The government has decided to expand its medical insurance coverage for athletes by increasing the number of beneficiary athletes to include contract coaches and support staff from this year following the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Sports Authority of India (SAI) said on Thursday that the decision would increase coverage to more than 13,000 athletes, coaches and support staff.
Minister of Sports Kiren Ridge said the well-being of athletes, coaches and support staff is a priority for his ministry and the decision is in line with that goal.
“We want to ensure that all our athletes and contract staff have health insurance during these difficult times and even beyond,” he said.
“They are our national asset.”
All national campers, potential national campers, Khelo India athletes and young people trained at SAI Centers of Excellence across the country will receive insurance coverage of Rh 5 each.
Previously, the scope was limited to the length of the national camps, but has now been extended to the whole year, as the coronavirus continues to wreak havoc in the country.
“This is new because it is for all contract coaches and employees who have not been covered before,” an official source told PTI.
“The scope of the insurance scheme has now been expanded, given the safety and security of athletes and coaches, as COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc in the country.
“Previously, an athlete or coach was only covered during a national camp or national and international event, but this move will now provide coverage for the whole year, which means on and off the field,” the official added.
Health insurance also includes accident or death coverage of GEL 25.
“Through this initiative, we ensure that all athletes at the national level have insurance coverage not only during the national camps, but also throughout the year,” Ridjiju said.
“We have significantly increased the insurance coverage for Khelo India scientists and junior athletes to Rs 5 per athlete each year,” he added.
This policy will take effect regardless of the dates of the national camp and even if the camps were not in operation this year.
“This will ensure continuity in insurance and provide much-needed support to national-level athletes, coaches and support staff associated with national camps.”
The SAI requested that national sports federations (NSFs) identify athletes and support staff for inclusion in the insurance scheme.
The data on the persons covered by this insurance scheme will be stored in the National Sports Storage System in order to “create a transparent, easy-to-access process that can be monitored regularly”.