Gaping holes in the safety net

Between August 2014, when Suresh* was diagnosed with leukaemia, and now his family has spent over Rs. 10 lakh. Their home and land were sold for less than it was worth, says Pushpa*, Suresh’s mother. Now, while mother, son and daughter live in a room behind a private hospital in Chennai for Rs. 700 a day, the father lives alone in their village, selling cloth.
People with disabilities, especially intellectual and psychosocial disabilities, also generally fall through the gaps of mainstream insurance coverage, says disability rights activist Vaishnavi Jayakumar. Many companies do not offer health insurance to those over 75, and people who have diabetes or who have had cancer would find it difficult to get insurance without an endorsement, says Mr. Jegannathan. “Insurance cover, once granted, lasts for a lifetime.

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