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It's About Time Companies Provide Mental Health Insurance: Can It Help End The Stigma?

The Mental Health Care Act, 2017 of India mandates that 'Every person with mental illness shall receive the same treatment as a person with physical illness in the provision of all health care'. However, even in 2022, the stigma attached to mental health and well-being is still very real.

In August, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) asked insurance companies to make provisions relating to mental illness. This was a positive development as mental health has a broad scope, particularly in India. And this could mean that your health insurance will no longer exclude mental health insurance. *

Before 31 October, insurance companies should provide coverage for mental illness under health insurance policies - stated IRDAI. *

"All insurance products shall cover mental illness and comply with the provisions of the MHC Act, 2017 without any deviation. Insurers are requested to confirm compliance before October 31, 2022." *

* Visit the official website of IRDAI for further details.

So, there's hope after all?

Which Benefits Will Be Covered By Your Mental Health Insurance Plan?

Reports indicate that insurance providers will cover mental health problems such as acute depression, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), schizophrenia, dementia, etc. - in addition to what is currently available. However, more clarity is needed on this as no specific updates have come out yet.

Therefore, if one requires hospitalization for the treatment of mental illness in an in-patient setting, the health insurance plan will cover the cost of the treatment, including medicines, diagnostics, ambulance fees, etc. * To know how much these plans will cost, you can make use of a health insurance premium calculator.

Furthermore, reports indicate that whereas public sector undertaking (PSU) health insurance providers have made provisions to provide cashless hospitalization for mental disorders, many private health insurance policies do not include this feature, though it may be available upon request in some cases. *

The Stigma Around Mental Health Issues In India

India doesn't take mental health seriously - this statement is true to an extent. But at the same time, it is important to note that in the past few years, especially since the advent of the pandemic, the mental health and well-being of an individual have received increased attention - the attention that was highly due! *

In India, according to NIMHANS data, more than 80 per cent of people do not access care services for mental health issues for a multitude of reasons, ranging from a lack of knowledge to stigma to a high price. The global burden of mental disorders has not decreased since 1990, despite being among the top leading causes of health burden worldwide. *

* Standard T&C Apply

It's a top priority to get treatment for physical problems since they disable the person, but why not the same for mental health, right?

Despite the decline in stigma and taboo attached to mental health issues, governments, NGOs, and other social organizations should begin educating the public about mental health issues and removing misconceptions associated with them because we are still a long way from accepting mental health issues as a 'real problem.'

And perhaps, the introduction of Mental Health Insurance could be a step towards achieving that.

Insurance is the subject matter of solicitation. For more details on benefits, exclusions, limitations, terms and conditions, please read sales brochure/policy wording carefully before concluding a sale.

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