But insurance sector officials who Moneycontrol spoke to, said that the premiums will be very high for HIV/AIDS patients
In a big boost to individuals living with HIV/AIDS in India, the insurance regulator has asked companies to stop discriminating against them.
The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has said that HIV-positive individuals cannot be denied insurance, unless supported by actuarial studies.
According to National AIDS Control Organization, there were an estimated 2.14 million people living with HIV in India at the end of 2017.
The regulator has made this mandatory after the HIV and AIDS (Prevention and Control) Act, 2017 came into force from September 10. The Act bars insurance companies from discriminating against HIV-positive individuals.
In a 2013 draft regulation, IRDAI had directed insurers to provide cover to HIV-positive patients. However, insurers had pointed out that lack of adequate data would hinder appropriate pricing of products.
Star Health Insurance's Star Net Plus was the first policy in India to cover HIV-positive individuals. Other insures have stayed away from launching products for HIV/AIDS patients, since they believe the pricing would be unviable.
Insurance companies have to comply to the latest direction with immediate effect. But insurance sector officials who Moneycontrol spoke to, said that the premiums will be very high for HIV/AIDS patients.For instance, if an average health insurance premium is Rs 7,000 per year, it would be 2.5-3 times that for an HIV-positive patient. Similar differences in premium will also be seen for life insurance coverage of a healthy person versus that of an HIV-positive patient.