With December 15 being set as the deadline for the Punjab Government Employee’s and Pensioners Health Insurance Scheme (PGEPHIS) form submission, a mad scramble among employees and pensioners is on at government offices, with offices inviting applications for enrollment under the recently proposed scheme.
The scheme calls for a ‘compulsory’ enrolment by all government employees and pensioners in the state, as stipulated by the guidelines.
While a number of officials and employees are already taking the scheme with a pinch of salt, seeing the poor implementation of the Rashtriya Swasth Bima Yojna, and huge pendency of salaries and DA arrears in various departments, the Punjab Health Systems Corporation, however, is claiming all the processes are underway to ensure that all government employees and pensioners in the state could avail Rs 3 lakh insurance (per annum) plus reimbursements, across the state from January 1, 2016.
The mammoth scheme shall make as many as 6 lakh government employees and pensioners in the state eligible to aforesaid health insurance schme plus reimbursements from January 1, the very scale of it is causing it to be labelled as a pre-poll sop, which might fizzle out.
However, observers also say if successful, it shall be a huge feather in the government’s cap before elections.A local government employee, who has already been enrolled with a private Punjab Government Employee’s and Pensioners Health Insurance Scheme (PGEPHIS) form submission., said, “DA arrears for the past long time are pending with the government.
The implementation of the Rashtriya Swasth Bima Yojna is also there for everyone to see. Plus previous medical reimbursements also have a long pendency with many still awaiting benefits.
Our department is scurrying with the filling of forms for the scheme because they have to be submitted by December 15 so that final enrolment takes place till December 31.
Only on the first of January will we come to know whether the government keeps its promise.”Another employee, a teacher, said,
“Our DA arrears and salaries are already pending. Spending Rs 3 lakh per government employee and pensioner from next year on is a huge investment. We surely hope the government is able to fish out that kind of money readily.”
Meanwhile, the release of a fake list of empanelled hospitals (under some private scheme), further confused some employees. Hussan Lal, the Managing Director of Punjab Heath Systems Corporation, said, “The government’s promise regarding the scheme is binding.
It shall be implemented on all government employees and pensioners by January 2016. The process of hospital empanelment is expected to be completed by December 15 to 18.
An advertisement regarding this will also be given out in tomorrow’s newspapers asking hospitals to apply for empanelment.
While across Punjab, Chandigarh, Panchkula, Mohali and the national capital region, we are hoping for the empanelment of at least 400 hospitals, the process regarding the same is expected to be complete by December 31 to ensure the scheme shall come into force by January 1.”
“While beneficiaries shall get Rs 3 lakh (per annum) cashless insurance, we have also kept a buffer of Rs 25 crore for the insurance company as per which it will give out additional reimbursements once the Rs 3 lakh sum ends for the beneficiaries.
Once this buffer amount is finished, then employees shall have to pay from their pockets. However, with the final deadline for enrolment being December 30, the scheme will be enforced from January 1, 2016,” he said.
The Managing Director also said unless someone missed out enrolling themselves due to an emergency or genuine reason, all employees and pensioners who don’t get enrolled until December 31, shall not get any medical reimbursements from January 1.