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Federation seeks health insurance for all employees and pensioners

Special Correspondent
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Principal Secretary, Health, V.K. Subburaj (centre), releases books on health tips for the elderly authored by geriatrician V.S. Natarajan (right) at a function in Chennai on Friday. K.S. Jayavelu, president of the All India Federation of Pensioner's Associations, is in the picture. — Photo: V. Ganesan
Principal Secretary, Health, V.K. Subburaj (centre), releases books on health tips for the elderly authored by geriatrician V.S. Natarajan (right) at a function in Chennai on Friday. K.S. Jayavelu, president of the All India Federation of Pensioner's Associations, is in the picture. — Photo: V. Ganesan

The All India Federation of Pensioner's Associations has appealed to the Central and State governments to provide health insurance cover to all their employees and retirees.

At the association's two-day annual general body meeting that got under way here on Friday, its representatives said employees of the Post and Telegraph Department should also be made beneficiaries of Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS). The Centre should also provide more CGHS facilities in districts as pensioners were forced to seek treatment at nearby government hospitals in their absence, they added.

“All pensioners, whether they retired before 2006 or after, should be treated on a par and the financial benefits due to them should also be equal,” the association president K.S. Jayavelu said. He also appealed for increasing the pension for destitute elderly persons in the State to Rs.1,000.

Members of the association suggested that pension for those covered under Employment Provident Fund be “reasonably revised”.

Principal Secretary, Health, V.K. Subburaj, inaugurated the meeting and released two books – Healthy Nutrition for the Elderly and Elders' Health – authored by geriatrician V.S. Natarajan.

Mr. Subburaj said only half of those who work in the government sector retire with full retirement benefits. Others spend several years running from one department to the other to settle “audit objections”.

Sometimes retirees spend even up to 20 years in their efforts to get their full pensions, he said. Unless audit objections are sorted out, retirement benefits would be withheld, he added.

“Usually we are lenient with employees who are retiring. But sometimes action has to be taken based on audit objections. Government sector employees should know the rules and not delay taking decisions to avoid audit objections,” he suggested.

He urged the retirees to opt for health insurance scheme and annual check up to avoid high medical bills. Anyone with an annual income of less than Rs.72,000 was eligible for treatment under the State government's Kalaignar insurance scheme, Mr. Subburaj said.

“We have master health check up at government hospitals. Senior citizens have special schemes at the GHs and are given preferential treatment,” he added.

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