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IRDAI wants health policies to cover mental illness

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NEW DELHI: The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) on August 17, 2018, issued a circular directing insurers to cover mental illness, which has reached serious proportions in the country.

None of India’s 33 insurers has introduced a product covering mental illness till date. The products should cover ailments such as depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder, the IRDAI has said. Such covers are commonplace in many countries.

Companies wishing to include mental health coverage will have to file a fresh product with the IRDAI, or add this to an existing product and file again, the circular said.

An official in the IRDAI said, “Insurance companies have to revise the rates, look at the actuarial risk and increase premium if need be. So far, no one has filed for such a change with the regulator.”

The Mental Healthcare Act, 2017 — which came into force from May 29, 2018 — has made it mandatory to provide “for medical insurance for treatment of mental illness on the same basis as is available for treatment of physical illness”.

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