IRDAI asked for mental health to be covered in regular insurance policies. This is to make mental healthcare more accessible to all.
Due to the serious financial and emotional consequences of COVID-19, India, it is crucial to provide adequate resources and attention for the mental health of the people during the COVID-19 period. It is also important to plan ahead for future pandemics. According to various studies and researches conducted over the past three months, most people show signs of frustration at some point. The primary reason is not being able do the things they enjoy.
A similar number of people are concerned about their health as they are about the health of their family members. An even more shocking finding was that people younger than 50 are more likely to feel the emotional effects of the pandemic than those over 50. Many people are experiencing panic attacks and anxiety, with many also suffering from sleep disorders.
The pandemic’s most concerning aspect is the increase in poverty and unemployment. Both of these factors are associated with higher rates of mental health problems. Mental health issues can lead to suicide if not treated promptly. A WHO report estimates that close to 0.8million (8 lakh) suicides occur each year around the world. This is roughly one death per 40 seconds.
Given the gravity of the pandemic and the potential for additional suicide-related deaths, even if there’s a 10% increase in suicides per year, it is possible that the world will see an additional 80,000 suicide-related deaths each year. As experts have reported a sharp increase in people seeking mental health care after the COVID-19 epidemic, it is not surprising that the coronavirus pandemic has had a severe impact on the psychology of people. Online consultations for mental health have seen a 180 percent increase in the last four months. This is a sign that it’s time for people to address their mental health or else India could face another pandemic.
Time to cater to mental health needs
It is important to make every effort to decrease anxiety, nervousness, fear, contamination, panic attacks and constant reassurance seeking behavior. These are the main factors that lead to depression and anxiety. COVID-19 must be controlled using precautions that don’t cause panic. It is important to make it easier for troubled individuals to access counselling, mental health centres, and doctors. Although this may seem daunting, it is worth the effort.
The Reliable Solution for Health Insurance
The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India has requested that mental health conditions be covered in all regular insurance coverage. This is to make mental healthcare more accessible to all. IRDAI stated that policyholders who have taken anti-depressants or opioids in the past cannot be denied coverage by insurers. Insurers cannot deny coverage to policyholders with a history of personality, neurodegenerative disorders, psychopathy, or clinical depression. IRDAI’s latest announcement aims to make mental healthcare accessible to everyone.
Some insurers are already customizing products to meet the needs of individuals with mental illnesses, following the IRDAI directives. Reliance Health Insurance Company, Max Bupa Health Insurance and Max Bupa Insurance have both introduced plans that are tailored for those with mental illnesses.
Most often, regular health plans cover in-patient hospitalization for mental disorders. Outpatient therapy and counselling are not covered by any OPD benefits. The insurer can treat a pre-existing mental disorder as if it were a new condition and determine the waiting period. This is usually between 2 and 3 years. Check to see if your mental disorder can be treated with therapy or medication. If the former is the case, you should choose a comprehensive indemnity policy that covers hospitalisation. OPD will be required for the latter.
Digit’s OPD Policy Non-Network is one of the most recent plans to provide OPD coverage for Psychiatric Illness, and other conditions. This policy provides OPD coverage up to Rs. The policy is available in two versions: PB OPD Family or PB OPD 1 adult. It covers up to Rs. 10,000. The plan is currently available in two sum insured options: Min 5 Lakh or Max 10 Lakh. You can choose any sum insured between R. 5 lakh and Rs. 10 lakh.
Although these products are less well-known, Max Bupa’s GoActive plan by Max Bupa and ManipalCigna’s ProHealth Insurance both cover mental illness conditions. The Critical Illness plan – Platinum of HDFC Ergo covers an extremely common mental disorder, Alzheimer, and 15 other serious illnesses. Star Health and Allied Insurance’s Star Special Care Plan covers autism for people aged 3-25 years.