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Dr Azad Moopen presents his proposal for a health insurance scheme for low-income NRIs to Dr Mansukh Mandaviya. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Dr Azad Moopen, founder chairman and managing director of Aster DM Healthcare, and Alisha Moopen, deputy managing director, Aster DM Healthcare, met Dr Mansukh Mandaviya, Indian Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Chemicals and Fertilisers, to discuss various measures to strengthen India’s health-care sector.

Attending the India Global Forum 2022 in UAE, the Indian federal minister joined the meeting with Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Sunjay Sudhir, the Ambassador of India to UAE, and Dr Aman Puri, Consul-General of India in Dubai, business leaders and other delegates from UAE.

Dr Moopen, who is also the director of Norka (Non-Resident Keralite’s Affairs), discussed the plight of low-income Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) regarding major illnesses after their retirement and return to India. For this, he presented a letter of consideration to the health minister with a request to consider two schemes, namely Inclusion of NRIs in Ayushman Bharat (PM-JAY) and Participatory Insurance for NRI Returnees.

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Dr Mansukh Mandaviya with Dr Aman Puri and Dr Azad Moopen in Dubai. Image Credit: Supplied

Largest density of low-income NRI population

Speaking on the proposed scheme, Dr Moopen said: “India has over 18 million people living outside with UAE, US and Saudi Arabia hosting the largest number of migrants. Among these, there are a large number of blue-collar workers who have only meagre savings when they return to India after retirement. This is especially true for the large number of manual workers in GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council] countries that has the largest density of low-income NRI population.

"Major illnesses like heart attack, stroke, cancer mostly strike after the age of 60, requiring huge spends for treatment. Unfortunately, majority of them are not eligible for coverage under insurance schemes like Ayushman Bharat (PM-JAY) because of their foreign employment history.”

Low monthly premium

The proposed scheme to include low-income NRIs under Ayushman Bharat (PM-JAY) would ensure life-long coverage for each individual along with their spouses.

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The scheme for participatory insurance for NRI returnees proposes an option for NRIs to remit the premium on a monthly or annual basis while they are working abroad. In general, NRIs start working abroad by the age of 25 to 30 years and return to India upon retirement by 60 years of age. They could remit the premiums for a period of 20 to 30 years in small instilments.

In this way, significant amount will accumulate while they are outside the country, which can be utilised to provide coverage for the NRIs and their spouses for the rest of their lifetime.