An ESI card is a health card given to the beneficiaries enrolled under the Employees’ State Insurance (ESI) scheme. The scheme was rolled out by the Ministry of Labour and Employment to protect the interest of workers against medical calamities. Any firm or establishment employing more than 10 workers have to register their employees under the ESI scheme. The scheme is managed by the Employees’ State Insurance Corporation which is an autonomous body under the government of India and works under the guidelines of the ESI Act, 1948.
The ESI scheme is a social security health insurance scheme that entitles beneficiaries and their dependents to avail medical treatment benefits, maternity benefits (in case of women workers), and unemployment cash benefit (only in specific cases). If the insured person dies or is rendered disabled to earn due to employment related injury, they are eligible for pension benefit (for the dependents) and disablement benefit, respectively.
The ESI scheme is a self-financed scheme which means the employer and the employee will contribute a certain amount from the wages, towards the scheme. The employer contributes 4.75% while the employee contributes 1.75% of the earnings and all the workers earning equal to or less than Rs.21,000 a month can enroll under the scheme.
As stated above, every worker enrolled under the ESI scheme will be given a magnetic, smart identity card which is called as a ‘Pehchan card’ or ESI card. This card has to be produced while availing benefits at the ESI network hospitals or dispensaries. The Pehchan card bears all the details of the employee including name, father’s name, address, and insurance number. It also bears the employee's photograph along with his/her dependents photographs and fingerprints. Each employee is given 2 sets of cards, one for himself/herself and one for his/her dependents. If the dependents of the insured person live in another town, they can use their card at ESI hospitals to avail medical facilities under the ESI scheme.
The employer needs to download a Pehchan application form from the ESIC portal (www.esic.in) and fill in the details of the employee. The employee has to submit a family photograph containing the photos of the dependents and the employer has to attest the photograph. After signing the Pehchan application form, the employee has to take the form, and his dependents to the nearest ESIC office where the photos and fingerprints of the employee and his/her dependents will be captured. Within 30 days, a set of 2 cards will be sent to the insured person either through a courier or sometimes he/she might need to visit the nearest ESIC branch to collect the cards.
The ESI card or Pehchan card is an ideal health insurance companion that will let the insured person enjoy the benefits of the ESI scheme at network hospitals in a quick and easy manner.