Exploring alternative therapies: Does health insurance cover complementary and alternative medicine?


11 Sep 2023

Understanding the Scope of Coverage for Alternative Medicine in Health Insurance Policies

In recent years, there has been a growing interest in complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) as individuals seek holistic approaches to healthcare. Complementary and alternative medicine includes a diverse range of therapies and practices. As people explore these alternative therapies, a common question arises: Does health insurance cover complementary and alternative medicine? We will delve into the topic of health insurance coverage for complementary and alternative medicine and shed light on what policyholders need to know.

What is complementary and alternative medicine?

Complementary and alternative medicine refers to a diverse range of medical and healthcare practices, products and systems that are used in conjunction with or as alternative therapies to mainstream or conventional medicine.

Complementary and alternative medicine encompasses a wide array of therapies and practices, including:

  • Traditional medicine systems are indigenous medical systems that have been practised for centuries and are deeply rooted in specific cultures like ayurveda.

  • Mind-body practices emphasize the connection between the mind and body and include techniques such as meditation & yoga.

  • Biologically based therapies include treatments that utilise natural substances, such as herbs, dietary supplements, vitamins and other natural products.

  • Manipulative and body-based practices involve physical manipulation or movement of the body to promote health and well-being.

Does health insurance cover complementary and alternative medicine?

In India, health insurance coverage for complementary medicine and alternative medicine is not typically provided under standard mediclaim policies. Here are some key points to consider regarding health insurance coverage for complementary and alternative medicine:

  • Review the policy documents carefully to understand the specific complementary and alternative medicine treatments that are included or excluded from critical illness cover.

  • Complementary and alternative medicine therapies commonly include homeopathy and ayurvedic treatments in health insurance plans.

  • If you choose to receive complementary and alternative medicine treatments from these network providers, you may be eligible for cashless treatment.

  • Pre-authorization or documentation is required to approve complementary and alternative medicine treatments.

  • Complementary and alternative medicine treatments often have limits on the coverage amount for different treatments and services.

  • Complementary and alternative medicine may have waiting periods before you can claim coverage for such treatments.

  • Even if your health insurance plan covers complementary and alternative medicine therapies, you may still be responsible for out-of-pocket expenses. These expenses can include deductibles, copayments or coinsurance.

  • Health savings accounts (HSAs) and flexible spending accounts (FSAs) are financial tools that can be used to pay for complementary and alternative medicine therapies. Utilising HSAs or FSAs can help alleviate the financial burden of complementary and alternative medicine therapies not fully covered by your insurance plan.

In conclusion

As individuals explore complementary and alternative medicine for their healthcare needs, understanding health insurance coverage is crucial. It's important to review your policy, inquire with kotak health insurance and understand the extent of coverage, exclusions and limitations for complementary and alternative medicine treatments.

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Team Kotak GIC

The content of this blog has been created and carefully reviewed by the esteemed team at Kotak General Insurance, with the sole purpose of providing valuable guidance and sharing insights on the importance of general insurance. Our objective is to assist users in making informed decisions when purchasing or renewing insurance policies for their cars, bikes, and health. Our expertly curated information aims to empower our readers with the knowledge they need to protect their valuable assets and financial interests.