The Supreme Court has ordered the central government and the IRDAI to respond to a petition seeking directions to insurance companies to provide medical insurance coverage for treatment of mental illness.
The plea, filed by an advocate Mr Gaurav Kumar Bansal, stated that insurance companies have been refusing to provide mental illness coverage despite a requirement under the Mental Healthcare Act of 2017, according to a report in Hindustan Times.
The Act states that “every insurer shall make provision for medical insurance for treatment of mental illness on the same basis as is available for treatment of physical illness”.
Based on that provision, IRDAI had issued a circular in August 2018 to insurance companies, directing them to comply with the legislation.
Mr Bansal had, in January 2019, filed an application under the Right to Information Act (RTI) seeking details about the insurance companies which had complied with the Mental Healthcare Act and the IRDAI circular. He had also queried whether insurance regulatory had taken any action against companies for non-compliance.
IRDAI replied to the RTI application in February 2019, stating that none of the insurance companies had complied with the mandate under the Act and that no action had been taken against any of them.
The petition said that inaction by IRDAI is hampering the rehabilitation process of thousands of persons with mental Illness.