The couples who want to engage a surrogate mother for the birth of their child will now be mandated to buy a medical insurance coverage for the surrogate mother for 36 months, the latest health ministry rules clarify.
According to the rules notified on June 21, the couple will have to buy a health insurance coverage to meet all expenses for complications arising out of pregnancy.
"The intending woman or couple shall purchase a general health insurance coverage in favour of surrogate mother for a period of 36 months from an insurance company or an agent recognised by the IRDAI established under the provisions of the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority Act, for an amount which is sufficient enough to cover all expenses for all complications arising out of pregnancy and post-partum delivery complications," the rules state.
This is seen as a positive move to prevent the health-related risk of vulnerable women who, otherwise, wouldn’t be able to afford the increasingly expensive medical care.
“It is a very good idea to increase the scope of people covered. In case of surrogacy, specifically, I think it is a good move because it protects the surrogate mother from any maternity related health issues for three years after the baby is born,” says Kapil Mehta, Co-founder and CEO of SecureNow Insurance Broker.
Quantum of coverage
As far as quantum of coverage is concerned, experts believe that a minimum of ₹10 lakh coverage is required in such cases.
“We recommend a minimum of ₹10 lakhs health cover in the metro cities, ideally twice as much if you can afford it. This is because several critical illnesses such as cancers and, in some cases, CABGs (coronary artery bypass surgeries) cost upwards of ₹10 lakhs. If you factor in medical inflation of 10 to 15 percent then you need much higher cover so that it is still sufficient years later,” says Mehta.
“A minimum of ₹10 lakh sum assured should be required and the attempt should be to get ₹20 lakh if you can afford it,” says Naval Goel, CEO of PolicyX.
However, Abhishek Misra, chief executive officer and principal officer, Bonanza Insurance says how the medical insurance coverage evolves in the context of surrogacy will be clearer only after there is more clarity on the rules.
“Usually, medical insurance has a sub-limit for pregnancy under a medical insurance plan. For instance, when a policy holder has ₹5 lakh plan and the sub limit of ₹one lakh is there in case of pregnancy, then one is entitled to claim only ₹one lakh even if the total expense is more than this. However, insurers tend to clear the claims arising out of medical complications that are different from pregnancy,” says Misra.