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Mental health insurance: Everything You Need to Know

Mental health insurance coverage in India includes treatment for common mental illnesses. Individuals with a history of mental health conditions or those in high-stress jobs should consider getting mental health insurance for comprehensive healthcare coverage.

  • 22 Feb 2024
  • 4 min read

In the last few years, especially during the COVID-19 lockdown, when people were faced with hardships such as job loss and a dip in income, the subject of mental illnesses has come to light. From depression and anxiety to suicidal thoughts, mental health problems deserve as much attention as any physical issue. That’s where the importance of a quality mental health care plan comes in.

Mental health insurance is a sort of medical insurance that covers the costs of in-patient treatment for many mental illnesses. In India, mental health insurance coverage became mandatory for all health insurance providers after the enactment of the Mental Healthcare Act of 2017. 


What Does Mental Health Insurance Cover?

Some of the common mental illnesses that are covered by the mental healthcare plan in India are:

  • Depressive disorders: These are disorders that affect your mood and cause persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, guilt, or loss of interest. They can also affect your appetite, sleep, energy, and concentration. 
  • Bipolar disorders: These are disorders that cause extreme mood swings between highs (mania or hypomania) and lows (depression). They can also affect your energy, activity, judgement, and behaviour.
  • Anxiety disorders: These are disorders that cause excessive fear, nervousness, or worry, interfering with your daily life. They can also manifest as sweating, shaking, having a fast heartbeat, or difficult breathing.
  • Stress disorders: These can happen after going through something very upsetting or scary, like a significant trauma or stressful experience. They can cause symptoms such as flashbacks, nightmares, avoidance, hypervigilance, or irritability.
  • Schizophrenia: These include conditions that impact one's perception of reality, leading to experiences such as hallucinations (perceiving things that do not exist), delusions (holding false beliefs unsupported by reality), or disorganised thinking (uttering confused or illogical speech and displaying erratic behaviour).


What Is Not Covered Under Mental Health Insurance?

Health insurance for mental health does not cover all mental health conditions. Some of the common exclusions that you should be aware of:

  • Mental retardation: This includes a condition where the mind does not fully develop, and it usually means a person has lower intelligence. Mental retardation is not seen as a mental illness, according to the Mental Healthcare Act of 2017. Thus, it is not included in a typical health insurance for mental illness.
  • Mental illness from drug abuse: This means any mental problem linked to the improper use of drugs, alcohol, or tobacco. These conditions are also excluded from mental health insurance coverage, as a natural disorder of the mind does not cause them.
  • Pre-existing mental illness: Some insurance companies may impose a waiting period for covering any mental illness that was diagnosed or treated before buying the policy. This means that you may not be able to claim any expenses related to your pre-existing mental condition until the waiting period is over.

Also read:

Who Should Take Mental Health Insurance?

Mental health issues can affect anyone, and seeking treatment for them can sometimes be expensive. Want to know who should consider getting health insurance that covers mental health? There you go:

  • Individuals with a history of mental health conditions.
  • Young adults and students. The pressures of education, career, and social life can lead to stress and mental health challenges.
  • Professionals in high-stress jobs.
  • Anyone seeking comprehensive healthcare.
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