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Things to Remember While Renewing Your Mediclaim Policy

Health insurance is one of the finest investments you can make for yourself and your family. Wondering why? Well, it’s simple. With health insurance, you invest in your health – An asset that indirectly impacts every asset that you will ever own. Having a Mediclaim (health insurance) policy is a sign of responsible and healthy financial planning. You insure yourself against spending a bomb on a medical emergency and avail treatment from reputed hospitals in the network of your insurer. In the process, your finances are protected and you also get quality healthcare services. Health insurance has several direct and indirect advantages. You get tax benefits, trusted medical treatment, free medical check-ups, no-claim bonus for claim-free years and more. 

Also, since your healthcare costs are already being taken care of, your wallet is free to save for long-term goals like buying your dream house or planning for your child’s education or your own retirement. But, is buying a suitable Mediclaim policy and paying the premium every year enough? Sadly, not. Mediclaim policies need to be renewed every year. Policy renewals are an easy process. Mostly, they can be done with a click on your computer screen within the comfort of your home.  Again, simply renewing your policy will not be enough! There are a few things you ought to keep in mind before your annual policy renewal. These will help you explore your options and make the best of your existing health insurance policy. 

Things to Remember While Your Mediclaim Policy Renewal

Here are a few things that you should remember while renewing your Mediclaim policy: 

  1. Be aware of the due-date

Your Mediclaim policy renewal should always be done before the due-date. This is not done only because punctuality is a healthy habit to adopt, but because there are several advantages to an early policy renewal. The first being, it is a planned approach and you have time to consider your options as compared to hastily renewing your policy on the last day. Secondly, if you miss the due-date of payment, your Mediclaim policy will lapse after a certain number of days of grace. Once your policy lapses, you’ll have to buy a fresh policy. Renewal premiums are usually less costly than a new policy premium. You will also miss out on no-claim bonus or NCB and the continuity bonus. Moreover, you won’t get any insurance protection during the waiting period. You can also lose out on the lifetime renewability provision as per IRDAI rules and the new policy will come with its own conditions on waiting period.

Usually, your health insurer will send you reminders to renew your policy before the due-date. But relying on those reminders isn’t the smartest thing to do. You should have your own calendar of key events and reminders set up so that the entire renewal process is complete well before the due date. The annual health insurance premium amount will be a considerable one, so ensure that you have sufficient funds for the same to avoid financial stress at the last minute. 

  1. Disclose any new illnesses

Before the policy renewal, you should disclose any new illnesses or conditions you might have been diagnosed with in the past year. Although there is no way the insurer can know about this, your claims might get rejected if it is brought to their notice at a later stage. Any change in health status should also be reported to the insurer. If you are diagnosed with a condition, say diabetes, your insurer might make an adjustment in your premium before renewing the policy. The increase in premium might be an incentive to not disclose your condition, but it can lead to graver problems for both parties a few months down the road. Full disclosure is advised to preserve good faith in the agreement and also to ensure that there are no misunderstandings during claim reimbursement. 

  1. Review your insurance requirement 

Your health insurance plan should be in sync with your financial capacity and also the healthcare needs of your family. It is a delicate balance, but with a little effort and a lot of research, you can still strike the balance. Prior to the time of policy renewal, you should give careful thought to your family’s health needs- the areas where you need insurance protection, the areas you can manage with your own money etc. Any changes in the family like a new birth, someone’s death etc. should be factored in. Aspects like the rise in healthcare costs, whether or not your employer provides employer sponsored health insurance will influence your insurance requirement. These factors change from year to year; hence policy renewal is a good time to reconsider everything and go for the plan that suits your latest requirements. Since you have the opportunity to modify your Mediclaim policy because of the renewal date, why not make the best of it!

  1. Waiting period for pre-existing illnesses

Pre-existing illnesses or specific policies like maternity insurance have a specific waiting period. If you miss the renewal date and your policy lapses, your waiting period will begin again from the new policy’s start date because the policy is effectively treated as a new policy. This is a huge disadvantage especially if you have already finished or are midway through your existing waiting period. So, be mindful of the due-date and don’t miss it.

Additionally, if you disclose a pre-existing illness at the time of policy renewal your waiting period will start from the date of renewal. However, your insurer might waive off the waiting period in exchange for a higher premium. Depending upon your need, your insurer will help you select an option that is best suited for you. 

  1. Increase your insurance coverage 

If you require a higher amount of sum insured and are sure about it, you need to contact your insurance provider and settle on a new premium. If the sum insured is substantially high, you might have to fulfil new terms like a fresh medical test. If you want to increase coverage to include, for example, a higher daily limit, that is possible during policy renewal itself and may not require too many hassles. So, make a well-thought-out list of everything you need and then take steps to incorporate them into your Mediclaim plan. 

  1. Consider switching to a new insurer

Under IRDAI regulations, you can opt for a policy upgrade or switch to a new insurer. With policy portability, you will not lose out on continuity benefits. But you are required to give your insurance provider 45 days’ notice about any desired changes. If you need/wish to change the policyholder(for tax benefits or other reasons), you should do it at the time of policy renewal as that is the only time it is allowed. 

  1. Buy add-on covers

Mediclaim policies also include add-on covers like personal accident insurance, daily cash benefit and more. If you see that your existing policy might not be enough and want to increase coverage, you can opt for an add-on cover that suits your specific need. The difference between an add-on cover and a policy upgrade is that add-on covers are more specific and tailored to your needs. They can also be cheaper than an entire policy upgrade and normally kick in only after the principal cover is exhausted.

  1. Check for modifications in policy terms and conditions 

Once you have finalized on your renewal policy modifications, make sure that you go through the terms and conditions provided by your insurance company. Although the insurance provider is not permitted to make any policy term changes as per IRDAI guidelines, you should still double-check just to be on the safe side. If you find any discrepancies, you can get in touch with the insurer for a clarification. If you are still not satisfied, IRDAI allows you to migrate to a policy that suits you better, as per its portability rules, without incurring any additional cost.

”FAQs:

What will happen if I miss the due date to pay my insurance premium but pay it within the grace period allowed to me?

If you miss the due-date but pay before the date of policy expiry, then you will be eligible for continuation benefits from the insurer. The grace period is usually 15 days in case of quarterly premium payment. Normally, in the case of annual premium payment, the grace period is 30 days, although this is unique to each insurance company. If you make the payment by the given grace date, your policy will still be valid.

However, it is always advised to renew your health insurance well before the due-date. This is because no claims are entertained by the insurance company in the period between the date of policy renewal and expiry.

My health insurer is denying my policy for renewal. What can I do?

If you, as a policyholder, are being denied from policy renewal you can seek an explanation from your health insurer. By government guidelines, your insurer cannot deny your policy renewal or arbitrarily increase your premium without formal notice (3 months prior to renewal) as well as a justification for the same. However, to keep your side of the slate clean and not face hassles during policy renewal, always make sure you disclose pre-existing illnesses, pay premiums on time and produce valid paperwork during claim-filing.

Will my treatments still be cashless after renewing my Mediclaim policy?

Yes, if you had cashless transactions for medical treatments in the past then the same will continue after policy renewal. Your insurer should update you with revised cashless identification cards. To be on the safer side, you can get in touch with the insurer and confirm that the nature of transactions will remain the same. If required, you can also get in touch with the TPA(Third Party Administrator). It is always better to take these precautionary steps in advance than fall into a soup during a medical emergency!

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