect of medical insurance or preventive health check-up or medical expenditure.

It is further proposed to provide that where an amount is paid in lump sum in the previous year to effect or to keep in force an insurance on the health of a person specified therein for more than a year, then, subject to the provisions of this section, there shall be allowed for each of the relevant previous years, a deduction equal to the appropriate fraction of the amount.

It is also proposed to define the expressions "appropriate fraction" and"relevant previous years". These amendments will take effect from 1st April, 2019 and will, accordingly, apply in relation to the assessment year 2019-2020 and subsequent years.

The Bill seeks to amend section 80DDB of the Income-tax Act relating to deduction in respect of medical treatment, etc.

As per provisions under the said section a deduction is available to an individual and Hindu undivided family with regard to amount paid for medical treatment of specified diseases in respect of very senior citizen upto Rs 80000 and in case of senior citizens Rs 60000 subject to other conditions.

It is proposed to amend the said section so as to increase the existing limit of deduction available to an individual and Hindu undivided family with regard to amount paid for medical treatment of specified diseases in respect of senior citizen shall be Rs 1 lakh.

This amendment will take effect from 1st April, 2019 and will, accordingly, apply in relation to the assessment year 2019-2020 and subsequent years.



Budget 2018: Govt to merge 3 insurance companies and launch IPO

Feb 01, 2018

Mumbai: Three public sector insurance companies—The Oriental Insurance Co. Ltd, National Insurance Co. Ltd, and United India Insurance Co. Ltd— will be merged into a single insurance company and listed on the bourses, finance minister Arun Jaitley announced in the Union Budget on Thursday.

The merging of the three state-run insurers will lead to the creation of a mammoth organization, and will be a key part of the government’s divestment target of Rs80,000 crore set for fiscal year 2018-19.

“It is a very positive move. It is the government’s resolve that CPSEs achieve scale, heft and strengthen their balance sheets,” said Ajay Bodke, chief executive and chief portfolio manager at brokerage Prabhudas Lilladher Pvt. Ltd.

“We have seen consolidation happening in oil and gas, and the banking sector. It is just a continuation of that trend in the insurance sector,” Bodke added.

The government has initiated strategic disinvestment in 24 public sector undertakings (PSUs), including flag carrier Air India.

In 2017, the government listed two state-owned insurers—New India Assurance Company Ltd and General Insurance Corporation of India—on 13 November and 25 October, respectively. These stocks are down 17.50% and 16.67% respectively from their offer price.

To be sure, analysts had flagged the stretched valuations of these initial public offerings, and the shares slid post listing.

The Indian equity market’s largest institutional investor, Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC), had bought 8.42% and 8.67% stake respectively in General Insurance Corp. and New India Assurance Co. during their IPOs.



Budget 2018: Jaitley announces world's largest health insurance program

Feb 01, 2018

New Delhi [India], Feb 1 (ANI): Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced two new measures under the government's Ayushman Bharat scheme, which are expected to take healthcare to greater heights.

The two measures are as below:

1. Rs 1,200 crores will be allocated towards setting up health and wellness centers in India, which will provide comprehensive healthcare, maternal and child care, free drugs and diagnostics to the poor. The government has also invited private sector contribution towards the same.

2. In a bid to increase the insurance cover for the poor, the government, under the flagship National Health Protection Scheme announced that a sum of upto Rs 5,00,000 will be provided to 10 crore poor families in India per year, which is expected to reach around 50 crore beneficiaries, and will be used for secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation.

Apart from the above, Jaitley announced that a sum of Rs 600 crore will be provided for nutritional support to tuberculosis patients at a rate of Rs 500 per month. Additionally, 24 new government medical colleges and hospitals will be set up by upgrading existing district hospitals, thereby moving towards achieving universal health coverage.

These measures, Jaitley believes, will be crucial to building an efficient, productive New India, and would create additional jobs, especially for women.

He further claimed that schemes such as Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana and Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana will now expand to cover the lower strata of the society. (ANI)



Non-life insurers join hands to fight fraud

Jan 25, 2018

To curtail the rising number of fraudulent claims in health and motor business, non-life insurance companies have come together to identify the hotbeds of frauds. The association of non-life insurers called General Insurance Council has hired United States headquartered data analytics firm LexisNexis Risk Solutions to identify the pockets and patterns of frauds. The fraud study will encompass the premium and claims data of individuals as well as take into account other stakeholders such as hospitals, laboratories, diagnostics, pharmacies and motor garages.

Insurers are about to complete submitting their last two years data of health and motor insurance policies as well as of claims. The first set of data comprises of over 75 million motor insurance policies and 8 million motor insurance claims while the health insurance data consists of more than 10 million health insurance policies.

R Chandrasekaran, secretary general of the General Insurance Council told FC, “Around 10-15 per cent of the claims settled in value terms for motor and health insurance are frauds. We wanted to address the various fraud risks. It may be hard fraud, which is done deliberately, or soft frauds such as exaggerating an insurance claim amount. While most hard frauds get rejected by insurers, some may get pass through.”

“We are using a two pronged strategy to combat frauds. We have created a portal called fraudriskmitigation (frmp.com) for all insurers. Each member insurance company has to enter their respective cases identified as fraud and suspected fraud cases into the portal. There are various categories of fraudsters mentioned in the database such as insured individuals, surveyors, agents, hospitals, laboratories and diagnostics and garages. So far there has been 15,000 fraud cases reported in a year. Sharing information helped insurers identify some fraudsters,” added Chandrasekaran.

“We have also selected LexisNexis for a fraud analytics study. It is a pilot project and they will try to identify any susceptible frauds based on 100 data elements. If they find a fraud they will probe it further. So far 10 insurance companies have submitted two years data. If we find something useful in it then will go in for a full-fledged fraud analytics project with all companies submitting their data,” added Chandrasekaran.

Shivakumar Shankar, MD, LexisNexis Risk Solutions, India told FC, “We look into patterns of frauds that target policy holder as well as provider (garages and healthcare provider) frauds. This will be both frauds in claims as well as underwriting. The study is in progress and it is early to talk of results but we expect some interesting findings.

Source: mydigitalfc.com



Despite awareness programmes public remains ignorant about CMCHIS

Jan 23, 2018

The Chief Minister’s Comprehensive Health Insurance scheme (CMCHIS) that provides free treatment to families whose annual income is less than Rs 72,000, has found more takers but the overall awareness remains low as per the recent process evaluation report of the scheme.

The overall claims (by both men and women beneficiaries) under the CMCHIS surged by 38.2 per cent in the last four years. However, overall awareness among the newly enrolled households regarding eligibility for the scheme is low, because 61 per cent of households had reported that they were not aware of the eligibility conditions.

The report said that government spent Rs 9 crore on awareness generation programmes, but the field report has a different tale to convey.

Out of the total 771 hospitals empanelled under the scheme, 616 are private hospitals, but only 12 per cent the eligible population is aware that they could get treatment under the scheme in both empanelled public and private hospitals. Awareness about post-hospitalisation benefits for selected procedures was as low as 7 per cent.

The state has around 56 per cent of the total state population covered under the scheme, where almost three-fourths were continuing from the earlier health insurance scheme sponsored by the Tamil Nadu government, 26 per cent were newly enrolled.

Only 34 per cent of the cardholders (both the newly enrolled in CMCHIS and the earlier ones continuing from the pre-CMCHI scheme) were aware of the eligibility criteria for family members who could be covered under the scheme.

While 60 per cent of the eligible people were unaware that only selected disease conditions were covered under the scheme, 70 per cent did not know that they could get treatment under the scheme in only empanelled public and private hospitals.

However, the total claims that have increased from 255,673 in 2012-13 to 353,525 in 2015-16, rate of increase in claims by males is greater than that by females.

As a result, the share of female beneficiaries to the total has fallen to 34.6 per cent. The share of government hospitals in the claims under this insurance scheme had increased from 35.7 per cent in 2012-13 to 41.9 per cent in 2015-16, with the rest going to private hospitals.

“Government spends Rs 750 crore annually towards the premium for insurance, which is nearly 9 per cent of the total health sector budget,” said Dr Umakant Dash, Head, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, IIT Madras.

Source: Deccan Chronicle



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