Up until 2002, retired members of the armed forces could only access medical facilities for a small number of expensive procedures or treatments for diseases covered by medical insurance programs that might have helped the ESM (ex-servicemen) in certain ways, but they were not as comprehensive as those offered to and available to other central government employees. As a result, it was deemed necessary to create a healthcare system that could offer quality healthcare to the retirees of the armedforces.
Based on this admirable goal and following careful consideration, the Government of India’s Ministry of Defenseauthorized the ECHS, which went into operation on April 1, 2003. With the introduction of this scheme, ex-servicemen pensioners and their dependents who had previously only been allowed to receive medical care at a military hospital are now permitted to receive treatment at private institutions that have been officially impaneled with the ECHS. The Indian government is funding the scheme.
About ECHS: Coverage & Criteria
A government-funded healthcare scheme called ECHS covers all the Indian states. All Ex-Servicemen retirees and their dependent family members are given access to high-quality healthcare through the program. At the earliest opportunity, those veterans who retired prior to 2003 and have not yet applied for ECHS membership may also do so.
The ECHS scheme addresses all illnesses, including cancer, heart disease, kidney disease, and joint replacement. It offers benefits to the whole range of ESM pensioners residing in remote areas ofmilitary and non-militarystations through a network of polyclinics. Since the private polyclinic facility will be situated in designated areas and closer to ex-servicemen pensions, this will lessen the burden on military hospitals.
An essential feature of ECHS is that it provides medical coverage for widows and family pensioners as well as ESM pensioners, ensuring their health care even in the retiree’s absence. The prospective member must be an ex-serviceman who has held any rank in the Indian armed services, and they must also be receiving government-paid disability, family, or pension benefits in order to be eligible for the scheme. The goal is to help pensioners, their spouses, widows, and authorized dependents while also bringing ECHS into compliance with medical plans available to central government employees.
ECHS Membership Benefits
There are a couple of benefits that one can receive as a member of ECHS. They are as follows:
- There are no restrictions on membership based on age or medical condition.
- Lifetime contributions range between 1800 and 18000 rupees (depending upon basic uncommuted pension). The new retiree contribution rates are being revised upward.
- There is no financial cap on treatment.
- Treatment, testing, and medication both indoors and outdoors.
- Access to a nationwide ECHS Polyclinic network.
- A sense of belonging and a familiar environment.
- Involves giving coverage to the spouse and any dependents who qualify.
In order to reduce administrative costs, the scheme is administered within the armed services’ current infrastructure.The current infrastructure consists of a command and control system, extra Service Medical facilities (such as hospitals and medical inspection rooms), a procurement organization for medical and non-medical equipment, as well as land and buildings for the defensedepartment. The ECHS Polyclinics are directly under the direction of station commanders, with assistance from Senior Executive Medical Officers (SEMO).
The ECHS Polyclinics are designed to provide “Out Patient Care,” which includes consultation, necessary investigation, and the distribution of medications. There are 427 Polyclinics (excluding 6 Polyclinics in Nepal) in 30 regional centers approved by the government. In service hospitals, government hospitals, commercial hospitals, and hospitals impaneled with ECHS, spare capacity is made available to conduct specialized consultations, investigations, and “In Patient Care” (Hospitalization).
Veterans deserve the best after retirement because they gave their best years of life to the armed forces.The ECHS was created with the admirable goal of offering them high-quality medical care. The ultimate goal is to make sure that veterans, who have sacrificed some of their greatest years of life serving the country in incredibly hazardous environments, receive the best preventative, promotional, and curative treatment when they are most in need.Ex-servicemen and their families have access to a first-rate facility through ECHS. A modified version of this ECHS would also seem applicable to the Nepalese armed forces. ECHS is a fantastic resource for veterans and ought to be fully utilized.
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