Mental Health to be covered under Health Insurance in India

by Subhechcha Ganguly

The Indian Supreme Court ordered the Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) to provide more details in 2020 regarding the actions taken to implement a statutory provision requiring insurance providers to cover mental illness on par with other physical illnesses.

Currently, every health insurer offers family and individual health plans that cover hospitalisation or other medical care, but none of them cover mental illness.

IRDAI has ordered all insurance firms to cover mental illness, which is a significant victory. “Every insurer shall offer provision for medical insurance for treatment of mental disease on the same basis as is available for treatment of physical sickness,” stated the IRDAI in a circular sent to all insurers.

About 150 million Indians required mental healthcare treatments, according to a 2016 survey by the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS). But just 10-12% of the same group sought assistance.Mental illness, as defined by Section 21(4) of the Mental Healthcare Act of 2017, includes:“A substantial disorder of thinking, mood, perception, orientation or memory that grossly impairs judgment, behaviour, capacity to recognise reality or ability to meet the ordinary demands of life, mental conditions associated with the abuse of alcohol and drugs, but does not include mental retardation which is a condition of arrested or incomplete development of mind of a person, specially characterised by sub normality of intelligence.”

Insurance companies must begin covering mental illness as of the day the regulation was released, or on August 16, 2018, and they must do so in accordance with the National Mental Healthcare Act of 2017.In the event of hospitalisation, the coverage is anticipated to encompass investigation and diagnosis of a person’s mental health, treatment, and rehabilitation. Customers could anticipate higher premiums if mental illnesses like depression and anxiety are included.

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