Health Insurance Policies to Include Mental Health Coverage Before 31 Oct: IRDAI

The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority has directed health insurance companies in India to provide coverage for mental issues in compliance with the Mental Health Act of 2017.

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      As per the IRDAI circular, all insurance products must cover mental disorders as directed by the 2017 MHC Act before 31 October 2022. The insurers will need to make provisions for covering mental illness just like they cover physical illness treatments.

      This means that all the existing policies would need to evolve in order to suit the circular. While there needs to be further clarity regarding these provisions, it is expected that standard health insurance plans will soon release revised terms to cover several mental health ailments.

      As of now, hospitalisation expenses due to mental issues and treatment are covered by several health insurance plans. This includes the cost of diagnostics, treatment, medication, room rent etc. However, OPD expenses regarding mental illness including counselling, and mental health consultations are not covered by health plans.

      Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, mental health stigma has somewhat decreased with more people seeking help. The move is expected to aid people battling mental health issues and help set up a sound mental illness treatment-specific infrastructure. It is also expected to help standardise various treatment expenses for many mental ailments.

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