Does Health Insurance Cover Depression?

By Laxita Gautam
  | Published: 21 October 2021

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Mental illness has been a taboo subject for a very long time. From not being recognized as actual illnesses to being treated as an embarrassing ailment, there are several challenges that the mental health field faces. However, with the recent support and recognition across the globe, mental health issues have been destigmatized to a great extent. Mental illnesses are not as big of taboo as they were at some point. Depression is one of the most common psychological disorders seen among adults, teens and children alike. The treatment costs are no less than what they are like with physical diseases. This begs the need to ask the big question - does health insurance cover depression? If yes, what are the elements covered? What is depression like? What can you do to treat and overcome it? Let’s cover everything you need to know in this aspect.

What is Depression?

Depression is a common but serious mood disorder. It renders a negative effect on the patient and influences the way they feel and conducts themselves on a daily basis. The patient tends to experience emotional distress due to overwhelming sadness, hopelessness, feelings of loss in interest in daily activities coupled with general annoyance, anxiety, and irritability. The affected mood often impacts daily activities and this ultimately affects the quality of life and may even manifest itself as physical symptoms. People from all age groups can be affected by depression for a variety of reasons. However, the symptoms may present differently in patients of different age groups.

Does Health Insurance Cover Depression?

Unlike the olden times, medical insurance in the UAE covers several psychological disorders including depression. Many insurance providers also offer specialized mental health insurance plans as well. You can choose to have special coverage if needed. Mental illnesses are regarded on par with physical illnesses by medical insurance companies in the UAE now. Hence, the coverage scope is also similar. From hospitalization to therapy sessions, diagnostic tests, pharmaceuticals and other services. Some medical insurance in the UAE may also include consultations, rehabilitation, counseling, etc.

Symptoms of Depression

The key symptoms of depression can slightly differ in adults and children. Given below is the list of symptoms for both adults and children to identify depression in its early stages:

Main Symptoms in Adults

  • Irritation and aggressiveness
  • Anxiety and restlessness
  • Lack of interest in activities and reduced concentration
  • Insomnia and suicidal thoughts
  • The feeling of sadness, hopelessness, and emptiness
  • Constant fatigue and headache
  • Loss of appetite and weight
  • Reduced social interaction

Key Symptoms in Children

  • Persistent crying and irritation
  • Tardiness and fatigue
  • Digestive problems
  • Sudden weight loss or gain
  • Lack of interest in activities and social scenarios

Grief vs Depression – What are the Key Differences?

People confuse depression with grief more often than not and vice versa. Since the feeling of sadness is common in both these conditions, it is easy to get mix up these conditions. Grieving is different from depression in the way that the sufferer has desires to withdraw from the world in the latter. Here is a list of ways in which both are different:

  • The biggest difference is the presence of a subject. Grief is often caused by a singular big incident and it is easily identifiable. Depression, however, does not come with a singular loss that can be easily pointed out.
  • Self-esteem takes a hit when depression is concerned. While when in grief, your self-esteem remains intact even though you are going through a tough time.
  • When depressed, sadness becomes a state instead of a mood shift. Your mood stays the same for at least two weeks when depression is concerned. The feeling of sadness comes and goes when you are in grief. On top of that, the sadness will be connected to the memories of the person or thing that you are mourning.
  • Thoughts related to death and suicide are not very common when you are in grief. If they happen to surface, it is mostly accompanied by the thought of joining the deceased person. On the other hand, suicidal thoughts are very common in depression. The patient feels undeserving or worthless which leads to suicidal thoughts.  

Depression Diagnosis and Treatment

Unlike physical illnesses, depression is not diagnosed through diagnostic tests. A series of physical and psychological examinations are conducted by professionals to diagnose depression. This can include observing the daily routine and habits of the patient. The doctor may ask questions about sleep patterns, prominent thoughts, mood, appetite, etc. as well. General tests for thyroid and vitamin D deficiency may be prescribed though. A malfunctioning thyroid and deficiency of vitamin D may cause depression-like symptoms.

A combination of psychotherapy sessions and medicines is used to treat depression efficiently. During therapy sessions, patients talk to a therapist and get help in coping with the troubles they are facing. Other forms of therapy include light therapy and alternative medicine and therapy. Light exposure is used to elevate moods. Alternative therapies can include acupuncture and meditation. Medicines used to treat depression can include antidepressants, antianxiety medicine, and antipsychotic drugs.  

What are the Exclusions of Mental Health Insurance Plans?

  • Mental disorders due to substance abuse or misuse.
  • Recurring disorders indicate that the treatment regime was not followed properly before.
  • Outpatient treatment and consultations.
  • Services are taken from medical facilities outside of the network.
  • Services are taken from medical facilities that are not on par with hygiene and service standards set in the UAE.

What are the Other Diseases Covered by Mental Health Insurance Plans?

Apart from depression, the following are the disorders that medical insurance in the UAE may cover:

  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Anxiety
  • Dementia
  • Bipolar disorder
  • PTSD or post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Hyperactivity disorder
  • Mood disorder
  • Schizophrenia
  • Psychotic disorder

Waiting Period for Depression Cover

The waiting period is the amount of time you may have to wait after buying your medical insurance in the UAE before the cover for depression can start. Depending on the provider and the plan you have chosen, the duration of waiting period may vary from 6 months to 2 years. A waiting period of 2 years would mean that you have to stay on the same plan and renew it for 2 consecutive years before being eligible for mental disorder treatment benefits. Most medical insurances in the UAE may require you to be hospitalized for a minimum of 24 hours before you can raise a claim for treatment of depression.

Should You Buy a Mental Health Insurance Plan?

Mental illnesses are as prominent as physical illnesses, maybe even more in some cases. And just like it is with physical illnesses, it is very expensive to get a mental disorder treated with good quality medical services. Medical insurance in the UAE with mental illness cover becomes an important thing to have for most of us in this sense. Make it a priority to get mental illness covered if you have a family history of any of the disorders from the commonly prevailing ones or have experienced the symptoms of one before. People who have had traumatic experiences in life are also advised to get medical insurance in the UAE with mental illness cover.

The Final Word

Medical insurance in the UAE has evolved to accommodate a variety of requirements. Covers for depression and other psychological disorders have made it easy for patients to seek medical help without feeling financially burdened. Just make sure that you have selected the right coverage as per your needs. Weigh the benefits and compare the options you have in front of you. Take assistance from finance and business experts at Policybazaar UAE to choose the best medical insurance in the UAE. Compare and buy the plans all in one place with zero hassle of moving around to different places. Keep your medical insurance in the UAE completed with required coverages so that you never have to face hardships when it comes to getting good quality healthcare services for depression or any other mental or physical illness.

Laxita Gautam
Laxita Gautam

Senior Content Writer | She functions on classic British fiction, Japanese manga, and strong americanos. Laxita is tailor-made to create engaging, interactive pieces that offer simplified insights into complex subjects.