Does Your Health Insurance Cover Your Mental Health?

Posted in Health Insurance Blogs By Friyana Munshi-Jan 13,2023
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Every new year, the resolution to stay healthy and fit is at the tip of your tongue. But what about your mental health? Let’s vow to manage stress better and seek help and therapy when required. It is essential to look after your mind, like you take care of your body.  

We know that your insurance policy plays a huge role in keeping you fit and eliminating all ailments. It helps you get the best treatments by taking care of the hefty costs. Expensive medication, OPD visits and medical procedures are all covered by your policy. But what about the costs for mental health treatment? 

India’s Legal Take on Mental Health

According to the World Health Organisation, every 1 in 3 citizens in India suffers from depression. Mental disorders include anxiety, bipolar disorder, dementia, schizophrenia, etc. As per the Mental Health Act of 2017, a mental illness is defined as a “substantial disorder of thought, mood, perception, orientation, or memory that grossly impairs judgment or ability to meet the ordinary demands of life, mental conditions associated with the abuse of alcohol and drugs.” 

This act not only defines the problem but provides the guidelines to assist its treatment. Under this act, in 2018, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) made it mandatory for all insurance providers to extend their coverage towards mental illnesses as well. Accordingly, they were directed to make the required changes to their old and new policies to include mental health by October 2020. However, due to certain delays this date was pushed to 31st October 2022.  

Mental Health Insurance: A Necessity for The New Age

Prior to this mandate, insurance policies only provided financial assistance for physical ailments and related hospitalisations. This is perhaps due to the approach taken towards mental disorders. People often underestimate the link between health disorders and mental illnesses. Lack of mental health awareness, the sparse number of trained mental health care providers, and existing-health priorities like COVID-19 have resulted in a painfully slow rise of mental health, especially in the insurance sector.  

Mental health treatments are not cheap. These require specialised therapy sessions, in some cases medication and even hospitalisations. An insurance policy has become a must with the hefty treatment costs imposing a colossal financial burden on your shoulders. Getting a pocket-friendly mental health package is a great way to maintain your mental health and lead a financially secure life. It can be an added weapon in your arsenal against unforeseen health problems.  

The government has taken certain steps to provide additional assistance and to make up for the lack of provisions in your health insurance policies. The union government launched some programmes in an attempt to curb mental illness in India. These include: 

1. Ayushman Bharat

As a flagship scheme under the union government, Ayushman Bharat provides insurance covers of up to ₹5 Lakhs. Along with the usual physical ailments, this policy further provides coverage for mental health issues. As of 10th December 2019, it consists of 10 different packages for mental health disorders, including psychoactive substance use. Ailments covered under this initiative include, delusional disorder, schizophrenia, neurotic and stress related disorders among many others. This scheme provides comprehensive care, looking after your physical and mental health.  

2. National Mental Health Programme

This national programme aims to strengthen the infrastructure to provide mental health services to the public easily. It helps people get medications for free and provides suicide prevention services. The programme has been implemented in multiple states while sensitising and training health personnel nationwide. It allows you to get in touch with various NGOs, caregiver groups, and self-help groups which can help you get the right support and assistance. The national mental health programme aims to spread awareness and provide quality mental health care which is affordable and easy to access.  

3. Arogya Karnataka

Initiated by the Government of Karnataka, this policy covers a variety of ailments along with mental health disorders. It provides cover only to below-the-poverty-line patients of the state. This scheme covers cognitive and behavioural disorders caused by psychoactive substance abuse through its various packages. Moreover, ailments like schizophrenia, delusional disorders, stress-related disorders, mood disorders, and mental retardation are also included.  


Besides this, the coverage offered by various providers under such policies also vary. Even with the implementation of strict rules under the Mental Health Act of 2017, the coverage might just not be enough. Treating mental disorders requires long term medications, constant rehabilitation, counselling, and psychotherapy. The costs of these can lead you into financial trouble and impose a monetary burden. Starting at a premium of just ₹236 a year, get free counselling sessions, OPD visits, and medical teleconsultations. You can get this and many more pocket insurance covers to uplift your overall wellbeing on Bajaj Markets! Get the help you need and lead a healthy and stress-free life ahead!  

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