Health Insurance Options for Employees with Special Needs: A Guide for Employers

Some have physical disabilities, while others have mental or cognitive disabilities. The degree of severity also matters; some may need only minor accommodations, while others may require significant support.

It can be difficult for individuals with special needs to find insurance that covers their needs and wants. This is especially true when it comes to health insurance, as many policies do not include coverage for long-term care or disability.

Since most frontline blue-collar jobs carry a higher risk of on-the-job accidents (typically manufacturing, agriculture, construction, maintenance, or mining), it is vital for employers to be aware of the different options when it comes to insurance for disabled, that can cover their employees in the event of a fatality or a financially crippling injury.

There are different types of disabilities. Some people have physical disabilities, while others have mental or cognitive disabilities. There are also different degrees of severity when it comes to disability. Some may need only minor accommodations, while others may require more significant support.

So, as an organisation, how do you know what insurance for disabled options are available, and which of the many makes the most sense for your business?

Here are a few important things to take into account when making a decision.

Two Basic Types of Disability Insurance

  1. Short-Term Disability Insurance
  2. Long-Term Disability Insurance

The short term disability insurance is a part of a group insurance plan designed to replace the income of people experiencing an unexpected absence due to work-related illnesses/injuries.

It typically offers benefits for up to 3-6 months. Short-term disability insurance typically comes in two forms, mandatory and voluntary coverage.

Mandatory coverage is the insurance that the employer is required to offer by law and is completely employer-sponsored. Under voluntary coverage, the employee may elect to sign up for the coverage and pay for it with pretax money.

When the disabilities are long-lasting, severe, and even permanent, long term disability insurance pays a portion of an employee’s income. The benefit period is generally much longer than that of short term disability insurance, often lasting until the employee reaches retirement age or can no longer work.

Critical illness insurance is a type of long-term disability insurance that pays a lump sum benefit if the policyholder is diagnosed with a covered disability or illness.

Other Insurance Options

The Government of India provides insurance for differently-abled individuals through schemes called the Nirmalya Health Insurance Scheme and Swavalamban Health Insurance Scheme.

These insurance programs intend to provide relief to those with disabilities.

Nirmalya Health Insurance Scheme

Under the Nirmalya Health Insurance Scheme, people suffering from mental disabilities, such as mental retardation, autism, cerebral palsy, and other disabilities that occur in the workplace, can get up to Rs.1 lakh as medical coverage for treatment, including both pre and post-hospitalization expenses.

Employers may enroll employees via The National Trust to avail the policy. For families with income below Rs.15,000, the premium to be paid is Rs.250. And for families with income above Rs.15,000, the premium to be paid is Rs.500.

Swavalamban Health Insurance Scheme

The Swavalamban Health Insurance Scheme provides health coverage to people suffering from mental disorders, retardation, loco-motor disability, hearing impairment, leprosy-cured, low vision, and blindness.

A different-abled employee has to pay a viable single premium of Rs. 3,100 per annum to get coverage of up to Rs.2 lakhs. To enrol under this insurance scheme, the employee’s family income should be lower than Rs.30,000.

There are many insurance options available for differently-abled people in India. Employers should be aware of these options and consider which makes the most sense for their business.

At Betterplace, we can help you integrate insurance for the disabled into your blue-collar workforce strategy so that you can ensure the safety and well-being of your employees.

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