Health issues are always a matter of distress for all. It is of more concern or anxiety for everybody whether poor or rich, when there is hospitalization due to illness. The poor are more vulnerable in this case. They find it hard to meet the expenses of hospitalization and treatments. Social Action Forum Irinjalakuda (SAFI) which always aims at the wellness and the integral development of individuals and families, in collaboration with various insurance companies and hospitals has been implementing various insurance schemes since 1999 to support people in their time of distress due to diseases.
1. Medi-claim Insurance
SAFI in association with the United India Insurance co. Ltd. Thripunithura,New India Assurance Co. Ltd, Kochi, and Regional Cancer Centre Thiruvananthapuram has introduced various insurance schemes. Universal Health Insurance, Family Medicare policy, Uni Santhwana Insurance and Rural Women Package, Mahila Surksha Insurance and Cancer Care for Life are the important insurance schemes implemented by SAFI in different parts s of the diocese through the parish social action units. Even though the duration of these insurance schemes is for one year, it can be renewed every year by paying the premium applicable to that year. These insurance schemes which are of very low premium, but reasonably with good benefits are of comfort to the common people. With the support of the insurance companies, the social action parish units and the common people, these schemes have been a great success.
2. Jeevan Madhur Micro Insurance Scheme
Micro or community based insurance is a “mechanism that allows pooling of resources to cover the costs of unpredictable events in the lives people who are economically backward. What distinguishes these ‘micro’ schemes from public or private-for-profit insurance is that the targeted community has the right to define the contribution level, collecting mechanisms, the content of the benefit package and to allocate the scheme’s financial resources.
The national policy of “Insurance for all” has been accepted by SAFI as an area of its intervention. Since 2008, Social Action Forum has been implementing this micro-insurance scheme in collaboration with Life Insurance Corporation of India. Gramasree Self Help Groups and parish-based social action units are actively involved in implementing this scheme. This is scheme is implemented in different parish units of SAFI. Over 2000 individuals within the age group of 18-60 from a lower income group have been covered under this scheme. The policy covers cases of natural death, accidental death, permanent disabilities caused by accidents etc. In case of no claim during the period of policy, the sum assured is refunded on maturity of the policy along with bonus accrued thereon.
3. Federal Ashwas Financial Literacy Centre
Financial Literacy Centre is an off-shoot of the directives of the Reserve Bank of India to banks, as part of the financial inclusion initiative. The main objective of the Centre is to facilitate financial inclusion through provision of literacy and easy access; imparting knowledge to general public especially rural and lower level about financial planning, inculcate saving habits and credit awareness about financial products whereby more and more people from weaker sections of the Society are brought to banking services, utilization, awareness of PMJDY, Direct Benefit Transfer, Rupay ATM Card, Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana, etc. and achieve meaningful financial inclusion. In Irinjalakuda, Federal Ashwas Financial Literacy Centre, sponsored by Federal Bank Limited, has been functioning since 2012 with the active support and co-operation of Social Action Forum. Financial literacy classes are organized in different schools, kudumbashree groups, Self Help Groups, Joint Libility Groups of SAFI etc. to give awareness on the proper financial management tools, family budgeting, savings, proper investments, etc. Many people got benefitted by this outreach programs. In addition to the above, this centre provides financial counseling services through face to face interaction and over the phone.