Is Speech Therapy Covered by Health Insurance in India?

One of the best ways to lead a happy and stress-free life is by speaking your mind out. Effective speaking not only helps to convince people but also boosts your self-confidence. However, some kids as well as adults develop speech & communication disorders and speech therapy may be the only way to eliminate them. Let’s know everything about speech therapy and whether health insurance covers it.

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    What is Speech Therapy?

    Speech therapy refers to the process of assessing and treating communication and speech disorders. It is used to treat speech disorders in children that may have developed in childhood. Moreover, speech therapies are also used to treat adults with speech impairments resulting from an injury, illness or surgery, such as brain surgery or stroke.

    Speech therapy is performed by speech-language pathologists, who are also known as speech therapists. They may use speech therapy techniques, such as language intervention activities, articulation therapy, etc. depending on the type of speech and communication disorder.

    Which Communication Disorders Can Be Treated with Speech Therapy?

    Speech therapy may be required to treat the following speech and communication disorders:

    • Articulation disorders
    • Resonance disorders
    • Fluency disorders
    • Dysarthria
    • Receptive disorders
    • Aphasia
    • Expressive disorders
    • Cognitive-communication disorders

    How Much Does Speech Therapy Cost?

    Speech therapies are a highly expensive procedure. A single consultation with a speech therapist may cost approximately Rs 3000. However, speech therapy is a long-term therapy that goes on for months and sometimes, for years. For instance, a three-month speech therapy course may cost approximately Rs 80,000.

    Although, the cost of speech therapy may vary as per the type of disorder and the city. Nonetheless, it would create a major financial burden. Moreover, if the speech therapy is a result of an injury or critical illness, the overall medical expenses may be difficult to afford.

    This brings us to the question of whether speech therapy is covered by health insurance plans in India. Let’s find out.

    Does Health Insurance Cover Speech Therapy?

    Yes. Health Insurance plans in India provide coverage for speech therapy. They cover the charges incurred on taking consultation with a speech therapist. While a few insurance companies offer health plans that cover speech therapy only in children, other plans offer coverage for adults as well. Moreover, if a communication & speech disorder resulted from a critical illness, the therapy cost will be covered under the critical illness insurance policy.

    Speech therapy is usually covered under OPD cover or post-hospitalization expenses. In the case of children health insurance plans covering speech therapy, coverage is available for those between the age of 3 years to 25 years. However, some plans may come with a co-payment of 20% on every claim. Therefore, it is advisable to go through the terms and conditions of the policy carefully before buying.

    Waiting Period to Cover Speech Therapy Under Health Insurance

    Although speech therapy is covered by health insurance plans in India, the coverage is not available as soon as the policy commences. This is because all health insurance plans come with a waiting period and the coverage is available only after this waiting period is over. When it comes to health insurance plans for speech therapy, an initial waiting period of 30 days is applicable. In the case of critical illness insurance plans, the coverage will be available after an initial waiting period of 90 days.

    However, if you have been diagnosed with a communication and speech disorder before the purchase of the health insurance policy, insurance companies will consider it a pre-existing disease/ medical condition. This means the coverage for speech therapy will only be available after the pre-existing disease waiting period is over. In India, most health plans cover pre-existing diseases after a waiting period of 2 to 4 years. Hence, you must check your policy document to know the waiting period.

    Speech Therapy Tips to Use at Home

    Take a look at a few speech therapy tips that you can use with your child at home:

    • Make your child practice sounds that he/she may have trouble saying before moving to actual words
    • Demonstrate how to say a word in front of the mirror to help your child practice
    • Use flashcards to allow your child to practice sounds he/she has trouble saying
    • Use straws to let your child blow air or drink liquid to develop the mouth’s muscular strength necessary for clear speech
    • Make your child read books or explain the pictures in them to strengthen their speech and confidence
    • Encourage your child to sing songs to improve their communication, vocabulary, memory and hearing skills
    • Let your child express openly instead of speaking for them
    • Converse with your child more to develop their communication skills
    • Ask questions and patiently wait for the child’s replies instead of expecting a quick response
    • Keep background noises and other distractions low while practising speech
    • Listen to your child with full attention and take interest in what they are talking about
    • Praise your child for things that he/she can do instead of focusing only on the speech problem

    Summing It Up

    Communication is an essential tool to express yourself. In children, proper communication skills are important for their all-round development and confidence building. In case you or your child is having trouble speaking or has developed a communication & speech disorder, the cost of speech therapy will be covered by your health insurance policy. However, make sure to follow the above-mentioned tips to develop your speaking and communication skills at home.

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