HC pans IRDAI for calling disabled “sub-standard lives”, says they can’t be denied health cover

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Observing that Right to life Includes Right to Health, Delhi High Court It has directed the Insurance Regulatory Commission to call a meeting of all insurance companies to formulate Medical insurance It is better to introduce schemes for disabled people within two months.

The court also asked the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) should take immediate steps to replace the words “sub-standard living” in their regulations to ensure that such “unacceptable terms” are not used when referring to persons with disabilities.

Justice Pradeepa M Singh said that persons with disabilities are entitled to health insurance coverage and cannot be discriminated against.

“It is a well-established position of law that right to life includes health and hygiene… The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 leaves no ambiguity regarding the right of persons with disabilities. Looking at Section 3, 25 and 26 of Insurance, discrimination against persons with disabilities in so far as health and other related aspects are concerned. clarifies that no,” the court said in a recent order. “As per the circular dated June 2, 2020, IRDAI will call a meeting of all insurance companies to ensure that products are designed for PWDs and other persons. The process of designing such products will be monitored by IRDAI and ensure that the said products are introduced at an early date, preferably within two months,” he said.

The court’s order was passed on a petition by an investment professional who was confined to a wheelchair due to tetraplegia and paralyzed below the chest.

He approached the court after two insurance companies refused to issue him a health insurance policy.

The court held that the 2006 United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities in the provision of health insurance, and that the insurance companies’ rejection of the petitioner’s proposal in this case with implicit rejection letters was disconcerting. .

The court said that insurance coverage cannot be rejected or denied to a disabled person irrespective of his economic status and asked the insurance providers to consider the petitioner’s case for issuing a health insurance policy.

“This court is of the view that there is no doubt that persons with disabilities will receive health insurance coverage and that products should be designed to enable them to receive health insurance coverage,” the court said.

Even under the regulatory framework, insurance companies are required to provide cover to persons with disabilities, persons with HIV and mental illness and IRDAI is required to ensure that its circulars and other policies are properly implemented by insurers. Companies.

“IRDAI’s stand both in the counter affidavit, circular and oral submissions before this Court is inconsistent with the inaction in bringing the issue to its notice. IRDAI should have stepped up and ensured that insurance companies provide adequate products for persons with disabilities,” the court said.

“The refusal to issue a health insurance policy to the petitioner should have been a wake-up call for IRDAI. Unfortunately, despite the above legal position and IRDAI’s stand on record, there has been a disconnect in implementation,” it added.

The court sought status reports from IRDAI and insurance companies and listed the case for further hearing on March 17. PTI ADS SK SK


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