The Ministry of Ayush is in talks with the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) to bring the insurance coverage of Ayush treatment on a par with the allopathic one, Rajesh Kotecha, secretary, ministry of Ayush, told News18.
AYUSH treatment covering Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy, with specific provisions, were included in the health insurance regulations, 2013 by the IRDAI.
In September 2016, the ministry circulated guidelines for facilitating insurance coverage to AYUSH treatment and settlement of claims on the basis of benchmark rates of various therapies, interventions and treatment packages.
“As a result, it is known that 27 general insurance companies and standalone health insurance companies are offering more than 140 policy products covering one or more systems of Ayush treatments,” Kotecha said.
He further said that the ministry has been discussing with IRDAI “to broaden the scope of insurance coverage and empanelment criteria of AYUSH hospitals and day care centres.”
While Kotecha did not elaborate further on what kind of packages are under discussion, the source in the ministry said it is discussing packages under central government’s Ayushman Bharat scheme along with other proposals pending with IRDAI. “The packages for Ayushman Bharat have still not been finalised. Also, some companies are offering interesting packages but IRDAI approvals are pending,” the source said. There are a few hospitalisation procedures, which are under discussion with companies, the source added.
The government is talking to companies to expand the benefits as many policies do not cover day care treatment expenses, post and pre-hospitalisation charges, or outpatient expenses, the source explained.
So far, the companies sell the insurance packages by pitching Ayush as a highly effective treatment especially in managing health and non-surgical or non-invasive treatments.
According to IRDAI gazette notification, insurance companies are allowed to provide coverage to non-allopathic treatments provided the treatment has been undergone in a government hospital or in any institute recognised by government or accredited by Quality Council of India or other listed institutes.
As per the insurance aggregator Policy Bazaar’s website, “in the past few years, there has been a shift in the thinking of people wherein they have started thinking about alternative treatments… For supporting this, the health insurance companies have started providing AYUSH treatment as a part of their conventional health insurance policies.”