Senior Citizen Government Benefits in India
The number of senior citizens living in India is about 104 million (over 10 crore), as per the recent 2011 Population Census of 2011, according to the 2016 report by Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation. This number is likely to grow in the coming years.
Life changes after retirement. Lack of steady income source can create difficulties; which is why prior planning and investment is essential in order to stay financially independent. As a person grows older, there arises worry about age-related ailments. In India, medical inflation has become a cause of stress for many families as they end up spending a lot on medical treatment. The need for senior citizen health insurance plan cannot be overlooked. Such plans are designed with unique features, keeping in mind the needs of senior citizens.
Having a health cover is a must for everyone. There are a plethora of options available nowadays. However, one should choose a health plan which rightly fulfils the healthcare requirements of an individual or family. Standalone health insurance companies like Care Health Insurance (Formerly Religare Health Insurance) offer customised senior citizen plans that come with various benefits like in-patient care, cover for pre and post hospitalisation medical expenses, annual health check-ups, alternative treatment cover, etc.
Government Schemes with Senior Citizen Benefits
To enable the elderly people lead a stress-free life, the Indian government offers several senior citizen benefits in India. Rebate on income tax, discounts in train fare and airfare, and higher deductions on health insurance premiums under Section 80D of I-T Act; these are some benefits that senior citizens can avail in India.
In addition, there are various schemes, as mentioned below, that help senior citizens in many ways.
- Varishta Mediclaim Policy: The government has also taken effort to ensure senior citizens have the support of good health cover in today’s times of medical inflation. The Varishta Mediclaim Policy is available to senior citizens aged between 60 and 80 years. It offers sum insured options of Rs 1 Lakh and Rs 2 Lakh for treatment of critical illness and hospitalisation costs. This policy also provides tax benefits under Section 80D of the Income Tax Act.
- Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY): The Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY) was launched in 2018 under the Ayushman Bharat flagship scheme. One of the largest health assurance schemes by the government, it offers health cover of amount Rs 5 lakhs per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalization to several poor families in India.
- Senior Citizen Savings Scheme (SCSS): One of the senior citizen government benefits in India, this scheme proves helpful for senior citizens looking to boost their savings. Any person above 60 years of age can open an account under SCSS, starting with a minimum deposit of Rs 1,000 and maximum up to Rs 15 Lakhs. One is eligible for claim tax deductions up to Rs 1.5 Lakh under Section 80C for investments made in this scheme. However, the interest amount is taxable.
- Pension Schemes: Schemes such as the Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana (PMVVY) by the Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) of India aim at providing social security to the elderly. The Varishta Pension Bima Yojana is another pension scheme provided by the Ministry of Finance and managed by LIC.
- Healthcare Services: The National Programme for the Health Care for the Elderly (NPHCE), introduced by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare in 2010, aims at offering easily accessible, preventive, promotional, curative and rehabilitative health services for the elderly. Moreover, the government is offering medical facilities for senior citizens under the Ministry of AYUSH.
The Need for Standalone Senior Citizen Health Insurance Policy
Although, these government schemes prove beneficial when it comes to the much-needed financial support, one should realise that the best way to tackle the impact of medical inflation is by opting for a separate health cover that offers high sum insured. For the general population, there is a greater need for a health cover that can take care of hospitalisation and other expenses which often range in lakhs of rupees.
- Private hospitals in India have an edge over the government-run hospitals when it comes to providing advanced medical care. However, the exorbitant cost of healthcare drives people to depend on their hard-earned savings. Dealing with medical emergencies can result in financial hardships without the support of health insurance. Thus, opting for a senior citizen health policy with a good sum insured is a decision you would never regret.
Health Insurance Minimises the Burden of Medical Expenses
A health policy for senior citizens covers a range of medical expenses that an individual may incur in a year. It comes with various benefits and features such as:
- Cover for in-patient care, day care treatment, domiciliary hospitalization, pre-and-post hospitalization medical expenses and ambulance costs
- Cashless treatment facility at any network hospital
- Defined coverage for alternative treatment
- Annual health check-ups offered on cashless basis
- Tax deduction of up to Rs 50,000 under Section 80D of I-T Act
Summing it up
It is a proven fact that health-related risks increase as an individual grows older. Thus, salaried individuals should focus on prior planning for a comfortable retirement by investing in various savings schemes. At the same time, they should consider buying senior citizen health insurance policy once they reach the age of 60 so that they can lead a life without worries.
Give your elderly parents the gift of a financially secured future by opting for a health cover. ‘Care Senior’ by Care Health Insurance (Formerly Religare Health Insurance) is a health policy for senior citizens with numerous benefits including in-patient hospitalisation cover, alternative treatment cover and annual health check-ups.