Port Your Health Insurance while Keeping Check on These Things

Healthcare costs are sky-rocketing in India. You can choose from one of the best health insurance to avail the best medical treatment without blowing up your savings. Various types of health insurances are available with a wide variety of benefits. Choosing the best fit for all your needs may be a daunting task. So, often we land up in the wrong policy and want to get rid of it.

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      When Should You Consider Porting a Health Insurance Plan?

      It is not easy to decide whether you want to continue with your existing health insurance policy or move to a seemingly better one. Careful analysis is required to pinpoint the reason.

      The following points can help you decide if you want to go for portability:

      • Low Services

        It often happens that your insurance provider fails to live up to the promises that were once made over a while. Consumers should go for portability if they are not satisfied with their current services/claims experience and the various benefits being offered.

      • Additional Coverage is Being Denied

        Consider porting your policy if your current insurance provider is not providing sufficiently for specific health ailments, which concerns you the most. Some of the best health insurance policies often deny a higher sum coverage that a customer is seeking due to underwriting limitations.

      • Competitors are Offering Better Solutions

        You will come across a policy that offers a better deal in terms of the coverage amount, policy premium, co-payment clauses, age limit for renewal, or higher cap on room-rent. Tough competition often pushes insurance providers to offer the same benefits at a lower cost.

      • Policy Document is not Transparent

        Policy documents carry hidden clauses at times, which are not obvious to point out until you make a claim. Such hindrances can cause significant mental stress during a medical emergency. So, an insurance provider with transparent documents is always preferred.

      • Few More Things to Consider

        The type of policy that you wish to port will remain the same after porting. For instance, let's say you carry an indemnity plan. You can only port the policy if your target insurer provides such a plan.

        The new policy insurer will perform a complete evaluation as your porting request will be considered as a new application. Make sure to provide a transparent medical history with absolutely no discrepancy to avoid rejection. The new Insurer may deny the portability request if you have a pre-existing illness such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or heart-related ailments for which you frequently visit hospitals.

        Non-availability of previous health insurance policy documents can result in rejection as well. Claims history and medical records are generally handed over to the new health insurance company from the existing policy provider.

      Check the Points Below Before Porting Health Insurance Policy

      Portability may be a better option for those looking for better coverage options, but you should keep the following factors in mind while taking the next step forward:

      • Age Limit and Claims History

        Look for a health insurance provider that provides renewal of coverage throughout life. Health level deteriorates with age, so it is necessary to get a provider that covers you at every stage of life. A majority of insurers often deny the portability of health insurance for senior citizens. Moreover, those who accept the application tend to charge more on loading costs with an additional co-payment clause.

        Some health insurance providers place an additional amount on the premium for any claimed years in the past.

      • Medical History

        Your application can get rejected if you have pre-existing diseases that demand frequent visits to the hospital. Anyone above the age of 45 is generally asked to go through a complete health evaluation during the portability application. If one is diagnosed with conditions such as high blood pressure or diabetes, the new health insurance provider is more likely to reject the application.

        Additionally, if one has a history of renal failure or heart problems with a recurring cost – the chances of rejection are even higher.

      • Waiting Period

        Health insurance policies come with three types of waiting periods:

        • New policies come with 30 days of a waiting period
        • Diseases like appendicitis or kidney stones are covered after a waiting period of around 1 or 2 years
        • Pre-existing diseases like cancer, type-2 diabetes, or heart disease are generally covered after a waiting period of 4 years

        Let's say you have a 3-year-old policy and wish to port over to a new provider after 2 years. And the new insurer also has similar waiting periods. Then the 30-day and 2 years waiting period won't be applicable. But you still have to go through the 4-year waiting period. In this scenario, as you have already been through 3 years of the waiting period in your old policy, you will have to wait for one more year before getting any covered treatment for pre-existing illness.

      • Sum Insured

        Even the best health insurances are alarmed if you apply for a more significant increase in the sum insured. Generally, people tend to increase coverage when they have claimed so in the past. So, it becomes evident to the new Insurer that the applicant might claim a more considerable amount in the recent future.

        On top of that, there is no relaxation in the waiting period for any increment in the sum assured.

        The mode of collection of medical expenses during a claim is an important feature to look out for. Whether it is cashless or reimbursement, your peace of mind is of greater importance. People often choose a method where they don't have to pay upfront and then reimburse the bills. It eases much of the pressure during a medical emergency.

      • Premium Change

        Health insurance policies with low premium tend to attract more and more people to port their existing policies. Well, it comes with a trade-off for sure. Insurers tend to lower the coverage or other benefits to compensate for the lower premium. You may end up paying more in the future to cover all your needs. So, before switching over to the new policy, carefully inspect the coverage and benefits with the new Insurer.

      • Processing Snags

        Make sure that your application is not missing or hiding any relevant information. The new health insurance provider looks through portability requests with great detail, and if they find any incorrect information or missing documents, they reject it right away. 

        Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) recommends that you file a portability request at least 45 days in advance before your existing policy terminates. So, fill the application with great detail to attention and fill it in advance.

        Initiate the process much before 45 days to be on the safer side. Any delay due to unknown issues may result in the refusal of your portability request.

      Process of Porting a Health Insurance Policy

      If you have decided to move on to a new policy, scan through every type of health insurance, and then approach the new policy provider 45-60 days before your existing health insurance policy expires. The application process involves a proposal form for portability along with copies of the previous year's policy.

      Once the new insurer gets your application, it reaches out to your existing insurer to inquire about your medical and claims history. Every type of health insurance provider accepts or rejects your application based on underwriting guidelines and the information received.

      After procuring all the details, the new policy provider must decide within 15 days whether it wants to move forward with your porting application. If it fails to do so within 15 days, the law is bound to accept the application. 

      Post evaluation, the new insurance company may accept the application with a new waiting period on any additional sum insured if opted by the policyholder. Additionally, medical underwriting is performed on the policyholder's current health status and not based on what was initially there during the first purchase of the older policy.

      Be aware that you might end up shelling more out of your pocket as the premium if you wish to port over to a new provider. So have strong reasons why you want to port your health insurance policy before you make the final call.

      In a Nutshell!

      Well, portability proves to be fruitful when you’re below 45 years of age and of course, have a clean slate. The individuals who are 45 or more and suffer from any ailment or health problems must stick to their current health insurance plan and ask their existing insurance provider to increase their insurance cover, if possible.

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