NEW DELHI: Veterans will soon get new smart cards to avail healthcare benefits with the ex-servicemen department introducing new security features to ensure that the facility is not misused. The new cards, expected to be issued with two to four months, will have features like a chip that will store all information for the veteran and family members.
The card, the first of this kind to be issued for veterans, will be the one point access for them to avail of ex-servicemen contributory health scheme benefits. The roll out of cards to over 24 lakh veterans and their families will be a carried out over the next year.
Officials told ET that the card are being issued to prevent misuse – including cases in which hospitals raise fake or multiple bills to make a quick buck.
“Individual cards will be issued to the veteran and to each family member. Safeguard includes cards for dependents that will automatically expire once they reach the age on 21,” a defence ministry official said.
As reported by ET, large scale fraud within the veteran’s health care scheme has been alleged, with an internal report claiming fraudulent claims and attempts to process bills for beneficiaries declared dead.
Officials said that these concerns have been addressed and adequate safeguards put into place to ensure that no such malpractice occurs. “For example, we found that multiple claims were being made on an account even after the person was recorded dead. This was found to be an accounting error as family members were availing the facility after the veteran had passed away. The new cards will take care of such issues,” the official said.
Similarly, new safeguards will ensure that cases like the over 123 instances of duplicate bills submitted, claimed and paid by the ex servicemen contributory health scheme (ECHS) can no longer take place.
The ECHS is one of the government’s largest beneficiary schemes for veterans, with an annual budget of over Rs 2400 crore. Over 24 lakh veterans and their families are entitled to health care in a number of private hospitals across the country under the scheme.
Source: The Economic Times