A meeting of the Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, decided to extend the insurance cover to the beedi workers spread across the country, with the government spending an estimated Rs 311.25 crore on it. Any claim beyond this amount would be reimbursed directly by the Welfare Commissioner to the concerned hospital through existing procedures. About 55 lakh beediworkers will soon get medical insurance benefits under the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana by 2013-14 under a proposal approved by the Union Cabinet. An estimated 55 lakh (5.5 million) beedi workers are spread across several states, primarily West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand. So far 49.80 lakh beedi workers have been provided with identity cards. Under the scheme, the worker and his family of five would benefit with a medical insurance cover of Rs 30,000. Smart cards would be issued for availing benefits under the scheme, he said, adding that all beedi workers would be brought under the net of the RSBY to get cashless benefits in any of the ESI or empanelled hospital throughout the country. The annual premium is estimated to be Rs 750 per annum, of which 75 per cent would be the share of the Centre and the remaining of the states.