When one thinks of insurance, mental health doesn’t necessarily top the priority list. You might have insured your car, your business, your home and your family, and think that you’re prepared for anything life throws at you. However, there’s a high chance you might have not even thought about insuring the one thing that’s responsible to keep it all up and running – your mental health.
October 10th is observed as the World Mental Health Day and it’s a chance to reflect upon the importance of preserving one’s mental health. Especially, after the pandemic, conversations around mental health have a new-found significance. Still, most people remain unaware of possible solutions for psychological distress and there is still a lot of stigma and prejudice surrounding the matter.
Mental health diagnosis and treatment can be expensive without insurance. Especially the OPD expenses, which include psychiatric consultations, can derail your finances due to the lack of planning. This is why the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has mandated that mental illnesses should be treated at par with physical illnesses and therefore, duly covered by health insurance. However, there is a critical need for understanding this inclusion.
Comprehensive health insurance for your rescue
A comprehensive health insurance plan covers the policyholder against hospitalisation expenses that might be associated with a mental disorder. This includes the patient's room rent, ambulance fees and other hospitalisation-related expenses.
Insurance policies often provide coverage for mental health conditions, including anxiety disorders, acute depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, attention-deficit/hyperactivity condition, bipolar disorder, mood unrest, schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and psychotic turmoil.
OPD coverage is a must
It’s important to note that mental health issues might not always require hospitalisation but they do require diagnosis, consultations, follow-ups and repeat sessions. Therefore, it becomes imperative that your plan must have OPD coverage.
Considering that there could be a need for a number of sessions depending on the condition, a series of regular expenses can snowball into one large expense in no time. Those looking for mental health coverage should definitely add OPD coverage to their policy.
Who should opt for it?
Mental health is for everybody. These illnesses are not exclusive to any age group or demographic due to the growth in general stress levels. Even students and young adults are susceptible to them, making them prevalent in both younger and older groups. Besides that, individuals with a history of antidepressants or who have had a family history of mental health disorders should also consider investing in the coverage. The same goes for people with a documented history of clinical depression, neurological disorders, personality disorders, sociopathy, or psychopathy. The good news is that more insurance companies are now open about covering the majority of mental diseases.
What to keep in mind?
The norm for any pre-existing disease in health insurance is a waiting period, after which the illness is covered. So, if one suffers from any of the conditions or a history including mental trauma, should declare it beforehand to the insurer. The waiting period and the extent of coverage differ from insurer to insurer but not disclosing any information can result in the rejection of the claim. Starting as early as feasible is advised if a person plans to obtain this coverage in the future.
In conclusion, neglecting one's mental health could be a high-intensity, ticking time bomb with severe consequences. Therefore, on this World Mental Health Day, spread the word and choose a policy that best suits you by evaluating the numerous options that are accessible online and reading the features, exclusions, and restrictions.
Siddharth Singhal, Business Head – Health Insurance, Policybazaar.com