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(Photo: iStockphoto)
(Photo: iStockphoto)

Covid-19 impact: Pay health insurance premiums in instalments

Irdai, on Tuesday, asked all general and standalone health insurers to give policyholders the option to pay health insurance premiums in instalments

In a bid to offer some respite to policyholders dealing with any liquidity crunch arising out of the lockdown, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (Irdai), on Tuesday, asked all general and standalone health insurers to give policyholders the option to pay health insurance premiums in instalments. This means you can now pay your annual health insurance premiums in a monthly, quarterly or half-yearly basis. You can avail the option by writing to your insurer or getting in touch with the customer service using the available online touch points.

“In view of prevailing conditions owing to COVID-19 outbreak, considering the need for easing the payment of health insurance premiums, all the insurers are allowed to collect health insurance premiums in instalments," said the Irdai circular. This option shall be made available for all health policies due for renewal up to 31 March, 2021.

“Amid the ongoing Covid-19 crisis, the regulator has issued numerous guidelines in favour of the consumers. In yet another move, Irdai has issued guidelines to specialised health insurers and general insurers offering health insurance products to start giving an option to customers to pay premium of insurance policies monthly instead of annually," said Amit Chhabra, heath business head, Policybazaar.com, an online insurance aggregator.

Since policyholders can now pay premiums on a monthly, quarterly or half-yearly basis, Irdai has said that the resulting premium amounts under each frequency shall be consistent with premium amounts under other premium payment frequencies of the policy. The regulator further said that there shall be no change in the premium table and charging structure of the policy to which the new premium payment frequency is being added.

This instalment facility can be offered either as a permanent facility or as a temporary relief for a period of twelve months for all health insurance policies. Note that Irdai in September last year had already allowed insurers to extend this option to policyholders but not all companies have started offering this facility. You can read more on this here.

“In 2019, regulator allowed insurers to start taking premiums in instalments after a minor filing modification. However, since insurance companies have time till 1 October, 2020 to refile their products, the regulator has guided insurers to start offering monthly payment mode immediately. This is especially helpful for customers in the current scenario of Covid-19. Customers must note that this feature is subject to IT preparedness of the insurer," said Chhabra.

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