The NGO Forum on Ageing (NFOA) was established in 1999, the UN Year of the Older Person, and is registered with the Ministry of Social Services. As a founder member of the forum, I have endeavoured, without success so far, to interest private sector insurance companies supporting the health sector under their corporate social responsibility (CSR) programmes, to devise a Special Limited Health Scheme for Elders.
This is for those elders who have no insurance, no income, no pension to help them enjoy basic health to the end of their lives. These people have contributed to the community in their years before retirement.
What I propose is a scheme for indigent elders that provides a small sum of money monthly as insurance support for their daily medication, and a reasonably larger sum annually for them to enjoy medical services, including hospitalisation for a serious illness.
I wrote to seven such companies, and received a reply from only one, the Sri Lanka Insurance Association. The SLIA president informed me that the industry is looking into insurance-cum-pension relief solutions for the ageing population. I hope this solution will become a reality soon, for the sake of the elders.
As I wrote to companies that have had media publicity, I feel I should inform the media of my proposed scheme, which would cost these insurance companies peanuts if they pooled even a part of their resources in a combined effort to support a worthy cause.
Manel Abeysekera, NGO Forum on Ageing member