People with mental illnesses sometimes disadvantaged when getting insurance

People with mental illnesses sometimes disadvantaged when getting insurance
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People who have been seen by a psychologist or therapist to receive treatment for a mental illness sometimes experience more difficulties and higher prices when taking out health insurance.

The number of people who have reported finding it more difficult to get insurance or facing higher costs to the VVKP psychologists' association has increased in recent months, according to reports from De Morgen. One person faced a higher premium because they sought help regarding a phobia of spiders, which poses little to no risk to one's health.

"What surprises us, even more, is that when people indicate in a questionnaire that they are following or have followed treatment with a psychologist, this is seen as a risk factor," said spokesperson Koen Lowet, explaining that the issue is also extended to people who end up in psychiatry.

"This makes it more difficult for people to get guaranteed income insurance (protecting the self-employed in the event of loss of income through illness) or debt balance insurance, or for them to have to pay more."

One clinical psychologist said she receives patients who are experiencing problems with their insurers on a weekly basis, even if they were only receiving treatment during a few sessions.

Right to be forgotten?

Assuralia, the sector federation of insurers, says it does not know of any cases of insurers charging higher premiums for debt balance insurance because of treatment by a psychologist.

It added that this is only the case for serious mental illnesses such as schizophrenia or psychosis, based on the risks, which play a role in determining "correct premiums." However, people who receive help for other mental health problems, such as depression or burnout, are also running into problems.

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Economic Affairs Minister Pierre-Yves Dermagne told Belga News Agency that he wants to further extend the so-called "right to be forgotten," which as of February this year, resulted in insurers no longer being able to use a cancerous pathology as grounds to refuse an application for guaranteed income insurance.

This could be extended to various other illnesses, meaning a person's history with this illness can no longer be taken into account by insurance companies. "Possibly, mental illnesses will also be considered for this," he said.

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