The pay panel has "strongly" recommended the introduction of health insurance scheme for central government employees and pensioners and has taken a grim view of the "tardiness" in implementing the plan, recommended earlier too.
Commission opined that health insurance for the government employees and pensioners remains the most optimal route for ensuring complete coverage for all employees, pensioners and their dependants in the long run.
Earlier pay commissions and other committees too have recommended a change in the open-ended healthcare system for central government employees, but there has been no movement on it. "The commission notes that although the committee of secretaries had given its 'in principle' approval way back in 2011, and an amount of Rs 2,061 crore had been earmarked under the 12th Five-Year Plan, the scheme has still not been implemented," it noted.
While reiterating that an insurance scheme should cover in-patient as well as OPD treatment, the Seventh Pay Commission has proposed that the Central Government Health Scheme be strengthened so that pensioners living in areas which do not have CGHS dispensaries get access to empanelled hospitals and receive treatment on a cashless basis.
The Commission recommends a combined network of various medical schemes such as CGHS, Ex-Servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS) and Railways Employees Liberalized Health Scheme (RELHS) etc. The Commission also recommended 33 postal dispensaries to be merged with CGHS. The Commission further recommends that all postal pensioners, irrespective of their participation in CGHS while in service, should be covered under CGHS after making requisite subscription.
For the benefit of pensioners residing outside the CGHS areas, the Commission recommends that CGHS should empanel those hospitals which are already empanelled under CS (MA)/ECHS for catering to the medical requirement of these pensioners on a cashless basis. This would involve strengthening of administrative capacity of nearest CGHS centres. However, this step will go a long way in ameliorating the pending grievances of these pensioners.