How To Port Your Health Insurance Policy In India

By BankBazaar | May 23, 2018

Want a different Health Insurance policy or a different insurer? Here’s a brief overview of Health Insurance portability to sort things out.

How To Port Your Health Insurance Policy In India

Many people get Health Insurance for all the right reasons but fail to review insurance portfolios.  This leaves most policyholders with covers that are either redundant or insufficient to meet their latest needs. They may also realise, post-purchase, that all the great trimmings their charming agent sold them, are not always what they’re made out to be.

Customer-service is an oft-overlooked aspect when buying Health Insurance; the pinch of which is felt at a much later date. Lack of transparency, ambiguous terms and tedious processes can leave policyholders fuming. The last thing an afflicted person wants to deal with at a hospital is being given the run-around by non-responsive TPAs who refuse to authorise cashless claims.

Certainly, no one wants to spend time recovering from an ailment wondering when their reimbursements are going to come through, if at all. Similarly, finances and policyholder-nerves are fraught if renewals are subject to lengthy reviews and medical checks that result in higher premiums payable in subsequent years. Inflexible policies may not allow for additional members to be covered under existing plans, which can prove expensive for those requiring coverage for an expanding family. So, are you happy with your insurance company?

Additional Reading: What To Look For In A Health Insurance Plan

If you’re unhappy with the service or terms of your existing Health Insurance policy, the best way to turn things around is by moving on to another plan, or even better yet, another insurance provider if the insurance company is the problem. You can choose to continue the same policy with another insurance company. Here are all the details you need to know.

Breaking-up is hard work

The break-up song from Ae Dil Hai Mushkil makes break-ups seem easy. But breaking up with your Health Insurance company may not be that easy. This is where the Indian insurance industry’s cupid a.k.a. the IRDAI (Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority) plays its part by helping disgruntled policyholders move on to better-suited insurance providers, who can provide the kind of service they deserve as valued customers.

Port that policy

Porting or switching is a way to start afresh without having to lose out on time or money already invested. When you port your Health Insurance plan, you essentially transfer your existing cover to another one. You may opt for a new policy provided by your current insurance company or by another insurance company.

As opposed to cancellation, the upside to porting is that you don’t lose out on certain benefits already earned under your existing policy; specifically, credit for waiting periods and enhanced amounts of sum insured.

People port for various reasons but just because you can, doesn’t always mean you should. Port your policy only if you will really benefit from doing so!

Some key situations under which you should consider porting your Health Insurance policy:

– When your current Health Insurance company provides really bad service; especially if claims aren’t settled in an easy and timely manner.

– When your coverage requirements have increased or changed and your current plan no longer suits your needs e.g. your family is expanding and your current plan cannot be extended to cover your spouse/kids.

– Premiums, discounts and other benefits are way better under a new plan. Porting to save a paltry sum shouldn’t be your motivation. Ensure your new plan actually brings in considerable savings and is a more long-term solution than your present plan.

Go for it!

Portability of Health Insurance policies is possible only at renewal. There should be no gap in coverage when porting policies. However, in some cases, porting may require a longer-than-usual processing time, in which case a 30-day grace period is allowed. Just so you are not unduly exposed to risk, you can request your current company to not discontinue coverage until the porting process is complete. This can be worked out by continuing premium payments on a pro-rata basis for the period of extended coverage.

Additional Reading: 7 Helpful Tips To Choose The Best Health Insurance Plan

In order to make a successful transition to the new plan/provider, you will have to intimate your current Health Insurance company (in writing) of the switch, clearly stating the name of the new plan/company you will be moving to. This will have to be done at least 45 days before the renewal date under your current plan.

On receipt of your duly filled portability form, your new insurer will contact your current provider for necessary details such as your claims history and medical records. On verifying and analysing this information, in conjunction with the new policy’s terms and conditions, you will be intimated about their decision to take you on as a customer. (Be prepared for the possibility of not being accepted by the new insurance company!)

Essentials of Health Insurance Portability

To ensure there’s no love lost between your current insurance provider and you, the IRDAI confers certain rights to make porting your Health Insurance policy both beneficial and equitable.

  • You can port between individual and family floater policies

There are various types of Health Insurance policies offered in the market today; standard plans, specialised plans and hybrid plans with features of both in addition to add-on covers and riders e.g. critical illness/personal accident plans. You may own different types of plans, probably all from the same provider.

You can switch between plans that cover similar risks when covered under individual or family floater policies. E.g. a top-up plan can be ported to another top-up.

  • Under your new policy, you will be able to retain coverage benefits such as credit for waiting periods completed and enhanced amounts of sum assured

Your new provider will have to cover you for an amount that is, at a minimum, equal to the sum insured under your current policy. E.g. if your current cover is Rs.5 lakhs, the new policy will provide coverage of Rs.5 lakhs or above. However, the premiums for your new cover will be as per the new policy terms.

Additional Reading: Which Health Insurance Plan Can Maximise Your Tax Savings?

It will also have to adjust waiting periods. For e.g., if the waiting period for a pre-existing disease under your current policy is 4 years and you are in your 3rd policy year, the waiting period on your new policy will be 1 year (considering a similar waiting period under the new plan). However, credits for continuity applies only if you move to a plan that covers similar risks as your current one.

  • You can port your policy to any insurer of your choice. Your new provider may be a public or private insurance company, a general insurer or standalone insurer

The kind of provider you deal with currently doesn’t restrict your choices when switching. For e.g. a customer of ICICI Lombard General Insurance Co. Ltd. can switch to a plan offered by Religare Health Insurance Co. Ltd. or vice-versa.

  • When relationships sour, nobody likes losing. However, you’re protected against delays caused by your current provider

This is done through guidelines set out by the IRDAI, which stipulate that the entire process of porting policies should be completed within a standard timeframe.

Done and dusted

Porting was devised to ensure that policyholders receive the right kind of service and coverage in a developing insurance industry but the onus of making a well-informed and educated choice to switch is entirely yours as a policyholder.

Additional Reading: 7 Tips To Compare Health Insurance

Always remember, the end-goal of availing Health Insurance is to stay protected against financial adversities caused by medical necessities. Choose the right plan and provider, keeping all the discussed parameters in mind, to successfully port your Health Insurance policy.

All information including news articles and blogs published on this website are strictly for general information purpose only. BankBazaar does not provide any warranty about the authenticity and accuracy of such information. BankBazaar will not be held responsible for any loss and/or damage that arises or is incurred by use of such information. Rates and offers as may be applicable at the time of applying for a product may vary from that mentioned above. Please visit www.bankbazaar.com for the latest rates/offers.
Category: Health Insurance Insurance

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