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  Business   In Other News  17 Aug 2018  Irdai asks insurers to cover mental illnesses

Irdai asks insurers to cover mental illnesses

FINANCIAL CHRONICLE
Published : Aug 17, 2018, 1:04 pm IST
Updated : Aug 17, 2018, 1:04 pm IST

The Mental Health Care Act was passed by the Parliament of India in 2017.

Irdai has given the directive in reference to the Mental Health Act, 2017 which came into force on May 29, 2018.
 Irdai has given the directive in reference to the Mental Health Act, 2017 which came into force on May 29, 2018.

Chennai: In a step that can remove the stigma attached to psychological ailments, Irdai has asked insurance companies to make provisions for medical insurance covering treatment of mental illness.

The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (Irdai) has given the directive in reference to the Mental Health Act, 2017 which came into force on May 29, 2018.

 

“As per Sec 21(4) of the said Act, every insurer shall make provision for medical insurance for treatment of mental illness on the same basis as is available for treatment of physical illness. All insurance companies are hereby directed to comply with the aforesaid provisions of the Mental Healthcare Act, 2017 with immediate effect,” Irdai said in a notification.

The Mental Health Care Act was passed by the Parliament of India in 2017. The law intended to ensure a life of dignity to those who have mental health issues.

“Insurance of mental health is a progressive step in right direction. This will ensure a life of dignity for those who have mental health issues,” said Jyoti Punja, chief operating officer and customer officer, Cigna TTK Health Insurance.

 

“We believe it will certainly create awareness, acceptance and inclusion when it comes to mental illness as any other ailment, while bringing mental health disorders at par with physical illnesses will ‘normalise’ diagnoses, reducing associated myths and stigma. At Cigna TTK, we focus on the health and wellness of our customers we serve and we welcome this step to drive a robust health and well-being ecosystem,” said Punja.

However, currently most of the insurance companies do not provide cover for mental illnesses and in many cases their insurance applications get rejected if customers happen to have a history of mental illness.

 

Currently, insurance largely revolves around hospitalisation and mental illnesses mostly do not need hospitalisation. There are not enough hospitals and licensed professionals to treat mental patients.

Customers also should have stability of mind to understand the details of the medical cover and this is a challenge when it comes to mental illnesses.

However, the industry expects that introducing mental health insurance will promote mental health literacy among masses and thus reduce myths and stigma associated to them. Insurance cover will increase access to licensed mental health professionals as well.

Tags: irdai, mental illness, medical insurance, physical illness
Location: India, Tamil Nadu, Chennai (Madras)