Thursday, October 18, 2012

Does Your Professional Group Health Insurance Cover Internet Addiction Therapy?

Even though the sheer usefulness of the internet had brought us good things like e-commerce and closer social connectivity, but should we be protected from the negative effects of “internet addiction”?

By: Ringo Bones

Back around the middle of August 2012, Time magazine published an article on a recent study revolving around “internet addiction” or “online addiction”. Believe it or not, of the ones’ surveyed, 84% who own internet connected mobile devices can’t go on a single day without checking their various social network updates. While a third of them suffers some form of psychological anxiety attack if they can’t check the status of their social networks on a daily basis. Given that a growing number of us – especially those working for advertising firms – where the information superhighway of the internet is their primary workplace be provided some form of occupational health coverage – i.e. a health insurance policy that provides coverage for internet addiction therapy or rehab?

Though what constitutes internet addiction is still, at present, too broad and somewhat vague to be seriously considered by most occupational health insurance providers, some leading authorities on internet addiction in Europe, like Germany’s Dr. Klaus Wölfling who is the current vice leader of the Interdisciplinary Addiction Group Berlin, has already collected enough data to prove that internet addiction – like other substance and behavioral addictions – is a real but treatable psychological disorder. The still fledgling internet addiction treatment center in Charité Hospital in Berlin now caters for the rehab of persons in their teens that are hooked on massive multi-player online role playing games.

Even though therapeutic and rehab regimen for internet addiction may still be in its infancy, there are already occupational health insurance policies already in existence that can easily be tailored to accommodate for the costs of internet addiction therapy. As far back as the post World War II economic boom in America and Western Europe, there already exists the proviso of the group accident and health protection insurance coverage in the form of professional group insurance tailored to certain professional groups – such as doctors, dentists, and pharmacists that had since been developed and widely marketed by insurance providers.

Usually such plans are written through the professional association and restricted to members. Premiums are paid by the individual directly to the company and frequently at a lower rate than for individual policies with the same benefits. The group policy may be non-cancellable for individual members but may be cancelled for the whole society if the company finds its experience unsatisfactory. Similar group accident and health policies are issued to unions for their members.

But what about those whose occupations or professions that require surfing the internet on a daily basis, like those in the advertising industry checking out the day’s leading social media trends or those whose are paid to beta test massive multiplayer online roll playing games for bugs, shouldn’t they too have a “professional group insurance policy” that covers rehab for internet addiction psychotherapy? Maybe such professional group insurance with health coverage on the cost of internet addiction therapy already exists out there, but they might be not as widely marketed in comparison to policies that don’t cover internet addiction rehab.    

1 comment:

April Rain said...

Seen the documentary on Dr. Klaus Wölfling and his research on internet addiction - very informative on how massive multi-player online role playing games can be very, very addictive.