Montek moots mandatory health cover for employees

Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia has suggested making it mandatory for organised sector employers to provide health insurance cover for employees.

Employers not taking steps to enrol the employees in a group health insurance scheme should be denied tax deductibility on wage payment, he added, saying it would help spread the reach of insurance products.

Speaking at a Confederation of Indian Industry (CII)-organised health insurance meet in New Delhi on Thursday, Ahluwalia said, ''I think it is feasible. The government should give very serious consideration to making it mandatory for employers to get group insurance for their workers.

We will never be able to spread health insurance for which people pay unless an element of incentive-cum-compulsion is introduced. If you leave it to people, only rich persons would buy and even middle-class would not go for it,'' he added.

Ahluwalia suggested that one of the incentives could be exempting the part contribution of health insurance premium for workers by the employer from tax.

He said there was no point in creating public infrastructure that does not work properly and general public ends up bearing the entire expenditure of getting treated.