Health Insurance Portability has finally arrived in India. After too much chopping and changing, the IRDA (Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority) has finally given its nod to the much awaited facility.
According to the provision, IRDA has made it possible for health insurance policyholders to switch insurers if they are unhappy with the services of their present insurance company.
Health Insurance: Then
Earlier, if one wished to discontinue the services of a health insurance provider, he or she would have to start afresh by investing in a new health insurance plan (while discarding the old one). In such instances, the insured would have to wait for three to four years for pre-existing diseases to be covered in the new policy. Moreover, one would also lose loyalty benefits like no-claim bonus, etc. earned with the previous insurer.
Health Insurance: Now
IRDA has now made it mandatory for health insurance companies in India to offer a switching facility. Whether you are dissatisfied with your current insurer, shifting from one location to another, or feel that the features of some other health insurance plan aremore suited to your requirements - you can easily opt to ‘switch’ from one policy provider to another, while carrying forward the loyalty benefits!
Things to Keep In Mind
While changing your insurer you have to keep in mind that you would be subject to the prevailing underwriting laws and procedures of the new insurance provider. In some cases one might have to go through the underwriting process all over again. This is because premiums vary as per age, changing health conditions, diagnosis at the time of opting for portability, etc.
Also, one can only receive the ‘no-claim’ loyalty bonus only if the policy has been continued without any break, i.e. all the premiums have been paid on time. In addition, the new insurer might issue a health insurance planaccording to:
- New terms and conditions
- Additional waiting periods for certain diseases
- Additional charges as prescribed by the underwriters
- A revised list of network hospitalsand ailments covered
Hence, one should take insurance portability decisionsonly after carefully scrutinizing all the relevant conditions andweighing the pros and cons.
Which plans are included?
Portability is applicable to all individual health plans including family floater policies. In case you are a part of group insurance policy, you will first have to migrate to an individual policy from the same insurer and then apply for portability after one year.
Once you decide to port out, you will have to applyto the new health insurance company before 45 days of the expiry to the existing policy, failing to which the new insurer can reject your application.
Hence, while Health Insurance Portability is a much needed addition by IRDA, read the offer documents carefully before signing the dotted line!