IRDAI Mandates Mental Illness Coverage in Health Insurance Policies
MAS Team | 05 July 2023
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In response to the growing prevalence of mental health issues exacerbated by the demanding and chaotic nature of modern life, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has made it mandatory for all health insurance companies to include coverage for mental illness in their policies. The directive, effective from 31 October 2022, aims to address the pressing need for emotional well-being support in society, especially in light of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health.
 
India has historically overlooked mental health concerns, but in recent years, awareness has been on the rise, and people have started recognizing the importance of addressing mental illness and seeking treatment. The pandemic has further highlighted the global surge in mental health issues, affecting both the body and the mind. A report by the World Health Organization (WHO) in October 2020 revealed that almost 7.5% of the Indian population was dealing with mental disorders, and approximately 1 in 20 individuals in India faced mental health challenges.
 
Recognizing the significance of mental health care, the Indian Government enacted the Mental Health Act in 2017, which mandated the inclusion of mental illness coverage in health insurance on par with physical ailments. However, many insurance providers did not comply with these new norms, hindering progress in this area. In response, IRDAI intervened, directing insurers to start offering coverage for mental illness treatment by October 2020. Despite the initial delays, the deadline for implementation was eventually set for 31 October 2022.
 
Under the Mental Health Act, 2017, health insurance policies now provide coverage for mental illness treatment, emphasizing the equal importance of mental and physical health. However, mental health-related issues are still not openly discussed in Indian society, leading to delayed treatment and a lack of awareness among the general population.
 
To evaluate the risk associated with individuals affected by mental illness, Insurance companies could consider factors such as diagnosis, present condition, treatment details, and complications. The underwriting decision is based on these parameters and supporting documents. It's important to note that these details may vary according to the underwriting guidelines of Insurance providers.
 
Given the increasing complexity of our lives and the vulnerability to mental health disorders, it is advisable to secure coverage for mental illness treatment through a renew Mediclaim policy. Mental illness coverage offers financial protection during health emergencies, improved access to care, and a range of treatment options as per the policy terms and conditions. It ensures that individuals receive the necessary support while alleviating the financial burden associated with mental health treatment.
 
Maintaining mental well-being is as crucial as physical health and fitness. With a rising number of people experiencing psychological disorders, stress, and other mental illnesses, opting for mental health insurance coverage has become increasingly important. However, it's essential to review the coverage details, duration, and other technicalities before making a decision.
 
By prioritizing mental illness coverage in health insurance policies, IRDAI aims to promote a comprehensive approach to healthcare, acknowledging the significance of mental well-being and ensuring individuals have access to appropriate support and treatment when needed.