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Alternative Therapies Like Ayurveda and Homeopathy to be Included in Health Insurance: A Possibility

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In the present times of rising medical costs, acquiring a health insurance policy is a must. The conventional medical policies that the insurance companies have been given for many years would only give Coverage for allopathy medicine only. This was something which caused a lot of inconvenience to the patients who believed in alternative medicine as they would not get a Mediclaim for these treatments.

In the recent past, some insurance companies have started providing coverage for treatments like homeopathy, Ayurveda, Unani and naturopathy in the insurance policy. Despite having a comprehensive health guard policy, patients were not able to get a refund of the amount spent on these treatments, but now the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority have sent notice to the insurance companies to provide coverage for the therapies of Indian System of Medicine in the policies issued by them. The treatments which have to be covered by the policies are known as AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy).

The only clause that the IRDA has given is that the treatment done in hospitals authorized by the government or government hospitals would only be considered. Patients also have the option to go to centres which are recognized by the National Accreditation Board of Health or The Quality Council of India.

The regulatory body now has recognized that these treatments also have a lot of potential and more and more people are turning towards this due to the side effects caused by many allopathy medicines. These treatments many times have healed problems and diseases without surgeries or strong medicines which are generally prescribed under allopathy. Many insurance companies started implementing these changes only in the Health Insurance policies offered by them, whereas there are some who have started in the individual policies. Some of these companies also put a cap on the amount covered for AYUSH treatments like 25% of the sum insured. The clauses vary from one company to the other. These restrictions are put in order to avoid any kind of misuse of the policy.

It should also be noted that no insurance company will provide a health cover which will only cover these treatments. These will only be included when a standard insurance cover for health is taken by the insured. There are some disadvantages also of this besides the advantages and the main one being, having access to NABH or QCI accredited centres is not simple for the common man and thus, to get coverage under the Policy can become difficult for them. The second problem, which can be foreseen, is the quality of services of AYUSH treatments given in the government hospitals is not up to the mark when compared to the specialized centers. Despite the drawbacks, this step will be a boon for many.