Rs 400 crore health bonanza for 14 lakh government employees

Around 14 lakh employees in the state have got a Diwali gift from the state government in the form of “cashless health card” scheme, estimated to cost `400 crore annually. The scheme covers employees of the state government and government undertakings, teachers, pensioners etc, along with their family members.

Announcing the health plan on Sunday, chief minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy asked the officials to launch the scheme immediately. The first of its kind in the country, it helps total around 70 lakh persons.

About 1,885 medical procedures will be covered under the scheme in both private and government hospitals all over the state. A sum of `400 crore will be spent on this scheme per year.

The chief minister said the Employees Health Scheme (EHS) Card will facilitate hassle-free treatment. The scheme will be reviewed after six months if necessary to resolve any issues and also to add any additional treatments, he said.

State government employees, all employees of local bodies, pensioners, including re-employed pensioners, family pensioners and their dependent family members will be benefited by the scheme.

According to government sources, 60 percent of the treatment cost will be borne by the state government and 40 percent through employee/pensioner contribution. Monthly contribution from the employee/pensioner will be `90 for slabs A and B and `120 per month for slab C, depending on the scale of pay.

The Aarogyasri Healthcare Trust will implement the scheme. A steering committee headed by the chief secretary will monitor the scheme from time to time.

The chief minister reviewed the proposed scheme at his camp office on Friday night. Finance minister Anam Ramanarayana Reddy, health minister Kondru Murali, chief secretary PK Mohanty and senior officials attended.

Though employees unions demanded that a separate trust be set up to implement the health scheme, without involving Arogyasri, the government decided to implement the scheme through Arogyasri Trust. The employees also offered to contribute 50 percent towards the expenditure, as they too would have equal rights in the trust. But, the government wanted to contribute 60 percent and decided to take only 40 percent share from the employees.