Mediclaim policyholders, who are not satisfied with the service of their existing service providers, will be able to switch to another insurer soon without any change in the premium outgo.
However, this facility will be available to those policyholders who are insured for a sum of Rs 1 lakh and above, to begin with. It has been decided to widen the cover, according to the recommendation submitted by the General Insurance Council, an association of non-life insurers.
Issues have been sorted out and it has been suggested that portability would be allowed for sum insured over Rs 1 lakh, General Insurance Council secretary-general S L Mohan said.
Insurers will be able to sell such health covers once the regulator has approved it, he added. The policyholders will be
able to switch their health cover providers with the same benefits retained once they have bought this cover.
At present, a policyholder is given health cover for a year and the same has to be renewed every year. If there is no claim, the policyholder is entitled to a bonus in the form of increased sum and for every claim-free year, this bonus gets accumulated.
However, under the proposed new policy, after the expiry of the term, if one intends to switch over to a new company, the accumulated bonus is not carried forward and one has to start all over again.
For senior citizens it becomes all the more difficult because companies are reluctant to sell new Mediclaim policies to the elderly.
Two insurers do not generally have identical mediclaim policy and so both the industry and the regulator are working out a minimum benefit that would be carried forward in case of change of the insurer.
The industry also expected to set the guaranteed minimum covers as agreed by companies which can be carried along to a new company. This will allow the insured to know the facilities he can carry to the new company.