New Delhi: The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has issued a notice directing insurers to make provisions to cover mental health illnesses, in line with of the Mental Healthcare Act, 2017. It further directed that mental illnesses should be treated at par with physical illnesses. This comes after India has seen a recent increase in mental health cases nationwide. 

The Mental Healthcare Act of 2017, which came into the act from May 29, has made it mandatory to provide for medical insurance for the treatment of mental illnesses, on the same basis as for physical illnesses. 

However, none of India’s 33 insurers has complied to that rule and hasn’t covered ailments such as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and the likes.

The IRDAI order says, “All insurance companies are hereby directed to comply with the...provisions of the Mental Healthcare Act, 2017 with immediate effect”. 

Medical practitioners think that this change is long overdue, as mental health ailments have always been on the list of exclusions of health insurance companies. The only exceptions to this have been cases of autism and Down’s syndrome.