Certainly, there has been enough concentration laid on the rapidly increasing physical health complications in the country due to several reasons such as environmental pollution, sedentary lifestyle, etc and the need to protect people with a strong insurance system that provides sufficient financial protection against various kinds of illnesses.
On the contrary, there is hardly any conversation about the increasing cases of mental illness amongst the masses. If numbers are to be believed then, according to WHO studies, over 90 million Indians, or 7.5 percent of the country's population of 1.3 billion, suffers from some form of mental disorder. Even a 2019 study by a British charity, Mental Health Research UK, found that 42.5 percent of the employees in India's corporate sector suffer from depression or an anxiety disorder i.e. almost every second employee. According to the National Mental Health Survey 2016, about 130 million people require mental health services.
More shockingly, an online doctor consultation website revealed a record growth in the demand for mental illness treatment post the hit of the pandemic. The online queries for psychiatry grew 50 per cent in the first two weeks of the lockdown in 2020, with most queries coming from the age group of 21-30 years. Online consultations for mental health queries grew 180 per cent into the six months of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The above given numbers as well as the excessive number of people being vocal about their psychiatric illnesses have demonstrated an urgent need of a mental care system in India to offer a proper infrastructure as well as facilities to the patients battling with such challenges including 'Insurance'.
The Mental Healthcare Act, 2017,implemented in 2018, directs every insurer offering health insurance products to cater to policyholders with mental illnesses the same way they cater to physical illnesses or injuries.
The Mental Healthcare Act, 2017, implemented in 2018, directs every insurer offering health insurance products to cater to policyholders with mental illnesses the same way they cater to physical illnesses or injuries. In addition to this, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India has mandated all the insurance providers to curate specific mental illness dedicated plans for the people suffering from various mental health issues.
One notable alteration of the act is that patients now have the freedom to choose from a range of mental healthcare facilities The law ensures several fundamental rights, including social inclusion, privacy, access to health information, protection from cruel or inhumane treatment, and the prohibition of discrimination. Even underprivileged and homeless individuals with mental illnesses are eligible for free mental health therapy, regardless of their economic status.
It is important to note that mental health insurance aims to provide coverage for future treatment and support, regardless of past conditions. Here are a few eligibility criteria:
The specific mental illnesses covered by mental health insurance can vary depending on the insurance policy and provider. However, here are some commonly covered mental illnesses under mental health insurance:
With a stringent mandate issued by IRDAI, all health insurance plans automatically include the coverage of mental illness coverages. But there are a number of plans available in the market which are being one step ahead by clearly mentioning about the kind of mental disorders tackled by their policies to support their customers. Here are those plans.
India's first health insurance plan rewarding consumers up to 100% of their health insurance premium as HealthReturnsTM - maximise earnings by leading a healthy life. Day 1 cover for Chronic illnesses like Asthma, High Blood Pressure, High cholesterol and Diabetes. Double Sum Insured in 2 claim-free years- earn 50% No Claim Bonus for every claim-free year - max up to 100% of Sum insured.
GoActive by Niva Bupa is a holistic health insurance plan that has been designed to give customers 360 degree coverage for their daily health needs including inpatient hospitalization and on-the-go access to OPD, diagnostics, personalized health coaching, 2nd medical opinion, behavioral counseling and much more.
This Plan offers savings to customers from day 1 including a complimentary complete body check-up up to INR 2500 per adult, diagnostics and cashless/reimbursement OPD coverage. The plan also offers benefits such as a renewal discount of up to 20% on achieving their health goals. Additionally, it introduces AdvantAGE - a 10% discount on base premium at the time of buying and on all future renewals if the age of the eldest enrolled person is below 35 years.
It is a complete medical and health policy, designed to provide full protection against any ailment or medical emergencies. The plan comes with different variants viz., ProHealth Protect, ProHealth Plus, ProHealth Accumulate Large Cover, ProHealth Preferred, Prohealth Premier. This plan comes with coverage from Rs. 2.5 Lakh onwards which takes care of your hospitalisation, day-care procedures and domiciliary treatments.
It features Health Maintenance Benefits, Cumulative Bonus, Restoration of Sum Insured, Worldwide Emergency Cover, Health check-up on every renewal, Expert Opinion on Critical Illnesses and Comprehensive cover - up to Rs.1 crore. The plan caters to all unforeseen health complications, maternity benefits and cover expenses related to the medical treatment of the newborn.
Know More About: Manipal Cigna's ProHealth Insurance
This plan offers coverage for 15 critical ailments includingAlzheimer and provides a lump sum payout on diagnosis of the illnesses covered under the policy. This health care provides policyholders with a lump sum amount after the initial diagnosis, provided the policyholder survives a 30-day survival period. The lump sum amount provided covers the cost of the treatment, recuperation aids, provides reimbursement for income loss suffered due to the diagnosis and is also useful for paying off any debts but comes with a 90-day waiting period before raising a claim.The plan permits enrollment of people starting from the age of 5 to 65 years.
This Scheme is being offered by The National Trust in collaboration with ICICI Lombard, a private insurance company. The National Trust is a statutory body constituted by enactment of an Act of Parliament by the Government of India, for the Welfare of Persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation and Multiple Disabilities.
This scheme offers same premium of Rs. 1 Lakh per beneficiary, irrespective of the age of the person and same coverage for all irrespective of the type of disabilities covered under by The National Trust. Insurance is guaranteed. No "selection" will be made. Every persons with developmental disabilities and enrolled with The National Trust will be eligible for insurance. There is no exclusion will be made because of pre-exisiting condition and requires no medical tests before providing the insurance cover.
This covers regular medical check up, hospitalization, therapy, corrective surgery, transportation, repetitive medical intervention as an in-patient, pre and post hospitalization expenses. OPD treatment can be taken from any qualified Medical Practitioner. In-patient (i.e. admitted in hospital) treatment can be taken from any hospital. The cost will be reimbursed (subject to the insurance limit)
|Company Name||Plan Name||Premium -1 Year||Sum Insured|
|HDFC Ergo Health Insurance||HDFC Ergo Critical Illness Platinum plan||Rs 4130||5 Lakh|
|Reliance General Insurance||Health Gain Insurance Policy||Rs 6931||6 Lakh|
|ManipalCigna Health Insurance Products||Manipal Cigna's ProHealth Insurance||Rs 7422||5.5 Lakh|
|Aditya Birla Health Insurance||Activ Health Enhanced||Rs 7337||5 Lakh|
*Premium is for 30 years old non smoker male
Important Things to Notice
With people are being vocal about psychiatric issues, the insurance sector is also inching towards preparing a comprehensive plan to provide aid against different nature of mental illnesses. Currently, working towards building constructive plans, the health insurance companies have also put caps on the facilities offered in their health care plans in the form of various sub limits or exclusive with regards to the mental illness.
From the above definition, it is clear that mental retardation is excluded. The Act includes mental conditions associated with the abuse of alcohol and drugs. However, this has been put under exclusions by almost all insurers.
In case, there is pre-existing mental condition with the customer, either it is not covered in the policy or the plan is modified according to their health conditions.
The waiting period is a big tool that has been used to keep the mental illness expense at the bay for some time. In fact, some of the plans have a clear restriction on the percentage of the sum insured to be spent on a mental illness.
There could be few more exclusions specific to mental illness and also certain waiting periods for some of the illnesses, these remain to be seen. As of now, most brochures and policy documents exclude mental illness in this way - "Treatment of any mental or psychiatric condition including but not limited to insanity, mental or nervous breakdown / disorder, depression, dementia, Alzheimer's disease."
Hence, it is always advised to thoroughly read, analyse and compare different plans in order to select the right one which is suitable for your mental health condition.
Recently, a policyholder of Niva Bupa Health Insurance, who has been paying premium for a sum insured INR 35 Lakh, was denied claim settlement raised for the mental treatment. The condition given to him by the insurer stated that in case of a mental illness the sum assured is restricted to ₹ 50,000.
When the insured approached the Delhi High Court to seek justice, the apex body referred the Mental Healthcare Act of 2017, an act that clarifies that there can be no discrimination between mental and physical illnesses and the insurance provided in respect thereof.
While the matter is pending with the apex body as of now but concurrently, the Delhi High Court has notified that "this matter requires consideration, in as much as the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India ought to place on record the basis on which approval has been granted for such insurance policies".
As insurance becomes mandatory for every insurance provider to offer to its customers, here are the details of what a mental health insurance policy will cover:
For persons with mental illness, it is advised to carefully read through your policy paperwork, the policy terms and conditions, and the policy exclusions, in order to understand how insurance companies have built policies that provide the best health insurance for mental health coverage.
Insurance companies have designed their policies for people with mental illness, it is recommended to go through your policy documents, and the policy terms and conditions carefully and understand the exclusions.
There are a few specific exclusions to some mental illnesses in health plans let us go through them one by one:
According to the WHO report on mental health, India has one of the world’s largest populations of people with mental issues. Almost 15% of Indian adults need treatment for one or more mental health issues. So after analyzing this situation IRDAI has laid new guidelines for the insurance companies. Let's see a few things that we must know about Mental Health Insurance Coverage:
Register and log on to your insurance account online
Your health insurance plan website should contain information about your coverage and costs you can expect. Since insurers offer a variety of plans, make sure you're logged on and viewing your specific insurance plan.
If you're required to choose a treatment and hospitals that's in your plan's network, a list of providers should be available online.
Call your insurance provider
If you need additional information, call the toll-free number on the back of your insurance card and ask questions about the types of mental or behaviour assistance program services you can expect coverage for, as well as any out-of-pocket costs you may incur.
Ask the therapist
Therapists, counsellers and other mental treatment related hospitals often change the insurance plans they're willing to accept and may have opted out of your plan.
It is very important to know about the claims procedure of a particular plan in order to avoid future discrepancies. The claims process for mental health insurance is as follows:
Step 1: The first step in the claims process is to seek diagnosis and treatment from a qualified mental health professional. They will provide the necessary documentation and medical records to support your claim.
Step 2: Once you have received the required treatment, contact your insurance provider to initiate the claims process.
Step 3: Prepare the necessary documents, which may include medical reports, prescriptions, invoices, and treatment receipts.
Step 4: Fill out the claim form provided by the insurance company accurately and provide all the requested information.
Step 5: Submit the completed claim form along with the supporting documents to the insurance provider within the specified time frame mentioned in your policy.
Step 6: The insurance provider will review your claim and assess its validity based on the submitted documentation. If necessary, they may also ask for clarification or further details.
Step 7: If your claim is approved, the insurance provider will process the claim and provide the reimbursement or payment for the covered expenses as per the terms of your policy.
When it comes to mental health insurance coverage, it is crucial for individuals with mental illness to thoroughly review their policy documentation, including the terms, conditions, and exclusions. Here are some important points regarding policy exclusions for mental health insurance: