Don’t like your insurer? Switch to another
If you are not happy with the services or features provided by your health insurer, you can now port your policy to another insurer. The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority had earlier announced that portability would be made available from July this year, but due to lack of data regarding health records and coordination roadblocks, the decision was postponed till October. Deepti Bhaskaran reports. A step-by-step guide to changing your insurerindia Updated: Oct 08, 2011 02:04 IST
If you are not happy with the services or features provided by your health insurer, you can now port your policy to another insurer. The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority had earlier announced that portability would be made available from July this year, but due to lack of data regarding health records and coordination roadblocks, the decision was postponed till October.Here is what is portable and how.
According to the guidelines, only health insurance policies offered by non-life companies are portable. Typically, non-life companies offer indemnity policies and the regulator intends to bring portability to this format of health insurance.
Though the health insurance universe (of non-life companies) also consists of defined benefit policies portability may not apply to these. "Portability is meant for indemnity policies because the benefits are recurring," said Damien Marmion, CEO, Max Bupa Health Insurance.
You can also port your group insurance policy to an individual policy.
What can you port?
In individual policies: Portability of a health policy is limited to time-bound exclusions or waiting period for pre-existing conditions. Waiting period is the time till which you do not get a cover.
Typically, a regular health insurance policy has three kinds of waiting periods. The first is the 30-day waiting period at the time of buying a policy, which means that any hospitalisation expenses on account of an ailment will not be covered in the first 30 days; the second is the waiting period on a pre-existing disease. Pre-existing diseases are those ailments that are present at the time of buying a health insurance policy; the third kind of waiting period pertains to the waiting period on certain specified ailments. For instance, hernia is a common ailment and is excluded in the first two years of the policy.
However, do check the new insurer's definition of a pre-existing disease. If you have made a claim on your policy on account of an ailment, the new insurer may consider that ailment as a pre-existing disease and, therefore, not include it in the initial years since you would be a fresh customer for the insurer. In group policies: The number of years of continuous coverage from your group insurance policy will be used to offset the waiting period, when you port it to an individual health policy.
You need to port at least 45 days before the renewal date of your policy, failing which the new insurer may refuse portability. Typically, health insurance policies are annual contracts. An insurer can also refuse to port if you don't fit the bill as per their underwriting norms, wherein it will assess your medical history, among other factors.