Three lakh cover for kids with autism a good start, but not enough say many parents

The decision by private insurance company Star Health to offer medical insurance of Rs 3 lakh for children with autism has led to mixed reactions from parents and experts.

Centre has Niramaya insurance scheme of Rs 1 lakh to kids with special needs

This is India's first dedicated scheme for children with autism. A neurological disorder, autism roughly affects 1 in every 68 children and is characterised by developmental delays and poor communication skills. Children need help in the form of speech, physio and behavioural therapies that could cumulatively cost over Rs 1,000 daily.

Many parents say that the announcement is at least a start. But some parents say that it covers only people in the 3-25 age group, which is not enough. Also only Rs 1,500 is being offered in an insured year towards rehabilitation therapy, which is inadequate.

This is a problem as rehabilitation services are mainly available in the private sector. While it is free in the public sector, it is not widely available for all children to be covered.

But most parents believe its a start and that more companies will soon start offering similar schemes.

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