Why are travel insurers still denying mental health cover?

A CHOICE mystery shop of 15 travel insurance providers finds discrimination against people with mental health conditions. 

The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) has also played a major part in pushing the industry toward fairer treatment of people living with a mental illness. 

In a 2021 report, PIAC highlighted cases where travel insurance claims for mental health cover were unfairly denied. 

In one, a woman who suffered a severe panic attack while travelling in Thailand and spent a few days in the hospital, had her claim for medical expenses rejected on the grounds of a blanket mental health exclusion. The insurer also implied the panic attack would be classed as a pre-existing condition due to the woman experiencing postnatal depression 16 years earlier. 

The PIAC has provided legal representation for many people who have been similarly treated, and won some cases. But the isolated wins don’t seem to have added up to systemic change.

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