As Nidan’s micro-credit program strengthened, it received a severe setback in 1999 due to death of 3 members affecting adversely the families of these three members and also the Self Help Groups work. A serious introspection led to beginning of a new program on social security with three components.
- CHILDCARE AND MATERNAL PROTECTION
Nidan started its micro insurance program in 1999, and by December 2006 it had nearly 30,000 members were part of movement.
The membership to the program has grown, triggered by the association with the SEWA’s insurance programme in 2003 and by adopting a campaign approach to enrolling members in 2004.
Nidan works with LIC and VIMO SEWA, helping the poor to access a unified scheme with multiple benefits in single package. The premium varies from Rs 125 to 275 and the package covers disease, normal death, accidental death, accidental death of husband, loss of house and means of business, complete and partial disability. Nidan also assists stakeholders to access the Jeevan Madhur scheme of LIC.
The geographical distribution of the members is as follows –
Vaishali district, adjacent to Patna has the largest number of members. Currently most of the members (75%) of the program are women. Membership to the NIDAN insurance programme is open only to the members of NIDAN, and to their spouse.
Membership- sex ratio
Impact of Insurance program
The most obvious benefit of the scheme is it provides workers with concrete economic benefits, albeit, retrospectively, to help them to overcome period of crises. For the first time in their lives, poor obtained kind of social security services, namely, health, life and accident insurance and protection in crises. The process of capital formation at the individual level is long-drawn, particularly for workers in the informal sector, who usually lack capital and assets. Frequent sicknesses, accidents and other contingencies drag them into the process of de capitalization i.e. indebtedness, sale of assets etc. Nidan’s micro insurance program has helped poor workers to consolidate and augment their capital at individual level and tries to bring them out of the process of de-capitalization.
Growth of Insured Members
Child Care & Maternal Protection
As Convener of the Bihar Forces, a network for mothers of children in unorganized sector in the 0-6 age group, Nidan advocates Early Childhood Care and Development as a universal right. Our interventions are mainly in five thrust areas- birth registration, immunization, pre-primary education, maternity entitlement and nutrition.
Ten model crèches are running with community support. Nidan seeks solutions in Preventive Health promoting Awareness, Hygiene, Immunization, HIV/AIDS, Safe Water, Construction of Toilets and Behavioural Changes. Curative Linkage includes – Health insurance, Health Camps and Referral services.
HEALTH CARE: The focus of the program has been both preventive as well as curative. A six bedded charitable hospital has been functioning in Patna. Nidan has been also working on Total Sanitation Campaign in Vaishali district.
One of the interesting outcomes of the health insurance programme has been stronger links forged with local doctors as well as hospitals. As proper documentation and visits to clinics and hospitals were routine procedures for obtaining claims, rapport was established with local doctors and hospitals. Today, Nidan has identified local doctors who provide rational medical care at an affordable cost. Some doctors, having heard of Nidan’s insurance scheme provide a discount too.
Women typically place their own health and well being at a low priority. They spend for health care of their husband, children and other family members but found to be reluctant when it comes to their own health. One positive impact of Nidan’s health insurance scheme was that women who were sick and needed hospitalization received benefit of due hospitalization with the provision of reimbursement of medical costs, including hospitalization expenses.
Insurance as a concept is not an easy one for poor women to grasp. It took several educational inputs and exchanges, and rather intensive community contact to develop some understanding of insurance. The concept of risk-sharing and supporting each other in times of crises is new and often puzzling. ‘I had no crisis like floods this year. So will I get my money back?’ is a common question. Similarly, the packages offered, the exclusions involved and the finer points about claims submission procedures are at first, quite difficult to absorb. The members also have to learn to carefully preserve the various bills, certificates and case cards which are essential documentation for the process of obtaining claims. It takes time, patience, intensive extension work and training for members to fathom insurance as a concept and to accept it and Nidan still has a long way to go in this area.