Insurance penetration remains one of the lowest among its peers in the East African region
Kampala, Uganda | ISAAC KHISA | Insurance firm, GA insurance, has unveiled a new medical cover for senior citizens up to 80 years.
Its Managing Director, Francis Kamau said, the health policy dubbed Graysure will help ease pressure for persons attaining 50 years or on retirement and remains renewable up to the age of 80.
“This is an inpatient medical insurance product that covers the principal member and eligible dependents,” he said, adding that the outpatient benefits option is arranged on a self-funded insurance scheme.
The new product covers pre-existing medical conditions, nursing care, intensive care, diagnostic, laboratory or other required medical services including evacuation and referral for overseas treatment.
Other expenses covered includes doctor’s bills, anesthetists’ bills, operating theatre fees and pharmacy. The policy also offers last expense should the principal member die.
Kamau said, the retired senior citizens’ premiums can be paid annually while the pensioners have the benefit of their premium paid from the retirement benefits, with the premium computed on the basis of the member’s age and the limit of cover preferred.
Majority of Ugandans who enjoy medical insurance during their work life usually retire with no back up once their employment come to an end.
However, those willing to purchase insurance tends to do so at a very high cost as insurance firms factor in pre-existing conditions, impose many restrictions and charge high prices commonly known as premiums.
This leaves the elderly population to rely solely on their families for medical care in the event that they fall ill.
“GA is keen to provide medical insurance to every demographic segment of the society. Having identified a gap in the needs of the senior citizens it has designed a niche product. Subsequent to research and development the insurer is launching a senior citizens medical insurance product,” Kamau added.
This new product comes at the time the proportion of older persons (60 years and above) stands at 11% and it’s anticipated to double by 2050 worldwide, according to the United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs. In sub-Saharan Africa, older persons comprise 5% of the population based on the United Nations Population Fund data.
In Uganda, the current population of older persons is estimated at 1.6 million (5% of the population) and it is expected to increase to 5.5 million by 2050, according to Uganda Bureau of Statistics.
Dominic Gidudu Mafabi, State minister for Gender, Labour and Social Development-Elderly Affairs said the new product will eliminate segregation of the elderly in accessing medical services.
He said the products is well thought, keenly designed and will be a useful tool in the financial planning a head of one’s retirement.
“GA has made a prudent decision because most of the savings will be in the hands of the senior citizens and definitely will be able to afford all these products,” he said.
The decision could also a lead to a raise in insurance penetration which currently stands at 0.77% – one of the lowest in the East African region.
GA Insurance, with operations in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, had a consolidated gross written premium of US$75million in 2020 representing a 20% growth compared with the previous year.
The insurer recorded a US$9.1m Profit Before Tax (PBT) and a balance sheet with assets in excess of US$280m.
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