SC asks govt, IRDAI to respond to petition over mental illness insurance | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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SC asks govt, IRDAI to respond to petition over mental illness insurance

Hindustan Times, New Delhi | ByHT Correspondent
Jun 17, 2020 02:19 AM IST

The plea, filed by an advocate Gaurav Kumar Bansal, stated that insurance companies were refusing to provide such coverage despite a mandate under the Mental Healthcare Act of 2017.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday sought the response of the central government and the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) on a plea seeking directions to insurance companies to provide medical insurance coverage for treatment of mental illness.

Advocates wearing protective masks as a precautionary measure amid rising coronavirus scare, at Supreme Court area, Bhagwan Dass road, in New Delhi.(Raj K Raj/HT PHOTO)
Advocates wearing protective masks as a precautionary measure amid rising coronavirus scare, at Supreme Court area, Bhagwan Dass road, in New Delhi.(Raj K Raj/HT PHOTO)

The plea, filed by an advocate Gaurav Kumar Bansal, stated that insurance companies were refusing to provide such coverage despite a mandate under the Mental Healthcare Act of 2017.

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A bench headed by justice Rohinton Nariman issued notice to both the centre and IRDAI.

Section 21 (4) of the Mental Healthcare 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, but to no avail.

Bansal had, in January 2019, filed an application under the Right to Information (RTI) Act 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.

“Despite the fact that one year has passed, situation as far as implementation of Section 21 (4) of Mental Health Care Act remains the same The inaction by IRDAI is hampering the rehabilitation process of thousands of persons with mental Illness,” the petition said.

Bansal had approached the Supreme Court in 2016 highlighting another issues surrounding mental illness – the rehabilitation of people who had recovered from mental illness but are still forced to languish in hospitals. The court in that case had asked all states and Union territories to set up rehabilitation homes for people who had been cured of mental illness, or who do not need further hospitalization, or those who are homeless or are not accepted by their families.

Bansal had filed another plea before the top court in 2019 for framing and implementing a public health programme for reduction of suicides and attempted suicides. The court had sought the response of all states and the central government in that case.

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