Road accident victims may get free cashless treatment

The Ministry of Road Transport has finalized a proposal to provide free cashless treatment to all victims of road crashes. Under this scheme, road crash victims will receive medical care at Ayushman Bharat-empanelled hospitals across the country. The upper limit for the treatment will be Rs 1.5 lakh, covering up to 10 days of hospitalization. The cost of the treatment will be borne by insurance companies.

This initiative aims to ensure timely medical assistance to road crash victims within the first 60 minutes, also known as the ‘golden hour’. Studies have shown that providing prompt medical care within this critical hour can prevent around 50 per cent of road deaths. In 2022, India reported a record high of 1.68 lakh road fatalities.

The proposal for this scheme underwent inter-ministerial consultation and was included in the amended Central Motor Vehicle Act of 2019. A government official stated that the scheme will be implemented soon, with no financial burden on the public exchequer. Insurance companies will cover the expenses, which will be a fraction of the third-party insurance premiums they collect. By reducing fatalities through prompt medical care, insurance firms will also benefit from a significant reduction in compensation payouts.

According to assessments conducted by the Ministry, the average medical expenses for around 97% of road crash cases amount to approximately Rs 60,000. Only a small number of victims require extended hospitalization and intensive care.

During an event organized by the International Road Federation, Union Transport Secretary Anurag Jain announced that the cashless scheme will be integrated into the final scheme, which will be launched by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in the near future.

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William Murphy

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