THE ESM CORNER

ANNUAL ECHS CARD RENEWAL : KEY INFORMATION

ECHS-ESM-CORNER

An ECHS card is a smart card that provides medical benefits to Indian Armed Forces personnel, their dependents and widows. It is issued by the Ex-Servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS), which is a scheme that aims to provide quality healthcare to ex-servicemen and their families. The ECHS card enables the beneficiaries to avail cashless treatment at ECHS polyclinics, empanelled hospitals and diagnostic centres across the country. The ECHS card also stores the medical history and records of the beneficiaries, which can be accessed by the doctors and specialists for better diagnosis and treatment.

The Annual Validation process for ECHS (Ex-Servicemen Contributory Health Scheme) membership, particularly for dependents, is undergoing a transformation from the traditional manual method to a more user-friendly IT-enabled system. The key objective is to streamline the submission of necessary documents, with a specific focus on primary beneficiaries submitting Life Certificates and Eligibility Documents on an annual basis.

The proposed system aims to collect an Annual Life Certificate for all beneficiaries and an Eligibility Certificate for dependents. Notably, the Life Certificate for primary beneficiaries earning a pension is expected to be linked with Project SPARSH for automated processing in the future. Until this automation is implemented, spouses and primary beneficiaries are exempted from the Annual Life Certificate requirement, unless unfortunate circumstances such as demise occur, in which case specific actions are outlined.

Primary beneficiaries play a central role in this process, guided by a warning system displayed during visits to polyclinics, logins to the ECHS website, or usage of the mobile app. Their responsibility includes uploading essential documents such as the Life Certificate for themselves and their spouses, as well as the Eligibility Certificate for dependents. The income verification process involves specific document requirements, including Form 26AS and ITR, or an Income Certificate for dependents without a PAN card.

The Officer in Charge (OIC) at the Parent Polyclinic has an important role in checking and approving the Eligibility and Life Certificate, looking carefully at the documents uploaded. Cards that are approved get a 12-month extension, while cards that are rejected get blocked. If a card is blocked because of some reason that cannot be avoided, a three-month extension may be given after making sure that the dependents are eligible.

The document highlights the importance of starting this process from August 1, 2022, to prevent a last-minute hurry, with a final date for sending documents set on October 31, 2022. The blocking of cards that are not eligible will start on November 1, 2022. Also, there is a chance for the revival of ECHS membership that was denied before based on income criteria if the income goes down for two years in a row.

FAQ ON ANNUAL ECHS CARD RENEWAL

Q. What is the purpose of the Annual Validation for ECHS membership, and why is it necessary?  

A. The Annual Validation ensures the continued eligibility of dependents for ECHS membership. It is necessary to verify the documents proving income and other criteria, allowing beneficiaries to access healthcare benefits through the scheme.   

Q. How has the process changed with the introduction of an IT-enabled system, and what are the key benefits?  

A.  The manual process has been replaced by an IT-enabled system, making it easier for beneficiaries to submit necessary documents. This change streamlines the submission process, making it more user-friendly and efficient.   

Q. What documents are required for the Annual Life Certificate and Eligibility Certificate, and how can beneficiaries submit them?  

 A.  Beneficiaries need to submit an Annual Life Certificate for themselves and their spouses. The Eligibility Certificate for dependents requires documents like Form 26AS, ITR, or an Income Certificate if a PAN card is unavailable. The submission is done online through various channels such as polyclinics, the ECHS website, and the mobile app.   

Q. How does the system warn beneficiaries about the upcoming Annual Validation, and what actions are prompted?  

 A.   Beneficiaries receive warning messages when visiting polyclinics, logging into the ECHS website, or using the mobile app. These messages prompt them to update supporting documents online, ensuring the timely submission of Life Certificate and Eligibility Documents.   

Q. What happens if a card is blocked or expired, and how can the validity be extended or revived?  

 A.  If a card is blocked, the OIC Parent Polyclinic can extend its validity by three months under specific circumstances. To revive ECHS membership based on income criteria, dependents can reapply if their income has decreased over consecutive two years, providing proof through Form 26AS or an Income Certificate from the State Govt. Revenue Dept.  

ECHS: HOW TO CHANGE YOUR YOUR PARENT POLYCLINIC ONLINE 

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