Popular Insurance Plans Covering Autism in India
Autism or Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a complicated condition. It results in problems with communication and behaviour. Symptoms of autism typically appear or become evident in a child of around three years. People with autism find it hard to understand what other people think or feel.
What is Autism?
The word “autism” comes from the Greek word “autos”, meaning self. Patients are literally lost in their own world. They do not seem to care or understand other people. They are also equally uninterested in communicating their thoughts and feelings. They may have problems with learning, and their skills might develop unevenly.
They will seem to be not interested in communication with others. However, they might be very good at mathematics, art, music or memory. They might be very good at tests involving analysis or problem-solving.
- Trouble with changes in routine
- Very few interests or disproportionately high interest in certain areas
- Not listening to others while being talked to
- Lack of eye contact
- Higher than ordinary sensitivity to certain sounds, touches, smells or sights
- Not being able to understand gestures, tone of voice or facial expressions
- Not looking at people while being talked to
- Not wanting to be held or cuddled
- Repeatedly doing certain things like saying words or rocking back and forth,
- Not looking at things being pointed at by other people
- Talking as if singing a song or in a flat or robotic voice
We don’t know with a lot of accuracy what happens in autism. It could be caused by parts of the brain that interpret language and process sensory input. We do know some risk factors which may cause autism:
- Family history of autism
- An older parent
- Substance abuse by mother during pregnancy
- Diabetic mother
- Obese mother
During the development screening tests of a child, the medical practitioner may notice some symptoms. They may refer the child to a specialist who might confirm autism after conducting specialised tests.
No known cure is present for autism. However, early detection and treatment can help a lot. Typically the medical professional may prescribe one of the following treatments based on the case:
- Communication therapy
- Behaviour therapy
- Occupational therapy teaching the child basic life skills
- Sensory integration therapy
- Speech therapy
- Medication for attention, anxiety or hyperactivity
- Complementary therapies like swimming, horse riding, interacting with animals, music and art.
- Special diets and supplements as suggested by the physician
Functioning as an Adult and Contributing to Society
Autism is a spectrum. Some may be on the low-intensity side, while some may be on the high side. Some children can grow up to be reasonably functioning and productive adults. But some others may consistently need care, assistance and treatment.
Mental Health Insurance for Autism
Currently, only a few insurance companies provide mental health insurance for autism. Some insurance companies may offer a customised package to cover autism. However, the options are quite limited.
The government of India has floated the Niramaya scheme for children with developmental disabilities. This scheme covers autism, cerebral palsy and similar conditions. This scheme offers a sum assured of ₹1 Lakh.
It covers certain Outpatient departments or OPD treatments. It also covers hospitalisation for surgical and non-surgical corrective procedures.
The annual premium for families with a monthly income less than ₹15 thousand is ₹250. The annual premium for families with a monthly income of more than ₹15 thousand is ₹500.
Know more about the scheme here.
Star Special Care from Star Health Insurance
It is a policy specifically designed for children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Entry age is between 3 years and 25 years. It includes a regular indemnity health cover, and all daycare procedures are covered. It also covers behavioural therapy, physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy under OPD.
Very few insurance companies and the basic coverage from the government is all that we have. Therefore, you should chart down your own specific treatment requirements, and choose plans, accordingly.