There is a need to design special insurance products for disabled citizens to bring India at par with developed countries and global insurance module standards, as well as creating mechanisms for addressing concerns and grievances.

“Challenges are diverse and so are the solutions. While India is in its early stages of insurance development compared to developed countries, we’re committed to ensuring improvements and enhancing the insurance landscape,” said Pankaj Tewari, General Manager, IRDAI.

The comments were part of discussions on Friday between insurance companies and stakeholders to make health insurance products for disabled people. The meet was organised by National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (NCPEDP), National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in collaboration with disability rights groups and IRDAI.

Other challeneges

Discussions entailed challenges in access to insurance, affordability, comprehensive access to assistive products. In addition, participants highlighted severe gaps in health insurance coverage for disabled people, which include denial of coverage, inconsistent testing requirements, and limited coverage for specific needs.

Following the Delhi High Court’s directive in December 2022, IRDAI had in February 2023 mandated insurers to offer annual health coverage to PWDs (persons with disabilities), HIV-positive, and mentally disabled individuals.The regulator had asked all insurance companies to devise inclusive insurance products aligned with their specific requirements.

While insurers have since introduced the mandatory standardised products, off-take has been weak owing to structural and operational issues such as lack of awareness, limited or inadequate coverage, denial of coverage, lack of agent training and sensitisation, and non-adherence to accessibility standards by insurers.