Ex-Servicemen Contributory Health Scheme
The Ex-Servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS) was approved by the Government on 30 Dec 2002 and was launched on 01 April 2003. The Scheme aims to provide comprehensive medical care to all ESM in receipt of pension and their dependents through a network of polyclinics/ Service medical facilities/civil empanelled/ Govt hospitals spread across the country. The Central Organisation ECHS is located at Delhi Cantt and it has 28 Regional Centres across the country. In addition, for local administration, SOs at Command HQ, Area/ Sub Area HQ and ECHS Cells at Stn HQ have been established. An ECHS handbook, issued by DGMS (Navy) dated 06 Dec 2023, may be accessed here.
- ESM drawing a pension.
- Spouse of pensioner ESM.
- Dependent Unemployed & unmarried/ Divorced/ Widowed Daughter.
- Dependent Unemployed till 25 yrs age or unmarried Son.
- Handicapped child.
- Dependent Parents.
- Dependent Sister- unmarried/ divorced/ widowed.
- Dependent Brother up to age of becoming a major or handicapped.
- Minor Children of widowed/ Separated daughter
Eligibility for ECHS Membership
The scheme is compulsory for all retiring pensioners wef 01 Apr 2003. Old retirees may opt for the scheme as per the current contribution rates. Pensioners pre-01 Jan 1996 retirees, are exempted from the ECHS Contribution. Those drawing Fixed Medical Allowance will have to stop it before applying. War widows and war disabled veterans are exempted from paying the one time contribution.
ECHS Smart Card
All members of ECHS and their dependents are issued a 64 KB ‘Smart Card’ (sample) called “ECHS membership card” with inbuilt security features (16 and 32 KB cards are no longer valid). The Smart Card contains a 64 Kb chip that has the details of the veteran and his / her dependents including their medical history. Production of this card is a mandatory requirement when availing treatment either at the ECHS Polyclinic or at Empanelled Hospital/Nursing Homes and Diagnostic centres. A person NOT producing his card for identification cannot be provided treatment. After retirement, it may take a few months for the smart card to be issued. During this period, the Temporary Slip (sample) with all the particulars of the veteran, spouse, and dependents can be used for treatment. Once ready for collection, the RC ECHS will send an SMS to the registered mobile number of the veteran. The veteran can then collect the ECHS cards of him/herself, spouse and dependents from RC ECHS, Ghorpadi (near HQ Pune Sub Area / National War Memorial) and activate them at the nearest ECHS Polyclinic. The process for applying for
ECHS Polyclinics and Referrals to Service / Empanelled Hospitals
An ECHS beneficiary (ESM or his / her dependents or a spouse) who has enrolled into the ECHS scheme, can go to the nearest ECHS Polyclinic carrying his/her ECHS membership card. There are three ECHS Polyclinics in Pune – located next to the new Command Hospital, at MH Kirkee and near the Air Force Station, Lohegaon respectively. ESM dependencies of these three Polyclinics may be seen here. The doctors in the polyclinic will provide the required initial treatment and medicines, if within their capability. Should the ailment require a further referral or advanced treatment in a hospital, the patient will be referred to the nearest Service hospital/ Empanelled Hospital. At the Empanelled Hospital / Nursing Home or Diagnostic Centre/Hospices, the ECHS member is mandatorily required to present his ECHS membership card or receipt of membership application and referral slip, before he/ she can avail treatment facilities. The ESM or his dependant does not have to clear any bills; this will be done by the ECHS. The entire examination / referral / treatment process may be viewed here.
ECHS beneficiaries above 75 years
ECHS beneficiaries above 75 years old can visit specialist OPDs at military hospitals directly (on OPD days), without obtaining a referral from the ECHS polyclinic.
ECHS Beneficiary App
The ECHS has also developed an app for smartphones, called ‘ECHS Beneficiary’. You can download this app from the Google Play store or iOS App Store and use it to ascertain the status of a pending ECHS application. The app provides the ECHS member the facilities to book an appointment with the doctor, check his / her medical history, contact the doctor in an emergency, etc. The RC ECHS must issue the smart card and the veteran must register the same at a suitable polyclinic, before using this app. See more details here.