Health Insurance Companies To Cover Mental Illness

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New Delhi: India’s insurance regulator IRDAI has prompted insurers to ensure compliance mental health-related illnesses month onwards.

In a much-needed move to promote mental health especially after its importance cropped up amidst the Covid pandemic, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDAI) has directed insurance companies to cover mental illness and comply with the provisions of the MHC Act, 2017 without any deviation, on or by October 31, 2022, implying that November 2022 onwards, all health insurance policies must cover mental illness.

For the uninitiated, the Mental Healthcare Act (MHC Act) 2017 states that every insurer needs to make a provision for medical insurance for the treatment of mental illness. Following this, in August 2018, IRDAI had already directed all insurance companies to comply with the provisions of the act and mandated that insurers must not discriminate between physical and mental ailments.

Now, this fresh nudge from IRDAI is expected to bridge the gap and make all health insurers include mental illness in all their policies.

The IRDAI has mentioned that all health insurance policies must include mental illness diseases. The new guidelines will make sure that health insurance policies cover patients suffering from mental illness who were so far out of the ambit of health insurance coverage. This mandatory coverage means that the insurers will have to consider mental illnesses the same way as physical illnesses, both in the old and new policies. That means the insured person will be covered for hospitalisation and therapy expenses towards treatments of mental illnesses too.

As far as the kind of diseases to be covered, the new rules will call for holistic protection of a person’s well-being via insurance – be it physical or mental. Diseases like depression, dementia, bipolar disorder and Alzheimer’s shall be covered unless some specific exclusions are mentioned in the policy.

Also, your existing health insurance policies will also have this feature. Insurers can no longer simply reject new policy applications for people with mental illness.

Those who are already suffering from such illnesses can get a health insurance policy covering this aspect now. And if someone develops these illnesses after the policy purchase, the claim will be admissible in such conditions also.

So, if you have existing health insurance or are about to take one, remember that the IRDAI has made it mandatory for insurance companies to include mental health. So in case your insurance company hasn’t included it yet, make sure you get it done as per the guidelines.

 

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