The National Health Authority will dip into the pool for funds for treating victims; a mechanism for uninsured persons will be finalised by the task-force.
The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) will set up a ten-member task force to work out the modalities of funding motor accident victims' treatment during the crucial ‘Golden Hour'.
The decision was taken at a meeting chaired by officials from MoRTH, with officials from the National Health Authority (NHA) and general insurance companies in attendance.
The NHA will be the nodal agency for co-ordinating payments made to the hospitals that treat such patients.
Sources said that the immediate response mechanism for road accidents on national highways (which accounts for the maximum number of deaths every year) will be decided by the task force. Nodal officers for dealing with such incidents could also be appointed.
“For insured vehicles, a committee that will be in charge of collecting funds will be set up. The funds would be handed over the NHA for disbursement,” said a top insurance official with direct knowledge of the meeting.
The proposed task force will be assigned the responsibility of working out the modalities of claim settlement in such cases. Members of the insurance regulatory body, road ministry, insurance companies as well as NHA will be part of the task force.
It will also take a call on whether the amount spent during this treatment will be deducted from compensation awarded by the Motor Accidents Tribunal, should the accident victim file a third-party liability motor claim in future.
The golden hour is the first hour after an accident occurs. If proper treatment is given during the first 60 minutes, victims have a higher chance of survival.
In hit-and-run cases, the victims lie stranded on the roads for hours. Typically, motor third-party insurance pays for death or injury caused by a vehicle owner. But the claims settlement process is lengthy and dispute last for more than five years after the incident.
Union minister for road transport and highways minister had in January 2020 asked insurance companies to assist the government in rolling out a cashless scheme for treatment of such victims. However, insurance companies had sought a structured programme where they could contribute a part of the treatment cost based on pre-agreed terms.
It was earlier proposed that insured victims could be treated under PM Jan Arogya Yojana or their individual health insurance products. However, those uninsured would be treated through the Motor Vehicle Accident Fund which will be set up for hit-and-run cases.
Another senior insurance executive said that the task force will recommend a structure for financing the treatment of the road accident victims. This would look at the responsibility of each stakeholder, be it the victim, government and the insurance companies.
For victims belonging to below poverty line (BPL) families, the government has sought that PM Jan Arogya Yojana premiums be used for instant claims settlement for the victims.
According to the MoRTH’s annual report for road accident for 2018, road accidents in the country increased marginally by 0.46 percent during the year with 4,67,044 incidents. A total of 151,471 people were killed due to road accidents.
National Highways which comprise of 1.94 percent of the total road network, accounted for 30.2 per cent of total road accidents and 35.7 per cent of deaths in 2018.
Follow our coverage of the coronavirus crisis here