The Right Policy For Mental Well-being
Outlook Money|August 2020
The Right Policy For Mental Well-being
Read the fine print and choose a policy that covers OPD and hospitalisation charges
Rajat Mishra

Every illness has its seeds in our psychology. The sudden alleged suicide of Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput stirred up the debate of mental wellbeing once again. Actress Deepika Padukone, who has battled clinical depression and runs a foundation for mental health says one must reach out, “Talk. Communicate. Express. Seek help,” after Rajput’s demise.

Insurance is readily available to treat mental health illness too, all clubbed along with general health insurance products. However, only a few insurers like Star Health Insurance and Bajaj Allianz General Insurance among others are providing comprehensive cover for out-patient or OPD and inpatient or hospitalisation charges. An illness that is mostly treated in OPD, often gets ignored by most insurers. However, recently the insurance regulator IRDAI has set new guidelines for insurers to change their approach towards mental health.

In 2014 India launched its mental health policy and a revised Mental Healthcare Act in 2017. Since 2018, insurance regulator IRDAI has made it mandatory for mental health to be part of all health insurance products. Simply put, mental health benefits cannot be more restrictive than physical health benefits.

According to a report by Lancet, mental disorders are among the leading causes of non-fatal disease burden in India. The situation is so grave that around one in every seven Indians were found affected by mental disorder in 2017. And the report also accepted that India’s systematic understanding of their prevalence, disease burden and risk factor is not readily available.

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August 2020