‘IRDAI cannot be blind’: Delhi High Court raps insurance watchdog over non-implementation of Mental Healthcare Law

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April 19, 2021 9:16 PM

The court's observations came while hearing a woman's plea whose claim for reimbursement of costs for treatment of schizophrenia were rejected.

G Srinivasan, director, National Insurance Academy, said there is a 90% protection gap in the country and there is an urgent need to plug the increasing uninsured economic losses and loss of lives.G Srinivasan, director, National Insurance Academy, said there is a 90% protection gap in the country and there is an urgent need to plug the increasing uninsured economic losses and loss of lives.

The Delhi High Court on Monday pulled up insurance regulator IRDAI for “turning a blind eye” towards non-implementation of Mental Healthcare Act by insurance companies, saying the day was not far when action will be taken against it. Justice Prathiba M Singh said that the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) was supposed to supervise the insurance companies and ensure they comply with the law.

“(I am) clearly getting the feeling that IRDAI is not taking action against insurance companies and only taking steps once court issues notice,” Justice Singh said. “It is very unfair what is going on. IRDAI cannot become blind to what is happening. You (IRDAI) cannot be blind,” the court said and added “the day is not far when action will have to be taken against IRDAI”.

The court’s observations came while hearing a woman’s plea whose claim for reimbursement of costs for treatment of schizophrenia were rejected by the National Insurance Company Ltd (NICL) on the ground that psychiatric disorders were excluded from medical cover. The court said the Act came into effect from 2018 and it provides that insurance companies cannot make a distinction between mental and physical illnesses.

Therefore, it was the duty of IRDAI to ensure the insurance companies’ products or policies are in line with the Act, the court said. “IRDAI cannot turn a blind eye to the non-implementation of the Act by the insurance companies,” the court said and asked the regulator to call for reports from other insurers regarding any such claims as made in the instant case.

 

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