ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Time to Reform the Central Government Health Scheme

The Central Government Health Scheme provides health services to three million government employees, pensioners and their dependents with the second being the fastest growing segment. However, a scheme that started with a lot of promise has got bogged down with medical and administrative problems that need to be dealt with if it has to fulfil its aim of reducing medical expenditure costs and maintaining healthy lifestyles.

Started in 1954, the Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS) currently provides healthcare services to more than three million central government employees, pensioners and their dependents across 25 cities covered under it. The package of services is generous and covers inpatient and outpatient care, including preventive care and the ayurveda, yoga, naturopathy, unani, siddha and homoeopathy (AYUSH) system of medicine. There are no exclusions for pre-existing diseases or any cap or limit on the coverage (La Forgia and Nagpal 2012).

Regardless of the fast-growing expenditures of this health benefit package, there is widespread dissatisfaction among beneficiaries. A comprehensive reform is needed in the orientation, service delivery and quality management systems of the scheme.

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