Grace Period in Health Insurance Plans

In health insurance terms, the grace period is the time during which you can pay your health insurance premium after the renewal due date. You should buy a health insurance policy that offers the maximum grace period as you get more time to renew your policy even after the due date.

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      What is Grace Period?

      Your health insurance grace period is the extra time that you are given in case you miss your policy renewal premium due date. Failure to make the payment in the grace period can lead to your mediclaim policy cancellation or penalties. Most health insurance plans come with a grace period.

      How Does Grace Period in Health Insurance Work?

      Grace period provides you with a fair chance to pay your health insurance policy premium in case you are not able to make the payment due to some unforeseen circumstances. Most insurance companies offer a grace period of 15 days for the payment of medical insurance renewal premiums. But, there are also other companies that offer a grace period of 30 days.

      The duration of the grace period can vary depending on the insurance company and the type of mediclaim policy that you buy. Moreover, it is not necessary for every health insurance company to provide the benefit of a grace period.

      For instance, insurance company A’s grace period might differ from that of company B. It can even be the same. Therefore, you would need to check either with your insurance company or go through your policy wordings to see if there is a grace period available and for what duration.

      Is Grace Period and Waiting Period in Health Insurance the Same?

      No, your health insurance grace period is different from your insurance waiting period. In case of the waiting period, you need to wait for a fixed duration before you can file a health insurance claim for a disease/procedure.

      On the other hand, the grace period gives you an extra number of days to pay your health insurance renewal premium even after your due date has passed.

      For instance, if your mediclaim policy renewal premium is due on 1st January 2022, you can pay your premium until 31st January 2022 in case of a 30-day grace period. If you fail to make the payment before February 2022, then your policy will get lapsed and your insurer can deny your renewal request even if you want to make the payment later.

      Disadvantages of Not Renewing Your Health Insurance Policy on Time

      To enjoy uninterrupted health insurance coverage benefits, make sure that you do not delay your policy renewal. Do not wait for the grace period, instead, renew your policy before the due date. This is because renewing your policy during the grace period has its own disadvantages.

      Below are some of the drawbacks of not renewing your health insurance policy on time:

      • No Coverage Available in the Grace Period– Insurance companies offer insurance protection in exchange for the premium amount. If you have not paid your policy premium on time, your insurance provider will not be liable to provide coverage to you. Thus, you will not be able to avail coverage benefits or file a claim during the grace period.
      • Renewal Can Be Denied– The insurance company can choose not to renew your health insurance policy after your policy has lapsed. This may force you to buy a new health plan, which may not only come for a higher premium but also lead to the loss of accumulated coverage benefits, such as the no claim bonus.
      • Restart of the Waiting Periods– If your health policy lapses, the waiting period for any health condition or specific illness and other continuity benefits will be lost. Your waiting period will restart from scratch if you buy a new policy.
      • Wait More for Pre-existing Diseases Coverage– If you buy a new health insurance policy after your policy lapses, you will have to wait longer to file a claim for pre-existing diseases. This is because most health plans cover pre-existing diseases after a waiting period. Only after the completion of the waiting period as per the new policy terms and conditions, your pre-existing diseases will be covered.

      Higher Premium During Grace Period

      In case you have missed your premium due date and are going to pay it during the grace period, some health insurance companies may charge you a late fee. In cases where policyholders frequently miss their policy renewal dates, the insurance companies may charge them a higher premium on renewal.

      Failure to Pay the Premium within the Grace Period

      If you fail to pay your health insurance premium within the grace period, your policy may be cancelled for non-payment. In that case, you won't be able to avail coverage benefits if there is any health emergency or hospitalization.

      Alternatively, you can buy a health policy from another insurance company. But in the worst-case scenario, you may also be refused coverage from other insurers based on your past records of missing policy deadlines.

      Moreover, some health insurance companies would need you to undergo pre-medical screening before issuing the mediclaim policy if your previous policy had lapsed. This puts you at a greater risk of being denied the coverage or being charged a higher premium for a new policy.

      How Grace Periods Can Affect Your Claims?

      Health insurance companies allow premium payment within the grace period to ensure that your health coverage remains intact even if you pay late. You can still file a claim during the grace period in case of any health emergency once you have paid the renewal premium.

      In the absence of a grace period, your insurance company can deny you coverage for missing your renewal date and you won’t be able to file any claim even if you make the payment the next day of your due date.

      In case a health emergency arises that requires hospitalization and expensive treatment after you missed your policy during the grace period, you will not get any coverage. This will happen because your health insurance provider will cancel your policy for non-payment after the grace period is over.

      In fact, the insurance company will also refuse coverage until the treatment is over even if you pay the renewal premium. In such a case, the only option that you will have is to buy another health insurance policy at an exorbitant premium and start over with new terms & conditions and waiting periods.  

      In a Nutshell

      Late payment of your health insurance premium and failure to renew your policy during the grace period can cause inconvenience and cost you a bomb. If you have any pre-existing conditions, buying a new health plan will not be easy and you will have to start the waiting period all over again.

      So, make sure to pay your health insurance policy renewal premium on time to enjoy continuous coverage benefits and avoid putting them at risk. Even if there is a grace period, do not delay the payment unless there is an emergency.

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      Disclaimer: Policybazaar does not endorse, rate or recommend any particular insurer or insurance product offered by an insurer.

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