Health cover plan for Bahrain Indian expats
Manama, June 28, 2014
By Sandeep Singh Grewal
Diplomats are in talks to introduce an affordable health insurance policy to cover the estimated 300,000-plus Indian expatriates living in Bahrain, said a report.
Indian Ambassador Dr Mohan Kumar revealed yesterday that he had met officials from the Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) of India to work on a policy which could see expatriates from his country pay as little as BD1 ($2.56) per month to be covered, reported the Gulf Daily News, our sister publication.
"This is a systematic issue for us, as most of the Indian expats in Bahrain do not have life insurance," said Dr Kumar at an open house event at the embassy in Adliya.
He said insurance cover would help workers who had left their families behind in India to work in the Gulf.
"Sometimes they are the only breadwinners in the family and if they have enrolled for insurance schemes it will help their families in the end," he said.
"I have met officials from LIC Bahrain to work out a scheme where a worker pays BD12 premium for a year."
Dr Kumar said the Indian government already offers a scheme known as Pravasi Bharatiya Bima Yojana, which is compulsory for overseas Indian workers who need emigration "clearance" on their passports.
According to the Indian Emigration Act 1983, passport holders who have not completed high school need to obtain clearance before emigrating to 17 countries, including Bahrain.
"We intend to create awareness on the importance of insurance coverage during the free medical camps that attract hundreds of people," Dr Kumar added.
The open house yesterday discussed the case of a doctor who had been working with a well-known private hospital and had not received her salary.
Dr Kumar instructed embassy officials to look into the case, saying he was aware of complaints from other Indian doctors working in the hospital who had not received their salaries for several months.
The diplomat further urged Indian workers in Bahrain or those planning to work in the country not to sign on blank papers, which makes them open to exploitation.
"No one should sign any blank papers," he said.
The warning came as more cases surfaced yesterday of workers signing blank documents.
"We need to create more awareness among our nationals in Bahrain not to sign these blank papers - and if they are forced to do so, they should contact the embassy," Dr Kumar added.-TradeArabia News Service