Health Insurance Portability
There are hundreds of health insurance plans in the market. Each plan has a different set of coverage features and is, therefore, priced differently. Moreover, health insurance companies also compete with each other and provide various value-added services with their health insurance plans. These services and additional features add unique benefits to health insurance plans. Many of you, therefore, might find better alternatives to your existing health insurance plan. What can you do then? Can you switch to the better plan?
Yes, you can. The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) permits portability of health insurance. Do you know what health insurance portability is?
What is health insurance portability?
Portability of health insurance means the ability to change to another product while retaining some part of the earlier one. When you port your mobile number you retain your existing number but change to another service provider. In case of a health insurance policy, portability allows you to change to a different plan of the same insurer or to another plan offered by another insurer. The waiting period for pre-existing diseases which has already lapsed in the old plan is carried forward to the new policy. Moreover, any other waiting period applicable in the health plan which you have already waited out would be credited to the new plan. Thus, on porting, your renewal benefits are not lost. They are simply credited to the new policy.
Reasons for porting your policy
Portability should be resorted to if –
- Your past claim experience or claim process was cumbersome
- Your policy has limited coverage features
- The premium is unreasonably high as compared to present day
- With new products in the market, you find better-featured products at competitive rates
- Your existing plan has various limits and sub-limits and you want a more inclusive coverage
Besides these reasons, there might be other justifiable reasons which make you port your health insurance policy.
IRDA mandates all health insurance companies to provide the option of portability in their health insurance plans. There are, however, some conditions on porting your health plan which are as follows –
- You may port health insurance plan only when plan is up for renewal. You cannot port the policy mid-way during the policy tenure
- To port the policy you should inform your existing insurance company and make a porting request. This request should be submitted at least 45 days before the policy renewal date.
- Porting is allowed for the entire existing sum insured. The new policy would, therefore, have a minimum coverage amount equal to your old policy. You can increase the coverage if you want when you port.
So, you just have to fill out a portability form and submit it with your existing insurer at least 45 days before the renewal date. The insurance company would then allow you to port your policy to a new company. You would have to inform the old company of the new company and the plan to which you wish to port your policy.
Points to remember
When you port, you should remember the following points –
- You can port both individual and family floater health plans.
- You can port only same kind of health insurance plans. For instance, you can port from one indemnity health plan to another or from one critical illness plan to another. You cannot port from an indemnity health plan to a critical illness one.
- The accumulated No Claim Bonus of the older policy is, usually added to the sum insured and is then ported to another policy. However, the acceptance of the accumulated no claim bonus is entirely on the new insurer’s discretion. It is not compulsory like the waiting period for illnesses.
- Portability of health insurance is always free of cost. Your old insurance company or the new one cannot demand any charge for porting your health insurance policy.
- The new insurance company can not reject the porting request if your existing policy has a record of continuous renewal.
- Health insurance portability is beneficial only when the new insurance company offers you better feature at lower premiums. You should be careful when porting your policy. Compare different health plans and find a better plan than your existing one. Only then should you port.
Porting gives you the benefit of availing a better cover at lower premium rates. You can also get easier claim settlements from another insurance company and better service promise. So, understand the conditions of porting and keep the important points in mind before you port.
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