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Mental Health Insurance: Does Health Insurance Include Mental Health Coverage?

Mental Health Insurance: Does Health Insurance Include Mental Health Coverage?

One of the more vital components of an individual's well-being is their mental health. It is the amalgamation of a person's social, emotional and psychological health. A healthy mind can perform tasks with better productivity, forge cooperative relations with others, and help in keeping the conscience centred in pressing times. After Covid-19's surge across the globe, the awareness of mental health and its implications have advanced to the forefront.

The pandemic brought the world to lead a secluded life of isolation in their homes, exercising social distancing as prescribed by the government for their safety. However, this safety came with a price. Mental depression burgeoned across the line, and people suffered exceedingly from psychological problems like anxiety and stress. Although the work from home system helped restore semblance to industrial strife, it also harboured several mental issues. Soon after these issues surfaced, the role of mental health in an individual's complete well-being became clear.

Mental health problems originating from the effects of the Covid-19 had clutched 40% of Indians in 2020. The Indian Psychiatric Society stumped everyone with a survey it released that included the above findings. Moreover, a report by the WHO states that India ranks sixth on the list of the most depressed countries in the world, surpassing nations like China and U.S.A. These numbers have now caught the attention of officials and the masses alike, elevating the gravity of the situation manifold. There are focused organisations driven towards spreading information about the harmful effects of mental illnesses to curb the number of suicides occurring globally.

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Growth of Mental Health Awareness

With the rising awareness about Mental Health, it has become vital for patients suffering from mental problems to be treated equally as those suffering from physical ailments. It is only possible if we can scale the number of mental health centres, doctors and counsellors and reach out to those who need help. Simultaneously, it is also essential to break the stigma around the issue of mental health in our country and highlight its importance as one community. There is a rising need for a peer network that acts as a haven for discussing and addressing matters candidly.

Health Insurance: A Friend in Need

It is impossible to leave out insurance while talking about mental health. The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) had rolled out guidelines in 2019 stating treatment of mental illness, psychological disorders, neurodegenerative disorders, etc. must be included in health insurance to provide mental healthcare for all. Owing to these formerly laid ground rules, all mental illnesses are now covered by health insurance policies and are treated equally as other physical illnesses. Hence, if you have medical insurance, you get the well-rounded, double benefits of mental as well as physical health security from your insurer.

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In case you don't already have a health insurance policy as yet, this is a great time to think about getting one. With the rising need for mental health treatment, the cost of such mental treatments is on the rise too. On average, the cost of a single psychiatric consultation is around Rs 1500 in India. Let's say, you visit the psychiatrist four times a month. This would mean that your monthly expense on mental wellness would be about Rs. 6,000. At such a juncture, a comprehensive health insurance plan will come to your aid and cover such expenses. It prevents you from spending your earnings during medical emergencies. Therefore, it’s advisable to be ready for whatever unforeseen circumstances await you in the future.

A crucial thing to keep in mind while getting a health insurance plan for coverage for mental illness is to consider whether you require Out Patient Department (OPD) or In-Patient Department coverage. Usually, health insurance plans come with coverage for mental ailments as part of in-patient hospitalization. It's best to go for a comprehensive indemnity plan that covers hospitalisation, but in case of a therapy-related illness, you will need a plan with OPD benefits. Nowadays, plans like Care Plus and Star Comprehensive health insurance plan provide coverage for OPD expenses with benefits of up to Rs. 1200 annually. Another health insurance policy offering outpatient consultation benefits of up to Rs. 1500 is Max Bupa’s Go Activ plan.

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