Next time you go for a Unani or a homeopathy treatment, you may be able to claim health insurance on your expenditure. But do make sure that you visit a certified practitioner.
With the growing demand for alternate therapies even for critical illnesses including those related to tumours and heart diseases, most insurance majors are looking at providing cover for non allopathic treatment. The ministry of health and family welfare has also been expanding alternate medicine under the Ayush programme.
While several health insurance majors such as Apollo Munich, Reliance General Insurance and Bajaj Allianz are already providing cover for alternate treatment in a limited way, others may follow suit.
"Customer research has shown that more people are opting for ayurveda, unani, sidha and homeopathy solutions for long term relief," said Antony Jacob, CEO, Apollo Munich Health Insurance. "Keeping (this) in mind, we included non-allopathy treatments."
However, the shift is still at a nascent stage. Insurers said there are challenges related to standardised the pricing for treatments and certification by recognised medical practitioners, which need to be addressed.
"Our healthcare insurance products cover alternate medicine provided the treatment is prescribed and administered by a qualified doctor. However alternate medicine is not the preferred or first choice for most people, but we see this share growing in next few years," the spokesperson of Reliance ADA Group said.
According to estimates, the market for Ayush was estimated at $1,792 million in 2009, and is expected double at $3,640 million in 2014.
Sources said the insurers are looking to ease the claim process for alternate treatments, which is at present mired in procedural issues.