Portability in Health Insurance

Some years back there were a lot of advertisements and promotions related to portability of mobile number. One of the driving forces was the number of unhappy customers with existing service providers. If due to some reason they did not like the service provider, they could retain their number and switch service providers. Doesn’t it make sense to do the same for something that is a lot more serious like a health insurance? For sure a health insurance holds more importance than your mobile phone.

The IRDAI or Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India came up with health insurance portability. According to the scheme, a policy holder could change his insurer for an existing health insurance plan and opt for another insurer. But all of this without losing the accumulated benefits of the existing health insurance plan.

Meaning, one would be able to carry forward any waiting period or pre-existing conditions clauses. Of course, there are a couple of guidelines that a policy holder had to follow. For starters, the switch can only be made during the policy renewal. Secondly, a policy holder must not have taken a break in between policies to avail portability.

Here are some of the rights that a policy holder has in correlation to the portability of a health insurance.

  • The portability can take place between a general insurance company and a specialized health insurance company or vice versa.
  • Both of the insurers must adhere to the timelines to port the policy in the interest of all the parties involved. The IRDAI has set a timeline for the same.
  • You have the right to port either individual policies or family floater policy.
  • The new insurer must provide you credit for pre-existing conditions or waiting period that was covered as a part of the previous policy.
  • As per the regulations, the new insurer must provide you with a sum insured that matches the previous policy.

The following are some conditions that must be met for the porting to get underway.

  • The new insurer must provide you with the credits for the waiting period. However, the premium of the policy and other terms and conditions are at the discretion of the insurer.
  • You can opt for portability only during renewal phase. So that the new policy is applicable from the next term.
  • You need to write to your existing insurer at least 45 days prior to renewal regarding the porting along with the name of the new insurer.
  • You must also ensure that there isn’t a break in between the policies.

Is Buying Health Insurance necessary?

Yes. Buying a health insurance policy is extremely important for your health and ensuring financial stability in the future. Here are two major reasons why one must go ahead and buy a health insurance policy.

  • Inflation

Medical inflation is much higher than the general inflation that our country witnesses. This means that a policy that costs INR 10,000 today, might cost you INR 11,000 in a year’s time. To ensure that you are not stuck in the cycle and that medical emergencies do not wipe away most of your savings a health insurance is a must.

  • Coverage

A good health insurance these days provides the standard features of hospitalisation and medical covers. Some insurers cover dental care and even eye care. Thus, a health insurance policy offers a lot more for your money. You also stand to receive cover for pre-hospitalisation and post-hospitalisation.

Features of a Good Health Insurance

While the features and benefits offered largely depends on an insurer. There are some standard features and benefits that you must look for while buying a policy. Here are some of them.

  • The plan must cover expenses pertaining to an inpatient. Meaning, if a patient is admitted for more than 24 hours, the expenses related to him/her.
  • A good health insurance plan would ideally provide cover for pre-hospitalisation expenses up to a certain number of days. Usually up to 60 days from a medical procedure.
  • A good plan would also cover for all the post-hospitalisation expenses up to a predefined number of days from the day of the medical procedure. Usually, insurers set this at 90 days.
  • Look for a plan that covers emergency ambulance expenses, as they can at times cost a lot of money.
  • Certain medical procedures or treatment do not require for the patient to be admitted for 24 hours. A good plan should cover day care procedures.

A health insurance policy is a must, given the current scheme of things. The availability of portability makes things that much easier for prospective buyers as well.

About Daniel Edison

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