Need Health Insurance for Alternative Medicine?

Health insurance plans offer protection against skyrocketing medical costs arising due to an illness, injury or other medical condition. A right health insurance coverage provides you a peace of mind, as it covers health-related costs.

Many people nowadays are looking for the natural way of treatment and they are opting for alternative treatments, including Ayurveda, Homeopathy, Yoga, Siddha, Acupuncture, and Acupressure among others. Alternative treatment refers to medical treatments that are used as an alternative to traditional therapies.

A key principle behind the alternative medicine or AYUSH is balance that helps to restore health. Alternative medicine focuses on ‘whole-body care’ and it also strengthens your emotional, mental and spiritual health. Other benefits that it offers include, pain relief, cost-effective, fewer or no side effects, alleviate symptoms of cancer, and many others.

Considering the key benefits of natural therapies, some insurers have started offering health insurance for alternative medicine. New India Assurance, Star Health Insurance, Apollo Munich, Religare Health Insurance and Max Bupa have started offering coverage for alternative medicine.

Still, there are a few insurance companies who don’t cover for such treatments.

Reasons for Not Covering Alternative Treatments

Some insurance companies deny to cover the expenses incurred due to alternative treatments. Following are its key reasons.

  • Varying Treatment Cost: The cost of AYUSH treatment is not standardized, which makes tough for insurers to identify the insurance coverage that can easily meet the treatment costs. Insurers are also not aware of the medical conditions, when such treatment becomes extremely necessary to give a relief to the patient.
  • No Regulatory Body: There is a lack of a central body/organization that can regulate this alternative medication. In this scenario, insurers don’t have much clarity about the treatment procedures and other related information. It poses a difficult situation for insurers to underwrite policies.

IRDAI Regulations

In the year 2013, IRDAI has asked insurance companies to cover the non-allopathic and alternative treatments in health care policies. This notification provides the flexibility for policyholders to receive coverage for ayush treatments, but with conditions and limit on the coverage amount allocated towards such treatments. The treatment must be received in a hospital or institution recognized by the Government of India, accredited by NABH or Quality Council of India.

Extent of Coverage

Health cover for AYUSH treatments is available with the selected health insurance products. The coverage for such treatments is bundled with a comprehensive health insurance plan. The premium is also higher for a plan with ayush treatments. An insurance company would typically charge 5 to 10% less for a regular health plan compared to a plan with ayush benefits.

In order to get the cover for such treatments, you need to buy a standard health insurance plan which covers alternative treatments. You should read all the terms & conditions such as AYUSH network hospitals, coverage available, inclusions & exclusions applicable.

Insurance companies put a limit on the cover amount available for ayush treatment and it is available in the range of 7.5% to 25% of sum assured applicable under the policy. This limit may differ from one insurer to another.


Health Insurance Plans with cover for Alternative medicine

  • Tata AIG MediPrime- Cashless Health Insurance

MediPrime – cashless health insurance policy provides cover against all hospitalization expenses with no co-payment applicable on health expenses. This health plan assures you get the cashless mediclaim in just 4 hours.

It covers medical expenses incurred under AYUSH treatment. Under this policy, in-patient Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha, or Homeopathy treatment is covered up to Rs 20,000/Rs 25,000, when sum insured is Rs 2, 3, 4 Lacs/Rs 5, 7.5, 10 Lacs, respectively.


  • HDFC ERGO Health Suraksha

Health Suraksha Plan from HDFC ERGO offers you & your family a comprehensive cove against hospitalization expenses, pre & post hospitalization, domiciliary treatment, day care procedures and many more.

It reimburses expenses incurred for in-patient treatment under Homeopathy, Ayurveda, Siddha or Unani.


  • Chola Individual Healthline Insurance Policy

Chola Individual Healthline Insurance Policy covers the costs incurred due to medical exigencies. Under this policy, you can avail cover for each insured on an individual sum insured basis.

This health policy provides cover for Ayurvedic Therapy Treatments up to 7.5% of SI (specific treatments only) and 20% co-payment. This benefit is applicable under only advanced variant of the policy.


Conclusion

More and more individuals have started choosing the alternative treatment as a way of healing. It is becoming a popular approach for prevention of illnesses. You can opt for health insurance for alternative medicine, but before buying health cover you should know about the coverage available and then choose a right health insurance plan that provides coverage of such treatments for your entire family.

Harjot Singh Narula

Harjot Narula is founder and CEO of ComparePolicy.com, an IRDAI approved insurance web aggregator focussed on selling online insurance for companies. Harjot has more than a decade of experience in software development and has also spent 5 years in US working for the mortgage and risk management industry.

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