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ICICI Lombard Expert Blog

Insurers Likely to Increase Premium for Mental Illnesses

April 07 2017
Mental illnesses

A new phase in health insurance is about to start. Last month, the Indian Parliament passed the Mental Healthcare Bill, paving the way for insurers to provide mandatory insurance cover for the mentally ill. This is good news for more than 150 million people who have mental disorders in the country. However, several insurers have said that the premiums are likely to increase with the inclusion of mental illness such as depression and anxiety under insurance cover.

In a recent survey conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS), nearly 13.7% of the adult population in India suffers from some sort of mental health concern. This is a huge number and is likely to put a strain on the country’s health insurance providers; who are under the process of evaluating the best way of offering their services to new customers. It is surprising to note that even with such a large number of the populace having mental disorders, there is currently no insurance cover provided for it.

According to a pan-India study published in the Indian Journal of Psychiatry, only one in twenty people suffering from mood and anxiety disorders are able to get treatment. The chasm is even wider in the case of treatment for mental illnesses, with only 5 out of 100 people receiving treatment for common mental disorders.

The Mental Healthcare Bill can be viewed as the start of an organised mental healthcare sector, which will provide access to quality mental healthcare at an affordable price. A wider insurance coverage is also expected to lead to the creation of more mental health treatment facilities. The inclusion of mental illnesses under health cover is a positive step, but the increase in premium is a concern.

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