A commuter looks out from behind the grill of a train window at Bandra railway station in Mumbai, India. (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)

Health Insurance To Now Cover Mental Illness: IRDAI

Three months after the Mental Healthcare Act, 2017 came into force, the Indian insurance regulator has notified insurers to cover medical treatment for mental illnesses.

The notice issued on Aug. 16, said 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.” The order is applicable on all insurance companies in India with immediate effect.

The Mental Healthcare Act, 2017, which came into effect on May 29, is aimed at protecting the rights of persons with mental illnesses during delivery of mental healthcare and services.

Atleast 15 crore Indians were in need of active interventions for different levels of mental disorders, according to the National Mental Health Survey of India 2015-16. Families had to spend approximately Rs 1,000 - Rs 1,500 a month for treatment and travel to access care. Other hidden and intangible expenses, mostly out-of-pocket, added to the financial burden, the survey found.