Employees’ State Insurance Corp’s decision to increase monthly threshold wage limit to Rs 21,000 for coverage under its health insurance scheme has helped in attracting 35 lakh more workers under its purview, Parliament was informed on Wednesday.
“As on March 31, 2016, the number of Insured Persons (IPs) under the ESI scheme was 2.14 crore. The additional number of IPs on account of wage revision are estimated to be 35 lakh,” Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday . The addition of 35 lakh more insured person means that 1.4 crore more beneficiaries are added assuming a family of four person. The insured persons’ dependent family members are also covered under the scheme and get benefits of the health insurance and facilities.
At present, the number of total beneficiaries of the ESI health insurance are 8.56 crore with 2.14 crore IPs.
According to a statement, the government, in principle, decided to enhance the threshold limit of wage for coverage under the Employees’ State Insurance (ESI) Act, 1948 from existing Rs 15,000 per month to Rs 21,000. For this purpose, a notification had been issued on October 6, 2016 inviting suggestion/objections from all stakeholders, he added.
The minister further said that ESIC has taken a number of decisions to absorb the increased number of workers under its net including increasing hospital bed strength of ESI Hospitals by 50 per cent. It is also upgrading its dispensaries into 6 and 30 bedded hospitals in a phased manner. Besides it is partnering with private medical practitioners and private clinics for providing healthcare facilities in those areas where ESI does not have them, he said.