Key things to know on how to port health insurance policy
A change in lifestyle, diet, and eating habits, coupled with sedentary activities, has led to a rise in several new-age diseases like diabetes, cancer, heart attack, organ failures, etc. The cost of treating these diseases has also skyrocketed over the years with the availability of advanced surgery methods, which has pushed up the overall medical expenses. A health insurance policy acts as a backup to pay for medical treatments during emergency health situations of life. But in case the services of your existing health insurance plan aren’t up to standards, you can port to a different insurer.
Sameer is an HR professional with a popular electronics brand and lives with his wife and parents. He had purchased a health insurance policy 5 years ago, thinking it to be the best individual health insurance plan based on his colleague’s suggestion. However, after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Sameer was concerned about the health of his family and started reading more on health insurance and its benefits to ensure his policy provides optimum coverage. He came across health plans that offered free health checkups once a year, international coverage, no limits on room rent, no claim bonuses, post-hospitalization expenses, massive hospital network, etc. However, none of these features was available with Sameer’s existing policy, while the premium he was paying was also on the higher side compared to many feature-rich policies. It was then he came to know about the concept of health insurance portability in India, which led him to decide to move from his existing insurance provider without losing any of the benefits that he has accumulated over the past years.
What is insurance portability?
According to provisions introduced by the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) in 2011, you can port your individual or family floater health insurance policy to any health insurance company without losing the benefits accumulated in the past.
How to Port Health Insurance Policy?
The process of porting your health insurance policy to a different insurer happens seamlessly. All you must do is submit your request to the insurance provider of your choice at least 45 to 60 days before your current health insurance policy renewal date. A health portability form needs to be filled with details of your previous policy, claim history, pre-existing ailments, etc. Upon receiving these details, the new insurer may accept or reject the porting request within 15 days.
6 Things to know While Porting a Health Insurance Policy
Here are vital things to consider while deciding on the port health insurance policy that will help you avoid rejections by the new insurer.
- Waiting Period: All health insurance policies carry a minimum waiting period before you can initiate any claims. It is generally 30 days for new policies, up to two years for specific illnesses, and up to 4 years for pre-existing diseases. By porting to a new insurer, you may not have to go through the waiting period. So, enquire with the new insurer about this timeline and accordingly submit a porting request.
- Coverage: Choose a health plan that provides maximum benefits but fits within your budget. By opting for a more comprehensive cover and finding it difficult to pay premiums makes no sense. Some useful features in current health policies include no sub-limits on room rent, hospitalization expenses, daycare procedure cost, consumables, diagnostic test charges, free preventive health checkups, etc. Check if these features are part of the standard package or pay an extra premium to utilize any of them.
- Higher Sum Insured: You may ask for an increased coverage amount with your new insurer while porting. Although the decision to offer a high cover lies with the company, sometimes, you may be allotted a higher coverage if your previous track record was in good standing. For example, you may buy India’s best family health insurance policy, but by opting for lower coverage, the policy will not serve its prime purpose. Remember to arrive at a balance between the premium paid and the coverage amount offered.
- Port Request Timing: Make sure to calculate the time of sending the porting request to your new insurer. Since you need to send the port request before 45 to 60 days of your renewal of the existing policy, it is essential for you not to use any of the facilities of the current policy during this time. If the new insurer gets your request late, there is a chance of rejection leading to a situation where you might not have any health insurance policy.
- Age Factor: There are reports that few insurance providers are not accepting port requests from individuals above 55 years since they have a high risk of catching infections fast. While it is not proper for the insurer to reject the porting request from senior citizens, it is always better to be on the safer side. If you are above 55 years and want to port to a new insurer, enquire with the new company fully before moving ahead.
- Medical History: Porting to a new insurer with an existing medical condition could be demanding as you may need to undergo a medical examination at the prescription of the new insurer if you are above 45 years. In case you are diagnosed with diabetes, blood pressure, heart ailments, etc., the port request might be turned down. Similarly, if you are suffering from any pre-existing medical condition that would require frequent hospital visits, it could also be a basis for rejecting your port request.
Health insurance portability is a very useful option for all health insurance policyholders, so they can quickly move from one insurer to another if they are not satisfied with the services of the former. Along with the flexibility to choose the insurance company, individuals also get a large number of options to select from better rates, services, and choices, making it possible for an individual to choose the most affordable health insurance.