If you harbour a general mistrust of allopathic medicines and worry about alternative healthcare systems, like Ayurveda, Unani, homoeopathy, Siddha and acupuncture, being left out of health insurance policies, good news: change is in the air.
Encouraged by insurance regulator IRDA’s (Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority) approval last year, insurers are finally launching policies for individuals which extend cover to such alternative healthcare systems.
In India, about 60% of registered physicians now are non-allopathic practitioners. Insurers foresee a huge market in this category. “It is a potential market that can be tapped, considering the popularity of these treatments,” said an official of a standalone health insurance company.
But don’t expect a full-fledged insurance cover just as yet. Policyholders are unlikely to gain fully as only outpatient department (OPD) treatments will be covered under the proposed benefits.
Currently, state-owned New India Assurance and private insurers, such as HDFC Ergo and Star Health, include alternative treatments under their group cover, while Future Generali extends such a cover under its corporate group insurance.