Individual Health Plans to Become Friendlier

IRDA keeps on intervening health insurance sector to make sure that the insurance sector works in public interest. Recently, it introduced few reforms to individual health plans and group health plans as well. The reforms are believed to evolve health plans and processes, a step further. The best of all, these new regulations are not expected to affect the price significantly, at least not in immediate terms. Such reforms are sure to pave a smoother way for the growth of health insurance sector as a whole, in the coming years.

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    Minimum Entry Age  –  Raised 

    It seems only an irony that senior citizens which need to be insured more than any other age group are either denied a cover altogether or have to bear high premium costs to get insured. Earlier the lower cap on entry age for getting a health plan was set at 55-60 years. With the new reform, it will now be 65 years for all the health insurance plans being offered in the market.

    Renewability  –  Goes Lifelong

    Earlier, most of the health insurers used to set an exit age (70-80 years) attaining which the policyholder would become ineligible for getting his policy renewed. With the new IRDA regulations, the scene is going to be reversed as every health insurer will have to feature lifelong renewability in their policies. Though the insurers are taking this reform  with a pinch of salt and are reluctant to accept this reform esp. for defined benefit policies for the simple reason that as one ages, the chances of him/her contracting an illness increases.

    Loading Charge  –  No More

    If you have ever made a claim, you would know it that post claim, the renewal premium on a policy rises owing to the loading charges. But according to the new regulation, your insurer can’t incur such loading charges even if you make frequent claims in a policy year. Premium can’t be increased for the first three years of the policy. However, the insurer can increase the premium marginally after the fourth year of the policy.

    Insurance Terminology  –  Standardized

    Many a times, policy buyers get eluded from the health insurance jargons and end up getting fooled. For e.g. two insurance plans may offer maternity benefits but while one of them includes Caesarean delivery, the other one doesn’t. But now onwards, insurance terms will be standardized. This will make it easier for the buyers to understand the specific benefits and exclusions of a policy and hence make informed decisions. So when two insurers offer maternity benefits, they both will mean the same standardized benefits. 

     Insurance Policies  –  Get Digitized 

    P.Chidambaran, Union Finance Minister recently introduced Insurance Repository system (IR system). The IR system will keep a record of the insurance policies in a digitized form, enabling policyholders to access it anytime via an e-insurance account. This way the policy holder will be free of risk of losing the documents. This digitization will initially be made mandatory for the life insurance and would later be extended to non-life insurance. 

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