World Mental Health Day Special: How Does Mental Health Insurance Work?

This World Mental Health Day, let's bring focus to this important subject

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Mental wellbeing is the talk of the town these days. It’s no surprise that this topic is trending on the internet on World Mental Day celebrated on October 10. Citizens from all corners of the globe are coming together to spread awareness, love and positivity around mental wellness – it’s a joy to see celebrities like Aamir Khan, Bipasha Basu, Ed Sheeran, Prince Harry, Deepika Padukone openly talk about the importance of good mental health.

It’s a positive change to find people openly talking about mental health. It was considered a ‘taboo’, and was generally avoided in conversations. Thankfully, things have changed! People take mental health way more seriously these days, and it is no longer considered as ‘a phase that will soon pass’.

The Change Of Outlook Has Influenced Health Insurance As Well!

In this regard, health insurance has also changed for the better! Previously, mental illnesses were counted amongst the exclusions of a health insurance policy. Pick up a policy document from a few years ago and you would find that mental illnesses, anxiety and psychological disorders would not be covered by the policy!

But, ever since the implementation of Mental Health Care Act of 2017 and IRDAI circular directing insurance companies to cover mental illnesses, things have started to look up. Now, mental illnesses are considered at par with other physical illnesses by health insurance providers. It’s only fair as good health is a combination of a sound body and mind! According to World Health Organisation (WHO), “Health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social wellbeing, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity." It is coming true by virtue of health insurance offering cover for mental illnesses.What Exactly Has Changed?

To begin with, your health insurance policy should also cover treatment for mental illnesses, stress, psychological and neurodegenerative disorders. If your policy covers hospitalisation and OPD services for physical illnesses, it should also cover the same for mental illnesses. This is because, as stated earlier, insurers cannot discriminate between mental and physical illnesses.

The Future Looks Even Better

Though health insurance for mental illnesses has made significant improvements in the last couple of years, it is still in its nascent stages. A lot of information has to be gathered and policy wordings need to be altered to better accommodate mental healthcare. As of now, the coverage for mental illnesses is limited but it should become extensive over time.

Big Things Start Small

From a topic nobody wanted to talk about, to the level of attention it receives today, mental health has grown in its importance. The same can be said about its presence in health insurance. Previously, it was not covered by most health insurance policies, but today things are evolving and the only way to go is forward.


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