Does a Health Insurance Policy Cover Depression?

Stress is one of the biggest contributors to lifestyle diseases like hypertension and depression in India. The pressure to be successful has given rise to hypertension and the societal pressure is making more people depressed. Let’s find out if depression and hypertension are covered under health insurance plans in India.

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    What is Depression?

    Depression is a mood disorder that causes a person to feel sad, angry or uninterested persistently. Also known as clinical depression or major depressive disorder, it affects how a person thinks, feels & behaves and can also interfere with their day-to-day activities. According to a study conducted by GOQii, 43% of the Indian population suffers from depression.

    Depression can lead to several emotional and physical problems in a person. It can lower the productivity of a person and can also adversely affect his/her relationships. A lot of depressed people do not find life worth living. Moreover, depression can aggravate the condition of several chronic diseases, such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, arthritis, asthma, etc.

    Symptoms of Depression

    Take a look at the most common symptoms of depression below:

    • Feeling of sadness or emptiness
    • Feeling of guilt or worthlessness
    • Loss of interest in normal activities
    • Insomnia, excessive sleep or disturbances during sleep
    • Reduced appetite or weight loss
    • Frequent thoughts of suicide or death or an attempt to suicide
    • Angry outburst or irritability
    • Lack of energy or tiredness
    • Anxiety or restlessness
    • Trouble concentrating or making decisions

    What is Hypertension?

    Hypertension refers to a condition where the blood pressure of a person rises to unnaturally high levels. Also known as high blood pressure, it occurs when the arteries of a person become narrow increasing the resistance to the blood. As a result, the pressure of blood against the artery walls becomes very high leading to major health issues, such as heart attack, stroke, etc.

    As per the research presented at the Cardiological Society of India (CSI), one out of five young adults in India suffers from hypertension. A person can have high blood pressure with no symptoms for years. Nonetheless, the disease can cause damages to the blood vessels and major organs, including the heart and kidney.

    Symptoms of Hypertension

    Following are some of the most common symptoms of hypertension:

    • Shortness of breath
    • Flushing
    • Headaches
    • Chest pain
    • Dizziness
    • Visual changes
    • Bleeding of nose
    • Blood in urine

    Diagnosis of Depression/Hypertension

    Early diagnosis of depression and hypertension is essential to start the treatment of these ailments on time. While high blood pressure can be detected easily by taking a blood pressure reading through a BP machine, no single test can diagnose depression. Usually, doctors assess the symptoms of a person and ask a series of questions for a psychological evaluation to diagnose a person with depression. In some cases, the doctor may also ask the patient to get a thyroid test or vitamin D deficiency test done as these health issues can also trigger the symptoms of depression.

    Treatment of Depression/Hypertension

    Both depression and hypertension are lifestyle diseases that can lead to major health complications, like heart diseases. The good news is that both diseases can be cured with a combination of medication and changes in lifestyle. Some people also need to be prescribed regular therapies to cure depression.

    But, unfortunately, the treatment of both depression and hypertension can go on for a long time. In severe cases, where major health complications have developed, the patient may need hospitalization. Either situation may lead to major medical expenses that can exhaust a person’s savings in no time.

    Is Depression/ Hypertension Covered under Health Insurance?

    Yes. Depression and hypertension are covered under health insurance plans in India. Insurance companies in India provide financial assistance to the policyholder to pay for the treatment cost of depression and hypertension. Since depression is a type of mental illness, it is covered by a mental health insurance plan. As per the guidelines of the Insurance Regulatory & Development Authority of India (IRDAI), it is mandatory for all insurance companies to cover mental illnesses under health insurance.

    On the other hand, hypertension is covered by almost all regular health insurance plans. Some health insurance companies also offer customized health plans for high blood pressure. People can buy such customized plans if their base policy does not provide enough coverage for the disease.

    Does Depression/ Hypertension Come with a Waiting Period?

    Yes. Both depression and hypertension come with a waiting period. Since depression is a mental illness, it is covered by health insurance plans after a waiting period of 2 years. On the other hand, hypertension is considered a specific illness and therefore, it is covered by health plans after a waiting period of 1 to 3 years depending on the chosen plan.

    In case a person has been suffering from hypertension or depression before buying the policy, it is considered as pre-existing diseases. Like all pre-existing diseases, these diseases will be covered after a waiting period of 2 to 4 years depending on the plan.

    Tips to Prevent Depression

    Take a look at some of the tips to prevent depression below:

    • Make sure to exercise regularly
    • Sleep for at least 7-8 hours daily
    • Don’t take a lot of stress
    • Meet your friends and families regularly
    • Boost your self-esteem and be self-resilient

    Tips to Prevent Hypertension

    Following are some of the tips to prevent hypertension:

    • Eat a healthy diet rich in vegetables and fruits
    • Reduce the intake of sugar
    • Cut down on your salt intake
    • Maintain your ideal body weight
    • Monitor your blood pressure regularly

    Summing It Up

    Depression and hypertension are extremely common in India and are responsible for a large number of deaths in the country. From young adults to senior citizens, anyone can suffer from hypertension or depression. Even though depression/hypertension is covered by health insurance plans in India, preventive steps should be taken as these diseases can lead to serious health complications.

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