A Step Towards Breaking Stigma
In a significant and historic move the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI), has issued a directive to insurers in India to provide health insurance coverage for mental illnesses. The IRDAI has ordered “all insurance companies to comply with the aforesaid provisions of the Mental Healthcare Act, 2017 with immediate effect.”
In India, mental disorders did not have any insurance coverage prior to this.
IRDAI’s directive comes after the Mental Healthcare Act, 2017, came into force on May 29th 2018. The Mental Healthcare Act, under its ‘Rights to equality and non-discrimination’, Sec. 21 (4) specifies that “Every insurer shall make provision for medical insurance for treatment of mental illness on the same basis as is available for treatment of physical illness.”
This policy is aimed at treating mental health concerns on par with physical illnesses, thereby ‘normalising’ the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness and providing awareness on mental health. The insurance coverage would also enable access to qualified mental health professionals and increase accountability.