In July 2011, IRDA set up some rules for portability which were advantageous for the insured -
1) The insured can transfer health cover from one insurer to another carrying forward features like coverage of pre-existing diseases and waiting period from the old policy to the new policy.
2) It normally takes around 15 days for the new insurer to accept or reject the proposal during which time the old insurer is responsible for any claims made. If 15 days are completed and process is not completed and the policy renewal is also due, the new insurer should ask the old insurer to extend the cover and pay pro-rata premium.
Insurance companies can carry forward these benefits of health insurance portability provided certain conditions are fulfilled.
1) Port at the time of renewal – The benefits will be carried forward only if you change to a different policy only at the time of renewal.
2) Notice Period - You should notify your current insurer the following information 45 days prior to the renewal date -
- Intention to shift to a different policy
- Details of insurer to which you want to shift
- Request for policy shift without a break in the insurance term
If you are less than 45 years old, portability request can be made up to 21 days before the renewal date but it is better to check with the concerned insurers about the details.
3) Premium – The new insurer will study the proposal and has the right to continue at the same premium or charge a higher or lower premium depending upon the new policy features.
You should check the all details of the new policy and study the inclusions and exclusions before you port to it. You should port only if you are getting a better deal and for genuine reasons.
If you think the new policy is not suitable for you after your request to port, you can continue with your old policy. If you have already made claims for surgery or are above the age of 45 with coverage of waiting period already completed, you should try to stay with your old insurer as it is more aware of your health history. You could take an additional cover or top-up policy if you feel the existing health cover is not enough.
You should keep in mind that -
- The new insurer has the right to reject your proposal
- Terms and conditions of different policies are different and you have to do your research and understand the cover thoroughly.
- You can switch only to a same/similar type of policy in health portability.
- You should check for features like cashless claims, loading expenses on premium payable, network of hospitals, limits and sub-limits
Health Insurance Portability is a customer centric feature but different insurers have different policies and terms and conditions regarding premium payment, coverage etc. The guidelines are not very standardised and you have to do your homework properly before you opt for portability.
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