Mental health presents a wide array of complex issues, including how insurance companies respond to customers with mental health issues. Australians who suffer from a mental health illness are protected under Australian law. If an insurance company has denied you cover under an insurance policy, rejected your claim, or has asked you to pay an increased premium because of a mental illness or mental health issue, you have legal rights.
Insurance law and insurance policy decisions
Both state and Commonwealth law dictate that it is against the law to discriminate against someone because they have a disability. Mental illness is considered a disability under these laws. There are conditions that apply to these laws. An insurance company can discriminate if, and only if, the following conditions are met:
- The insurance company’s decision is reasonable according to statistical and actuarial data
- The insurance company’s decision takes many different factors into account. This may include the mental health condition, the severity, the impact on you, your treatment, and your recovery plan.
When might discrimination occur?
Discrimination commonly occurs when:
- You let an insurance company know about your illness and your premiums increase
- An insurance company offers you terms that include conditions about not claiming for a mental health diagnosis, even other than your current diagnosed mental illness
- A claim that you have made to an insurance agency is rejected as it is related to your mental health
- Your insurance policy is cancelled because the insurer says you did not tell them about your mental health illness, including any particular symptoms.
Discrimination law is a complex area of Australian law. Before you lodge a formal complaint or file a case with a court or tribunal, it is important to seek legal advice about your issue.
A mental illness is an illness like any other, and it is illegal to discriminate against someone on the basis of their mental illness.