Health insurance portability: Here’s how to go about it
You need to apply for portability at least 45 days before the expiry of the existing health insurance policy and not before 60 days of the expiry of the policy
Health insurance is important for everyone across all age groups. However, as you grow older, you may find it difficult to buy a health insurance plan. It’s, therefore, important to keep your health insurance policy going by paying premiums on time.
But what if you are unhappy with your insurer and you want to change? The rules allow you to port your health policy from one insurer to another.
What can you port?
You can port your policy from one insurer to another, provided both are indemnity plans that cover hospitalisation, at the time of renewal.
You can port credits on time-bound exclusions and no-claim bonus. There are three kinds of time-bound exclusions or waiting period in a health policy: initial waiting period that applies when you first buy, waiting period on pre-existing ailments which can extend up to four years and waiting period on certain specified ailments. Let’s say you decide to port your health plan after three years, and the new policy has a waiting period of two years on pre-existing ailments. Since you have already spent three years in the previous policy, the three-year credit gets ported to the new policy.
You can port only to the extent of the sum insured (including no-claim bonus) with the previous insurer. So if you had a policy of, say, Rs 3 lakh but want to port to a new insurer and also enhance the sum insured to, say, Rs 10 lakh, porting benefits will apply only for Rs 3 lakh plus bonuses, if any.
Keep in mind that the new insurer is not duty-bound to insure you as that will depend on its underwriting criteria. So if you have a pre-existing ailment or have made a claim on your policy, portability can be challenging.
How it’s done?
You need to apply for portability at least 45 days before the expiry of the existing policy (and not before 60 days of the expiry of the policy).
You will need to fill up a portability form. The insurance regulator keeps details of all the customers and insurers can tap into this database to understand claims record and other details. The regulator needs to provide details within seven days of the insurer placing the request.
The insurer needs to inform you of its decision within 15 days. So, if the insurer rejects insuring you, you can still renew your existing policy.
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