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grace period vs waiting period health insurance

Difference Between Grace Period & Waiting Period Online

In the fastest-growing world economy, health challenges are growing at a rapid pace. Along with increasing health issues, the increasing medical and surgical expenses can burn a big hole in your pocket. In such situations, the health insurance cover plays a crucial role as it covers all essential health benefits that are required to take care of your health. 

At the time of an accident or future planned medical treatment, it protects you from any unexpected high medical costs. So, if you have an appropriate Health Insurance plan, you can get the right treatment at the right time and meet your medical expenses. At the same time, your hard-earned savings do not get jeopardized in the process.

Different health insurance companies provide you different types of health insurance plans. Now, it is your choice to pick a plan that suits your needs and budget, and each policy has its features, terms, and conditions. The grace period and the waiting period are two features of health insurance plans.

What is Grace Period in Health Insurance?

The grace period in health insurance is the extra number of additional days that you get beyond the premium due date to pay the premium for your insurance policy. In case, you miss paying the premium amount on the due date then you can make the payment before the end of the grace period. This does not entail any penalty payment.

During this period, as a policyholder, you get a fair chance to pay the premium without any penalty. Most insurance providers offer 15 days Grace period for the payment of medical insurance renewal payment in case of quarterly and half-yearly payments while they offer a 1-month grace in case of the annual payment of premiums. 

The duration of the grace period varies from different insurance providers and also depends on the type of insurance policy you opted for. 

What is the waiting period in health insurance?

In a health insurance policy, the waiting period is referred to as the period during which you are not eligible to claim benefits from your health insurance provider. In other words, in the waiting period, you have to wait for a specified amount of time before you make a claim. The duration of the waiting period and its terms and regulations vary from insurer to insurer. The waiting period is usually implied on pre-existing diseases, maternity expenses, an annual health check-up, etc. In most cases, during the waiting period, you won’t able to get any reimbursement amount or coverage from your health insurance policy. 

Difference between the grace period and the waiting period

Sometimes people get confused between the grace period and the waiting period. But you should note that your health insurance grace period differs from the insurance waiting period. In the grace period, you get extra days to pay your health insurance renewal premium even after your due date has passed. 

On the other hand, in the case of the waiting period, you need to wait for a certain period before you can file a health insurance claim. In case, if you fail to pay the premium amount within the grace period, your insurance policy may be canceled for non-payment. If it happens, then in any health emergency or hospitalization, you won’t be able to get coverage benefits.

Limitations of not renewing health insurance plans on time

In most cases, Health Insurance plans are valid for only 1-year and if you want to continue your benefits then you have to renew them on time. In case if you fail to renew it,  you may face a lot of financial losses. There are some limitations of not renewing your health insurance on time:-

  1. Health check-up:- Before buying any policy, the health insurance company may ask you to get a detailed medical examination. In case, if you renew your existing policy, then you don’t need to go for a medical examination. However, if your existing health insurance plan lapses and you plan to buy a new policy then you have to get a medical examination done all over again. It is a time-consuming process.
  1. Waiting period:- In case, if you do not renew your policy in time, you will not get benefits after a waiting period. If you apply for a new plan, your waiting period for a specific illness will re-start and you won’t be able to continue your benefits. 
  1. Loss of No Claim Bonus or NCB:- No Claim Bonus means if you don’t file a claim against your health insurance for the entire year, your insurer will offer you a bonus or discount in the premium amount. In case, if you fail to renew your policy in time (also within the grace period), you will lose this bonus amount. And you may suffer from a financial loss during medical emergencies.
  1. Loss of coverage:- If you fail to renew your policy in time including the grace period, you will not able to avail of any kind of benefits during the grace period. Your policy will lapse in such a case. 
  1. New policy becomes expensive:- if you fail to renew your policy, you will get No Claim Bonus. There is a bigger problem. It is costly for you to buy a new health insurance policy after losing no claim bonus. In such a case, you have to pay a higher premium amount for the new policy than the discounted premium amount for the existing policy.

Conclusion

If you want you and your family members to not feel the emotional and financial impact of medical emergencies, you have to buy a health insurance policy. You have to choose a plan that suits your requirements and financial status. After buying Insurance Plan, if you want to continue your benefits, you have to remember to renew it in time at the most before the end of the grace period.

FAQs: Difference Between Grace and Waiting Period

What is Co-pay in health insurance?

It is a fixed percentage that the policyholder needs to pay for every claim and the remaining amount is borne at the insurer's end. Let's take an example to understand the Co-pay in a health insurance plan

If the healthcare policy is purchased with a co-pay of 10% and the policy claim is Rs.80,000, then the insurer only needs to pay Rs.8,000. The remaining amount that means Rs.80,000 - Rs.8,000 = Rs.72,000 will be paid by the health care service provider.

What is the best health insurance for senior citizens in India?

The best medical insurance for senior citizens would be one that covers the pre-existing illness, offers quick reimbursement of settlement, offers pre and post-hospitalization expenses, covers ambulance charges, and also covers daycare procedures. For senior citizens, Star has a policy called RED CARPET POLICY. It has some other features:-

i) No Pre-screening test:- It is a relief for many since going to the company appointed diagnostic centers is not always feasible, especially when the children are not staying with the parents.

ii) All Pre-existing Diseases or Conditions are covered after a year.

iii) Discounts on Good health:- If your health is proven good with the help of medical tests then you get a discount of 10% on the premium.

iv) Two premium brackets and fixed premium amount:- There are two Cover amount brackets of Rs.5000 for Rs.1 lakh and Rs.10,000 for Rs.2 lakh (coverage including service tax).

v) Guaranteed renewals:- There are guaranteed renewals after the age of 69 in this policy.

Which health insurance plans cover maternity?

There are three companies whose policies cover maternity expenses.

1. Tata AIG Medicare Premier: There are 3 variants of this Medicare, out of which Medicare premier only covers maternity-related expenses. Maternity Expenses up to a maximum of Rs.50,000/- (Rs.60,000 in case of the birth of girl child) per policy subject to a waiting period of 4 years of continuous coverage under the policy
2. SBI General Arogya Premier: Arogya Premier covers maternity expenses. A waiting period of 9 months. Reasonable and customary medical expenses towards maternity hospitalization.
3. Religare Health Insurance: Waiting period of 4 years. Can be opted when the sum insured is Rs.50 Lakhs or above. The maximum cover for maternity expenses is Rs.1.00 lakh.

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