Are There Health Insurance Plans with No Waiting Period?

If you’ve been looking to buy a medical insurance, you must have come across the term ‘waiting period’. A waiting period is a standard part of almost every health insurance policy in India. However, you can buy a plan with a minimum or no waiting period depending on what your insurer is offering.

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    What does Waiting Period mean in Health Insurance?

    As is self-explanatory, the waiting period refers to the amount of time you need to wait to avail the benefits of your health insurance policy. This time is calculated from the day when your policy starts and depends on your insurer and different diseases/health conditions as per your policy terms.

    The waiting period is pre-decided for a list of health conditions, type of plan, age, and medical history.  If you file any claim before your waiting period has ended, your insurer will deny it.

    What are the Different Waiting Periods?

    Every health insurance policy has waiting periods that may vary considerably. Given below are the different types of waiting periods in health insurance:

    • Initial Waiting Period: Usually up to 30 days
    • Pre-existing Diseases Waiting Period: Ranges from one to four years
    • Specific Diseases Waiting Period: Ranges from one to four years
    • Waiting Period for Maternity Expenses: Ranges from one to four years

    Other than these waiting periods, certain insurers may have waiting periods for special health conditions, annual health check-ups, etc.

    The duration of these periods depends on many factors such as pre-existing diseases, different health conditions, type of plan opted (individual, floater or group health insurance) and any add-on cover benefits that you may have purchased.

    Are There Any No Waiting Period Health Insurance Plans?

    Most health insurance companies in India have a waiting period clause. There is no waiting period in health insurance only under two circumstances:

    • If you need urgent hospitalisation or care due to an accident or injuries
    • If you have opted for a pre-existing disease add-on that covers you from day 1

    For example, if a person gets into an accident and requires an urgent organ transplant, then it will be covered by their medical insurance plan. Whereas, if they require an organ transplant due to a pre-existing condition then they will need to wait for the stipulated time.

    Similarly, if you have bought a plan which offers coverage for pre-existing diseases then there will be no waiting period in that case. This feature is provided by several insurers and must be bought at an additional cost.

    For all other situations, you need to wait for the standard waiting period to expire before you can file any claims related to those situations.

    Why is there a Waiting Period for Health Insurance?

    A waiting period is helpful in avoiding any false claims by the policyholders. Initially, when health insurance was introduced to people, many policyholders purchased a plan after getting diagnosed with medical conditions.

    Many bought policies once they discovered how expensive their surgeries were. To avoid such situations, many insurers started incorporating waiting period policies to avoid these unethical practices.

    However, many people with pre-existing diseases may be in urgent need of financial assistance but a long waiting period may leave them stranded. In such situations, opting for a PED (pre-existing disease) cover from day one is a good idea.

    For example, if your insurer has a 2 year waiting period for availing maternity benefits, that means you will need to consider the stipulated 2 years waiting period before you start planning.

    Wrapping it Up,

    You can opt for a plan that has less waiting period or lets you opt for an add-on to cover your pre-existing diseases. It is important to select a minimum waiting for health insurance plan so that you can claim benefits for your condition and related expenses. You won't be eligible for any claims until your waiting period expires.

    While there are many insurers who offer a shorter waiting period, it is better to buy health insurance earlier in life so that by the time you may develop any health complications, your waiting period will be over. Buying health insurance when you’re young will let you easily pass all the waiting periods and let you avail all the insurance benefits whenever you need them in the future.

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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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