Most of us are aware of mobile number portability, where we can change the mobile service provider without any changes in our number. Everything remaining the same, the provider that offers the service changes. But, did you know that you can port your health insurance policy too? Yes, you read that read. The Insurance Regulatory Authority of India (IRDAI) issued a circular in 2011 allowing all indemnity health insurance policies issued by General and Health Insurers to offer portability to policyholders. This included family floater plans too. Today, we are going to talk about how you can port your health insurance policy and everything that you need to know about portability.
What is health insurance portability?
Health insurance portability allows a policyholder to switch from one health insurance plan to another or from one insurance company to another without losing the accrued credit, No Claim Bonus benefits, and continuity benefits that they had acquired during the existing policy.
The new insurer has to offer a policy having at least the same amount of ‘sum insured’ as in the old policy. Hence, the insurer can offer a higher sum insured too. Further, the IRDAI has prescribed regulatory guidelines detailing the process of porting that all parties involved adhere.
Essential conditions for porting
Here are some essential conditions for porting a health insurance policy:
- You can apply for porting your policy only at the time of renewal. Hence, porting is not permitted during the policy period, and your renewed policy will be effective with the new insurer (if approved).
- Porting is allowed only if the policy does not have any breaks.
- You must ensure that you submit your application at least 45 days before the expiry date of the policy.
How to port health insurance – the process
The process of porting health insurance is below:
- Submit an application to the new insurer at least 45 days before the renewal date of your existing policy
- Provide all the details required by the insurer
- The new insurer checks your medical history, claim history, etc. with your existing insurer within seven days of receiving the completed application form
- The insurers exchange this information via the IRDAI’s portal adhering to the guidelines set for porting
- On receiving the information, the new insurer frames a proposal based on its underwriting norms
- You receive the proposal from the new insurer within 15 days of submitting the application. If the new insurer fails to meet this deadline despite receiving the information from your existing insurer. It will have to accept the porting request.
While the documents required for porting might vary on a case to case basis, the usual set of documents needed are:
- Policy-related documents of your existing policy
- Latest notice from your existing insurer regarding renewal that specifies the cover details
- If you have not filed a claim in the previous years, then a self-declaration regarding the same. If you have filed a claim and it has been settled, then additional documents like the investigation report, discharge summary report, etc. need to be submitted.
Points to keep in mind before applying for porting your health insurance policy
Here are some essential points that you must keep in mind before porting your policy:
- Research – Before applying, look for medical insurance online and research different insurers and plans. Look for one that offers better benefits than your existing policy at suitable premium rates.
- Your medical history – Many insurers reject portability requests if the policyholder has a pre-existing health issue that requires frequent hospitalization. Also, some insurers ask people above 45 years of age to mandatorily undergo a medical test for some common ailments like diabetes, hypertension, etc. Ensure that you check these aspects and disclose all information honestly.
- Waiting period– Usually, health insurance policies have three kinds of waiting periods:
- Waiting period for fresh policies (typically around 30 days)
- A list of diseases that are cover after a period of one or two years like appendicitis, kidney stones, etc.
- Pre-existing diseases (typically around four years)
Since the benefits are carry forward to the new insurer, the waiting period will not apply to you. Also, based on the new insurer’s waiting period guidelines, all such periods will be waived. If you have held the policy with your existing insurer for the specified time.
- Sum Insured – Usually, insurers are wary of policyholders who have filed a claim in the past and are looking to port their policy with a substantial increase in the sum insured. Hence, choose this amount carefully while applying. Also, check the new insurer’s rules about waiting periods for an increase in the sum insured.
Remember, a health insurance policy should be able to manage treatment costs in case of a medical emergency. While trying to reduce the premium liability is understandable, do not compromise on the extent of the cover since that can cause a bigger hole in your pocket if such an emergency arises. Assess your medical requirements and choose a plan wisely. Good Luck!