The insurance regulator has sent a circular to insurers to disclose their health insurance underwriting policy, in a move to ensure all general health policies cover disability, HIV and mental health.
More than a year since India changed its laws on insurance coverage to include such coverage, the IRDAI has found that many insurance companies still do not have specific policies for such coverage, reported Times of India.
Government national health insurance schemes partially cover some of these conditions. For instance, the Niramaya Health Insurance Scheme covers conditions like mental retardation, cerebral palsy, autism and disabilities. The government-backed Ayushman Bharat, which provides health cover to the poor, has 17 packages for mental health disorders. Ayushman Bharat, however, does not cover HIV though there are discussions afoot to extend coverage to this condition.
In the non-government private health insurance space, very few insurers provide coverage. For HIV positive/AIDS patients, one of the few policies that provide coverage is Star Health Insurance’s India Medi-Classic Insurance Plan. With regard to disabilities, Star Health provides an indemnity-oriented health insurance policy for children and young adults (aged 3-25) with autism.
The HIV and AIDS Prevention and Control Act, 2017 and the Mental Healthcare Act, 2017 were amended in 2019 to make it mandatory for insurers to provide health insurance for vulnerable populations.
Insurers say it will not be easy to provide the coverage because they would face increased claims; resulting in the need for higher pricing of insurance policies.