Mental health is something that has always been stigmatised, especially in India. It makes situations difficult for common people as they are not able to avail necessary help because of the way mental health issues are treated in society, even after being subjected to situations that induce anxiety, trauma or trigger any kind of mental health issue.
With the pandemic imposing a heavy toll, mental health problems worldwide have increased significantly. Whereas several people have been driven to purchase health insurance coverage and cope with unanticipated increases in expenditures, checking that the insurance policies they have purchased cover mental health disorders such as anxiety or depression are of increasing concern.
Most health insurers in their insurance coverage did not cover mental health until 2017. Thus, even when you had a health insurance policy, most Indian middle-class members couldn't afford mental health therapy. But things started looking forward after that when the Modi administration introduced the 2017 Mental Health Act, which forbade discrimination of all kinds between mental and physical health.
In August 2018, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) urged insurance corporations to avoid the exclusion of psychological, compartmental and/or neurodevelopmental disorders, stress or mental health issues.
In June last year, IRDAI forced insurers to add mental health covered mental diseases in their circular.
All insurance carriers must cover individuals with mental health diagnoses in accordance with IRDAI. All the country's insurance businesses – be it life, health or general insurers – have been given the opportunity to comply with its guidelines before 1 October of last year.
The benefits under mental health insurance are identical to a typical health plan covering hospitals and other therapy.
Insurers offering mental health cover
There are some insurers that have started to offer mental health coverage in their policies. For example, ICICI Lombard, a private insurance company, covers some of its policies with regard to mental health difficulties. Complete health insurance package, which is the flagship product of the company, covers all mental health conditions disclosed and recognised. It also introduced 'Santulan,' a mental and emotional health counselling line for staff.
Another company offering mental health coverage in their insurance policies is Star health. All mental diseases that necessitate hospitalisation are covered by Star Health and Allied Insurance's in-patient hospitalisation coverage.
In its 'My Health Suraksha' insurance plan, HDFC Ergo also covers mental disorders. Max Bupa, Manipal Cigna, Aditya Birla Health Insurance Company, Digit General Insurance are a few more popular insurers that have introduced health insurance policies specifically designed to cover people suffering from mental illnesses.
Insurance companies, meanwhile, are still trying to find loopholes and avoid paying for mental health.
Here is a checklist to make sure your mental health is properly covered for health insurance, as follows:
- Make sure that any mental illness, such as schizophrenia, is not specifically excluded from your insurance coverage.
- Check to see whether your insurance policy limits reimbursement for mental health treatment to a set amount; the coverage should be the same for both common and mental diseases.
- Because most mental health problems do not necessitate hospitalisation, make sure your health insurance covers OPD expenditures.
- When purchasing health insurance, make careful to declare any current mental diseases or conditions.
Most of the individuals in the country have shown signs of frustration or anxiety to a certain degree, according to recent research and research. The main reason for their psychological condition was not able to in not being able to function in a normal way because of the pandemic. Many people showed, apart from sleep disturbances, indicators of panic and fear. In all these respects, an insurance plan covering mental illness is vital.