Let’s talk about mental health.
Updated: Apr 6, 2022
We’ve been celebrating mental health days for a while now. But are we insuring mental health? Before we even talk about insuring mental health, we must recognize mental illness as being a very real problem. After all, denying it is easy! We’ve all heard the stereotypes about mental illnesses. “You’re just being dramatic”, “Stop being a sissy”, “It’s just in your head, it’s not real”, and bla bla bla.
What do insurers think about mental health, though? How do we insure something that’s only ‘in your head’? At Kenko, we don't deny mental health issues. We believe that the best way to ensure mental health is to insure it.
Read on as we debunk some popular myths about mental health coverage in India:
Myth 1: Mental Health Coverage in India is not a thing.
Fact: Since 2018, it’s been mandatory for insurers to not discriminate between mental and physical health insurance. So, mental health coverage is very much supposed to be a thing in India. And rightly so given that 20% of Indians were estimated to have some mental disorder by the end of 2021.
Yes, that’s probably nine times the number of all-time Covid-19 cases in India! Given this backdrop, it wouldn't be wrong to say that mental illness in India has slowly acquired pandemic proportions over the years!
Myth 2: Mental Health Coverage in India is really good.
Fact: Okay, mental health coverage in India exists. But this doesn’t mean that the scene in India has nothing to improve. Good mental health packages in India are few and far between. They’re treated more like add-ons than the norm. And mental healthcare in India can get costly. Only a select few in India can afford going to private doctors or counsellors. For the rest, the cheapest medium to get mental healthcare is a government hospital. But the quality of mental healthcare there is not so great.
So, it’s time for private insurers and public agencies to put the money where their mouths are. At Kenko, we have The Ultimate Plan, OPD Family Plan and OPD Individual Plan that offer anywhere between 25-50% off on mental health services.
Myth 3: Mental Health Coverage in India is limited to medical costs.
Fact: Mental health is a complex phenomenon. Medical causes in the brain form only one type of factor causing mental illness. Sometimes, mental illnesses are related more to the situations and circumstances in someone’s life than their brains. Hence, treatment approaches to mental health are often holistic. They may involve health services like counselling, psychotherapy and psychoanalysis apart from medication. Psychotherapists and/or counsellors are ‘non-medical’ therapists. Psychiatrists and clinical psychologists are on the ‘medical’ end of the spectrum. Both types of therapists undergo rigorous training to be capable in diagnosing and treating mental illnesses. When it comes to covering these services, no law bars insurers from covering non-medical, counselling costs.
Myth 4: Mental Health Coverage is not profitable for the insurer.
Fact: When it comes to digital health plans for mental health in India, we’re in the right place at the right time. The pandemic has shifted our collective reality into the digital space. This allows digital insurers to tap into a bigger reserve of customer subscription funds than was possible before. This will in turn help insurers in making mental healthcare more affordable for many Indians. The pandemic has also exposed the gaps in our general attitudes to mental healthcare. We now see more mainstream conversation around mental illnesses, and health in general post Covid-19. In fact, young Indians in the post-pandemic world are now more likely to invest in scientific approaches to mental ailments offered by trained professionals. User-friendly digital platforms that bring insurance to the fingertips of users can change the game here. They can contribute a great deal to fighting the stigma around mental illnesses.
The financial dynamics of mental health coverage are no rocket science. The very logic of insurance centers around risk: insurers pay you to cover the financial costs of a health risk should it occur. Mental health issues can often result in significant risks for the sufferers. These risks can be biological, financial and even social. It’s, then, only a matter of time before insurers pick it up in a major way. So, to say then that mental health in specific is not profitable for insurers is like saying that insurance itself is not profitable.
Most health plans by Kenko are more affordable than a streaming service subscription. So, if you’ve been thinking of seeing a therapist but have been dreading the costs, maybe you should consider some of our plans which do cover mental health consultations. Click here to know more.