Till some time back, health insurance policies used to cover only allopathy treatment while ayurveda, homeopathy, naturopathy and unani treatmentswere left out of the ambit. Despite having a comprehensive health insurance planin place, individuals who preferred such systems had to pay out of their own pockets.
These policyholders can now breathe easy as some insurance companies have started including such alternative forms of treatment under their cover, especially ayurveda. “Ayurveda being the most prevalent of the alternate systems, we have designed a product to cover treatments under ayurvedic hospitalization,” says S S Gopalarathnam, managing director, Cholamandalam MS General Insurance.
While some insurers only offer it under their group policies, others have started offering the facility to individual health insurance seekers. PSU insurer New India Assurance and standalone health insurance provider Star Health and Allied Insurance are other insurance companies that have started covering ayurvedic treatments under individual policies. ICICI Lombard General Insurance covers it under government scheme and Future Generali Insurance offers it to corporate group insurance buyers from which employees of the covered company can benefit.
“Our policies as such do not cover any other line of treatment other than allopathy. However, in group policies, if requested for we do offer tailor-made packages to corporate clients to cover ayurvedic treatment subject to certain conditions,” explains Shreeraj Deshpande, head, health insurance, Future Generali.
How did this need to cover alternative forms of medicine in health insurance arise? Gopalarathnam, explains, “During various focus group discussions with customers and agents, we found that for chronic ailments like spondilytis, arthritis and epilepsy, many people preferred alternate streams of treatment such as ayurveda, siddha and homeopathy etc.”
Though the coverage has been expanded, there are curbs on the amount and situations under which it can be claimed.
New India Assurance’s extends cover to individuals undergoing treatment with the help of Ayurvedic, homeopathic and Unani systems of medicine. “Such claims will be covered only to the extent of 25% of sum insured. Also, they need to have availed of the treatment at a government hospital to be eligible for the claim,” informs Segar Sampathkumar, deputy general manager, New India Assurance.
Source : http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2011-07-25/india/29811849_1_shreeraj-deshpande-star-health-psu-insurer