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Health insurance for alternative medicine

Some may call it placebo while some may refer to it as unscientific. But the fact remains several alternative modes of treatment have been gaining popularity over the years. From Ayurveda, Unani, Homeopathy, Sigdha and naturopathy the options are many today, when it comes to such alternative forms of medicine. In many of the cases, treatments are often accompanied by allopathic treatments.

As a sign of increasing popularity, health insurance companies have also started offering cover for such alternative forms of treatment after a regulation was passed by Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDA) in 2013 to this affect. But before you take alternative medication cover, understanding the finer details is essential to ensure optimum protection and no claim denial.

Alternative medicine treatment options and health insurance
While alternative forms of treatment have been popular in India from time immemorial, the lack of any central nodal agency and research meant that they were not part of any health insurance policies. Allopathic treatment with their clarity over treatment options made it easier for insures to underwrite a health insurance policy. A vast discrepancy in costs for various forms of treatment also made it difficult for health insurance companies to offer protection against such treatments.

With the IRDA suggestions and ever increasing popularity of alternative treatments, health insurers are now offering cover for alternative medicines along with allopathic treatment. The key however is in the detailing and a cover does not ensure you can seek alternative treatment from just about any practitioner.

Things to note before opting for health insurance for alternative medicine
Before you go all out and make a health insurance policy purchase, here are some essential details to ensure an optimum policy.

No standalone cover for alternative medication: If you are looking for a standalone cover for alternative treatment, you are likely to be in for a surprise. No health insurer offers a standalone health insurance just for alternative modes of treatment. You will need to buy a standard health insurance cover which will also cover non-allopathic treatments as per the policy terms and conditions.

Treatment from non recognized institutions not covered: Alternative treatment covers are valid only if the policyholder undergoes treatment in institutions recognized by the government or accredited by Quality Council of India or National Accreditation Board on Health. Any modes of treatment by individual healers or institutions not recognized by NABH are not under the ambit of your health cover plan.

Know the maximum cap for alternative modes of treatment: Most health insurance plans offering cover for alternative treatment forms have a maximum cap for such treatments. Knowing the maximum limit can help you ensure optimal treatment without claim denial.

Popular health insurance plans offering cover for alternative medicine
The cubic capacity of your car's engine has a direct correlation with the insurance premium. The insurance regulator Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDA) approves third party insurance rates as per the cubic capacity of the engine of the automobile. The third party insurance rates for FY 2017-18 are as follows.

HDFC ERGO Health Suraksha Plan: is a popular plan that offer cover for medical expenses for in-patient treatment taken under Ayurveda, Unani, Sidha or Homeopathy along with offering in-patient treatment costs, pre-hospitalization and post-hospitalization expenses.

Tata AIG MediPrime: The policy covers expenses incurred for In-patient treatment taken under Ayurveda, Unani, Sidha or Homeopathy. Ayush benefits offer reimbursement of medical expenses up to Rs. 20,000 for sum insured from 2 Lakhs to Rs. 4 Laksh and up to Rs. 25,000 for sum insured between Rs.5 Lakhs to Rs. 10 Lakhs per policy year.

New India Mediclaim Policy: New India Mediclaim Policy offers cover for alternative treatment. Ayurvedic, homoeopathic or unani treatment with a maximum cap of 25% of the Sum Insured provided the treatment is taken in a government Hospital or in any institute accredited by Quality Council of India or National Accreditation Board on Health.

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