Pensioners burdened by medical claims

OF late there appears to be much difficulty for government pensioners in obtaining certain medicines prescribed by doctors in government hospitals.

Previously when certain medicines that were not available in the hospital pharmacy were prescribed to pensioners these (more expensive medicines) could be obtained from a list of private pharmacies authorised by a government body known as “Oratis” – by producing the government doctor’s prescription at the pharmacy. Oratis then pays the pharmacies that supplied the medicines. The system was simple and convenient.

Unfortunately this practice has been stopped.

Now pensioners prescribed the special medicines have to buy the medication first and then apply to the pensions department for reimbursement.

More often than not (more especially towards the end of the financial year – fourth quarter,) state government employees are asked by the pensions department to redirect their application for reimbursement to their former state department. Many of the state departments are also short of funds and are unable to process the application. Applications by federal government pensioners, however, are not rejected and processed by the pensions department – although it may take up to three months to receive the cheque.

State government pensioners are clearly at a disadvantage compared to their federal counterparts.

There should not be any discrimination between the treatment state and federal pensioners receive as both the state and federal departments contribute to the pension funds as deferred payments from the remuneration of their staff.

Could it be a violation of the Federal Constitution to discriminate between state and federal civil servants? Maybe lawyers can answer that.

Cash Strapped Pensioner
Kuala Lumpur

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