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Mahua Venkatesh, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, October 20, 2013
If you are worried about your health insurance premium going up because you have made a claim, there is good news. Insurance companies will no longer be able to increase the premium or charge a “load” (industry parlance for a hike in premiums) based on previous claims.
Not just that. Insurance companies will no longer be able to refuse renewal of health insurance policies because of claims made in previous years. 

The Insurance Regulatory Development Authority (IRDA), the insurance industry regulator, has recently directed insurance companies to renew all policies and barred insurers from hiking premiums based on claims.

This directive will remove a major ground for disputes between insurance companies and people who buy medical insurance policies. Insurers raise premiums, often arbitrarily, when renewing policies on the grounds that the insured has lodged claims in previous years. There are also several instances of insurers refusing to renew policies of senior citizens or others on the grounds that they have made “excessive claims”.

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“The removal of claims-based loading will ensure that the purpose of buying health insurance is not defeated and customers are not penalised for placing claims before their insurer. Lifelong renewals will help those who need coverage in their old age, given the high incidence of lifestyle ailments and age-related diseases,” said Antony Jacob, CEO, Apollo Munich Health Insurance.

“The IRDA directive will provide insured persons with the full benefit of health insurance,” added Tapan Singhel, MD & CEO, Bajaj Allianz General Insurance.