If the Insurance Regulatory Development Authority (IRDA) has its way, then people infected with HIV have a cause for celebration - they will soon have health insurance.
To be implemented as early as 1st October 2012, IRDA has released an exposure draft, proposing to make it compulsory for insurers to provide cover to people suffering from HIV. This is also for people who are exposed to the threat of being infected with HIV.
'Persons who are not yet showing AIDS symptoms but are in stage 1 or 2 of HIV infection and those who comply with the treatment protocol of the medication can avail of this cover,' said the IRDA circular.
IRDA has further explained that insurers would not be allowed to reject claims from a person who was HIV negative before the policy, but subsequently got infected. It stated that insurance companies can term HIV/AIDS as a critical illness and also provide the cover under group insurance schemes
The draft further says that all life and non-life insurers will 'have to put in place an underwriting policy on health insurance coverage for persons suffering from HIV.' It has invited comments from insurers within a months' time.
However, the biggest challenge to the proposal is in deciding the pricing of these products, as there is shortage of data for analysis and research in the health insurance sector.