The government has issued guidelines making it mandatory for all employers who resume functioning post the COVID-19 lockdown to provide medical insurance to their employees. In addition, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has asked all general and standalone health insurers to offer comprehensive health insurance policies either to individuals or groups in order to enable workplaces/employers to comply with the government directives. The IRDAI also specified that this health insurance cover is not restricted only to the lockdown period and employers can take an insurance cover for a longer period such as a full year, like an annual policy renewed every year by the employer1.
In addition to this, medical insurance is also available to employees under the Employees’ State Insurance (ESI Act), 1948 to those organised sector employees whose monthly wage is Rs 21,000 or less. A person insured under the ESI Act is entitled to various benefits such as sickness benefit, maternity benefit (where applicable), disability benefit, medical benefit etc. The medical benefits include an insurance cover for out-patient treatment and attending physician in a hospital, dispensary, clinic, or in-patient treatment in a hospital or a doctor’s visit to the home of the insured. Both the employer and employee contribute to the Employee State Insurance Corporation (ESIC).
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