Inclusion of mental health under health insurance coverage is a progressive step, Health News, ET HealthWorld

Inclusion of mental health under health insurance coverage is a progressive step, Health News, ET HealthWorld

By Bineeta Naag and Debjita Mazumder

The Mental Health Act 2017 clearly states to include mental health illnesses under health insurance coverage. Now, after a prolonged wait, the day has come when the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India has decided to comply with the provisions of the MHC Act 2017, thereby providing coverage for all mental health illnesses under health insurance policies.

We, as a part of the Mental Health fraternity, are extremely happy with this decision of the Insurance Regulatory Authorities. This year’s recently concluded World Mental Health Awareness Day theme was “Making mental health and well-being a global priority”. On account of this occasion, the aforesaid decision is a milestone in the history of mental health. Many people, knowingly or unknowingly, are under major depression. Some people are unable to act on it or undertake therapy or medications since they cannot afford it, and for them, this decision is a life savior.

If we consider the present scenario, we are in the middle of an ongoing mental health epidemic. After the pandemic, mental health issues are increasing worldwide. Almost three out of five people report their struggle with mental health issues. So, the inclusion of mental illnesses under health insurance coverage is a progressive step towards considering mental illnesses at par with physical ailments and thereby ensuring better access to mental health care.

If we look into the current research papers on mental health, we will see that the probability of mental disorders is significantly higher in people belonging to the middle and lower Socioeconomic Status (SES). This category of society has a maximum level of unemployment due to which they have low earnings resulting in low savings and less spending on their health issues. Hence, money constraint is a major concern for these people when seeking help for a mental health issue, as mental health concerns usually require prolonged treatment duration, and the treatment goes beyond the reach of people who belong to middle and lower SES.

According to the recent data from National Mental Health Survey (NMHS 2015-16), people suffering from common mental illnesses like depression, anxiety disorder and substance abuse fail to seek the necessary help due to financial issues, thereby creating a huge treatment gap for these mental disorders. So, in this context, the inclusion of mental illnesses under health insurance policies will no doubt provide better mental health care to people in need.

Bineeta Naag – Special Educator and Debjita Mazumder – Behavioral Counselor at Orchids The International School, Newtown, Kolkata

(DISCLAIMER: The views expressed are sole of the author and ETHealthworld does not necessarily subscribe to it. ETHealthworld.com shall not be responsible for any damage caused to any person/organization directly or indirectly.)

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