Govt yet to take final call on fate of Health Insurance Scheme

Employees in confusion over no clarity on status

Nishikant Khajuria
JAMMU, Nov 27: Even after more than a month since the announcement made by none but head of the State Governor Satya Pal Malik for termination of controversial Group Mediclaim Health Insurance Scheme for the Government employees, no formal decision has yet been taken by the State Government for closure or continuation of the same.
Official sources told the Excelsior that a formal proposal submitted by the Finance Department for termination of contract with the Insurance company was still awaiting approval of the Law Department thus pending decision on fate of the scheme.
In absence of clarity on status of the Health Insurance scheme, the intended subscribers of the scheme, who include Government and PSU employees, pensioners and Accredited Journalists, are in confusion.
While maximum of the State Government employees, whose quarterly premium of the scheme was deducted from their salary for the month of September, are still unaware of status of their Health Insurance, a few others have even availed benefit of this cashless scheme.
The state of confusion can be gauged from the fact that in some Government departments, Medical allowance is being deducted from salary of the employees since October month as mandated for subscribers of the Health Insurance, whereas the same is not being done in other departments owing to no formal order from the concerned authorities on status of the scheme, sources said.
Pertinent to mention that during currency of the policy, Medical Allowance in favor of all enrolled employees is to be discontinued, drawn and credited to the M.H.8235 on monthly basis.
In the University of Jammu, for which the scheme is mandatory, the Insurance premium was deducted from the employees’ salary for the month of September but the same has not yet been deposited to the prescribed Government head because of confusion over the Medical Insurance scheme, sources added.
Similarly the pensioners and Accredited Journalists, who are also entitled for the scheme under optional category, have been left despite their applications for the subscription. Even as some of the pensioners have got their Insurance premium deposited with the Government head, they have not been enrolled for the Medical Insurance and this was already highlighted by the Excelsior last month before the Governor’s announcement for termination of the policy.
It may be recalled that on September 20, the Governor’s Administration had formally rolled out the Group Mediclaim Health Insurance Scheme for employees, pensioners and Accredited Journalists in the State from the month of October, 2018. The policy has been tied up with M/s Reliance General Insurance Company Ltd. The Policy provides health insurance coverage up to Rs 6 Iakh per employee/pensioner per annum along with his/her five dependent family members on floater basis. Annual premium for the insurance cover was to be deducted in four quarterly installments.
However, a month after rolling out the scheme, Governor announced the contract as cancelled and an inquiry into alleged irregularities in allotment of tender to the Reliance Insurance.
While as a formal order for investigation by the State Anti-Corruption Bureau into alleged irregularities was issued after a few days of the announcement by the Governor, sources said that a written note by the Finance Department for closure of the policy was formally submitted on November 5 to the Department of Law for its concurrence.
However, sources added, there has been no further reply from the Law Department for closure or continuation of the scheme with the result that Government is not in a position to clarify further status of the Health Insurance.
When contacted, Principal Secretary Finance, Naveen Choudhary said that all those employees, who have deposited first installment of the quarterly premium, are entitled for benefits of the scheme till December 31, 2018.
He further informed that cashless Medical Insurance worth several lakhs of rupees has been even availed by some employees, enrolled under the scheme. “Till December 31, 2018, all the enrolled employees, who have deposited their quarterly premium, are entitled for the benefit and there is no confusion on the same,” he reiterated and added that final call on fate of the scheme after December 31, 2018 was yet to be taken by the State Government.


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