For a long time, mental health has been an unknown concept and even in today’s world, it is a taboo topic to talk about. But as a result of the covid-19 pandemic, there has been a significant increase in mental health disorders. Depression and anxiety are the root causes of such issues.
Even though mental health issues existed long before the pandemic, it enabled people, even celebrities, to be more open about mental health difficulties today than they were in the past. This progressive transformation has also had an influence on how health insurance plans are framed. Aside from a slew of other concerns, the pandemic resulted in an increase in poverty and unemployment, both of which are linked to a greater rate of mental illness.
Hence, keeping all the factors in mind, many companies have started to cover mental health issues, creating various mental health insurance plans for the people.
The Mental Healthcare Act and IRDAI
The Mental Healthcare Act of 2017 made all of this possible. In summary, the Act allows both physical and mental health disorders to be treated equally. The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has sent circulars to all insurers, advising them to begin complying with the Act as soon as possible and to include mental diseases in all normal health insurance policies. It has also instructed them not to refuse health insurance coverage to policyholders who have previously taken antidepressants or narcotics.
Definition of Mental Illness
The Mental Healthcare Act of 2017 establishes a definition of mental illness that must be followed by all insurers. According to the Act, mental illness is defined as a significant problem in an individual’s mood, thinking, perception, orientation, or memory that interferes with conduct, decision-making, judgment, or the capacity to meet regular day-to-day tasks. Because mental retardation is usually caused by inadequate or halted brain development, the Act excludes it from the definition. There are two specific exceptions in the concept of mental illness if we go by this definition. The plans would not, for starters, cover mental impairment. Second, they would rule out results related to drug or alcohol addiction.
Companies that are offering Mental Health Insurance
Some health insurers have already begun tailoring their policies to include coverage for mental diseases in accordance with IRDAI recommendations. A number of well-known insurers, including Max Bupa Health Insurance, ICICI Lombard, Aditya Birla Health Insurance Company, HDFC Ergo General Insurance, and Digit General Insurance, have created health insurance policies expressly tailored to protect patients with mental problems. In general, these insurers’ health insurance policies cover in-patient hospitalization costs for mental illness. Outpatient counselling or therapy, on the other hand, is only covered if the insurance includes outpatient department (OPD) coverage.
How to choose the perfect Mental Health Insurance
While many individuals raced to get health insurance to deal with the problems and meet the unexpected spike in medical expenditures, it is becoming increasingly important for them to evaluate whether the plans cover mental health concerns as well.
If you’re looking for health insurance coverage that covers mental diseases, you’ll need to determine whether the problem necessitates hospitalization or therapy, as well as whether the medicine will suffice to treat it. In the first situation, you’ll need to purchase a hospitalization-covering comprehensive indemnity coverage. In the case of the latter, you must choose an OPD-covering coverage. Apart from its severity, mental health therapy can be costly, and not everyone will be able to afford it. This is why it is critical to choose a health insurance provider that provides enough coverage for mental health concerns and related expenditures as part of its health insurance policies.
One should give equal importance to both physical and mental well-being and hence be aware of all the policies out there that can provide aid in personal welfare. It’s high time people stop stigmatizing mental issues and take a step forward in creating a safe environment for all, standing in solidarity with all those are affected.
Disclaimer: The above information is for educative and informative purpose only. For more details, please refer to policy wordings and prospectus before concluding any policy decision or purchase.