The Group Mediclaim Health Insurance Scheme rolled out by government administration of J&K, which came into effect from October 1 makes it mandatory for employees to buy health insurance from Reliance General Health Insurance Company Limited. Reliance General Insurance Company Ltd was given the tender after winning the bidding process, leaving behind even the state-owned insurance group, LIC.
Health insurance to cover 4 lakh employees
“The policy has been tied with M/s Reliance General Health Insurance Company Ltd on annual premium of Rs 8,777 and Rs 22,229 (for employees and pensioners respectively),” said the order issued by the Jammu and Kashmir government. The order further added that it was mandatory for all state government employees(Gazetted and Non-Gazetted) including Universities, Commissions, Autonomous Bodies and PSUs. However, for pensioners, accredited journalists and others, this policy will be optional.
This health insurance will now cover 4,00,000 government employees.
Suspicion over the insurance contract
The invitation to the tender was first floated on June 1, 2018. However, unlike the usual practice of putting major government tenders online, the tender for health insurance was advertised only in a couple of newspapers by a private broker M/S Trinity Reinsurance Brokers Ltd, as reported by The Quint.
The Employees Joint Action Committee (EJAC) members have alleged that despite a meeting for implementation of Mediclaim policy in J&K between the state government and the representatives of ICICI where the annual premium was set at Rs 5300, the deal with Reliance Insurance was stuck, as reported by Daily Excelsior.
According to the order, all the employees will now be required to pay a premium of Rs 8,777 annually. The Employees Joint Action Committee (EJAC) has claimed that amount being uniform across the categories of the employees was “unfair, unjustified and unaccepted”, as reported by Daily Excelsior. This means that from a class IV employee to a civil servant, notwithstanding the salary received by them.
Moreover, reportedly the Rs 300 per month medical allowance for which the state employees were entitled to, has now been stopped. Shyam Prasad Kesar, the state treasurer of the J&K unit of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), told NewsClick, “State employees of J&K used to get a medical allowance of Rs 300 per month, which has been stopped. This used to give workers some relief in their smaller expenses on medicines and visits to doctors. In fact, employees had been demanding that the medical allowance is enhanced to Rs 1,000.”