Mental Health Coverage – Things to know

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Until recently, people have been negligent about psychological and mental disorders. And for decades, people with mental illnesses have been stigmatised and victimised because of their condition. The passage of the Mental Health care Act of 2017 by the Indian government intends to protect the rights of those with mental health problems and provide them with proper health care treatment.

According to the rules issued by the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) in 2018, all health insurance companies in India must provide cover for mental health treatment on par with any other physical ailment.

Thanks to those efforts, mental health is receiving a lot of attention and awareness. And the inclusion of mental health cover to health insurance has been invaluable for those suffering from mental illnesses, such as severe depression, stress, and psychological and neurological disorders.

Here is everything you need to know about mental health coverage.

What is mental illness?

Mental illness encompasses a broad range of health conditions that impact your emotions, thinking, and behaviour. At some point, many people experience mental health problems. When persistent signs and symptoms create regular stress and disrupt your daily activities, a mental health concern becomes a mental illness.

When a person has a mental health problem, they cannot think, work, remember, act, or make decisions. It creates cognitive problems and even makes it difficult to carry out everyday tasks.

Why do you need mental health cover?

Mental illnesses similar to physical ailments can affect a person and his livelihood. If a person neglects his mental health problems, it can worsen and may necessitate proper medical treatment. Apart from the illness itself, the cost of treating these conditions can get expensive. Hence, buying health insurance with mental health cover is highly advisable. As it will protect your savings, and you can get the best medical treatment available.

Who needs cover for mental health?

Everyone is vulnerable to mental disorders in today’s busy lifestyle and stress. Anyone with a family history of mental illness or who has been through a traumatic experience should consider purchasing mental health insurance. It is also helpful for those who are experiencing trauma due to the death of someone or post-accident.

What does mental health insurance cover?

Mental health insurance covers costs incurred if a person requires hospitalisation for in-patient treatment related to any mental illness. Diagnostics, medicines, treatment costs, hotel rent, and ambulance fees are all included, provided the person got hospitalised for at least 24 hours. The cover for mental health illnesses may vary, and sub-limits are applicable as per the insurer.

Here is a list of mental illnesses that require hospitalisation:

  • Psychiatric disorders
  • Neurological disorders
  • Visual or hearing impairments

What does mental health insurance not cover?

As with most health insurance plans, insurers have some exclusions for mental health treatments. Most insurers will pay the expenses only if hospitalisation is necessary for at least 24 hours. Insurers rarely cover outpatient charges such as consultations. Any mental illness related to drug or alcohol misuse will not receive coverage from insurers.

Also, insurance companies can deny cover for mental health illnesses if the person has a history of recurrent mental illness or cognitive disability.

What is the waiting period for mental health coverage?

Like any pre-existing disorder (PED), mental illness also has a waiting period before being covered by the insurer. So make sure to take a health insurance when one is relatively fit and fine.

Summing up!

Mental health is rarely a discussed topic in India. The inclusion of mental health cover in health insurance could bring a change, encouraging patients to be more optimistic about their treatment options. When selecting health insurance with mental health cover, keep in mind that different insurers offer different benefits. Always read the inclusions and exclusions for mental health coverage before buying a health insurance plan.

Star Health Insurance being The Health Insurance Specialist would comply with IRDAI guideline’s and offer cover for Psychiatric & Psychosomatic. So, get the best mental health coverage with Star health Policies.


The Information including but not limited to text, graphics, images and other material contained on this blog are intended for education and awareness only. No material on this blog is intended to be a substitute for professional medical help including diagnosis or treatment. It is always advisable to consult medical professional before relying on the content. Neither the Author nor Star Health and Allied Insurance Co. Ltd accepts any responsibility for any potential risk to any visitor/reader.

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