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  • Health Insurance Portability – All you need to know

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    A health insurance policy can provide you a much-needed risk cover against any expenses that you may have to incur due to a medical emergency. But if your policy no longer serves your requirements, you might want to consider porting your policy to a different insurance firm. In the past, changing one’s insurer would mean having to let go of all the benefits that one had accrued during the past few policy years.

    However, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) now gives policyholders the right to switch their policy from their existing insurer to another insurance firm without losing any benefits that were accumulated. Thus, when you port your health insurance policy, you won’t have to lose your accrued benefits and go through the waiting periods all over again.

    Rights of the Policyholder

    • As a policyholder, you have the right to switch/port your policy from your current insurance firm to any other general/stand-alone health insurance company.
    • Porting can be done for both individual policies and family floater policies.
    • The insurance firm that you wish to port your policy to is bound to provide you the due credit for waiting periods, bonuses, etc. that you may have accrued over the years.
    • When porting your policy, the new insurance company has to provide you a sum insured that is, at the very least, equal to the sum insured offered under your old policy. The new insurer cannot offer you a sum insured that is lesser than the sum insured of the old policy.
    • Once you have raised a request to port your policy, your old/existing insurance firm and the new insurance firm should complete the necessary formalities and port the policy as per the guidelines and timelines specified by the IRDAI (Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India).

    Conditions and Rules to Know

    • A policyholder can port their insurance policy only when the date of policy renewal is nearing, and not any time during the policy tenure. Thus, the new policy year/term will begin with the new insurer.
    • The new insurer is liable to provide you a waiting period credit. However, all other features, such as premiums, policy terms and conditions, etc. will be made at the discretion of the insurer.
    • In order to port one’s policy in a timely manner without any hassles, the policyholder will have to apply for the same at least 45 days before the policy is due for renewal. The policyholder will have to submit a written request to the insurance firm, specify the company to which he/she wishes the policy to be ported, and also renew the insurance policy without a break in tenure.

    Things to Consider before Porting your Health Insurance Policy

    While porting your health insurance policy to an insurer that offers better services and benefits may seem like the right decision, there are a few factors that you should keep in mind before porting your policy.

    • Features and benefits offered by the insurer: Porting a policy only makes sense if the new insurer provides you features and benefits that your current policy does not. Thus, before you port your policy, make sure to check features, benefits, coverage, sub-limits, etc. that are offered by the new insurance firm.
    • Age limits: Certain insurers set age limits for policy renewal. Thus, if your current policy has an age limit for renewal, ensure to switch to an insurer that provides a lifelong renewability feature.
    • Network hospitals: Cashless facility is only offered at network hospitals. Hence, it is a good idea to pick an insurance firm that has a large number of empanelled hospitals for added convenience in case of a hospitalisation.
    • Premiums: It is vital that you consider how much you will have to pay as premium to the new insurer. While some insurance firms might offer you a low premium, this may come at the cost of the coverage. Thus, make sure to check if the premium offered is competitive and if the coverage meets your needs.

    Advantages of Porting your Policy

    • Porting your policy will enable you to receive the coverage that you need without having to lose any accrued benefits.
    • Porting your policy can help you avail a lower premium rate from a different insurer.
    • Policyholders won’t have to go through waiting periods again when porting their policy.
    • One can avail the same sum insured when porting their policy.

    How to Port your Policy?

    • You can port your policy when the date of renewal is nearing. However, you will have to submit a written application for the same to your insurer 45 days before your existing policy’s expiry date.
    • Upon receiving your application, the new insurer will want you to fill and submit the due portability and proposal forms.
    • Next, the new insurance firm will cross-check certain details, such as your claim history, medical details, etc., with your current insurance firm within a period of 7 days.
    • The insurer will then pass all the necessary information for porting one’s policy through the IRDAI portal.
    • Upon receiving the required information, the new insurer will frame the proposal as per their underwriting norms, and give it to you within a period of 15 days.

    Reasons for Rejection of Insurance Policy Portability Requests

    While all policyholders have the right to port their policy from one insurance firm to another, insurers also have the right to reject one’s portability application if the said application is not in line with their underwriting norms, conditions, etc. A few reasons why one’s insurance portability applications may get rejected are:

    • Providing inadequate information
    • Submitting incomplete documents on not submitting the document on time.
    • The presence of a large number of differences between one’s current policy and policy that the one intends to port to
    • Portability applications from policyholders who have a poor claims history
    • A break in renewing one’s policy
    • Presence of illnesses/diseases that did not exist when the policyholder purchased their current policy

    In conclusion, while porting your policy can help you avail attractive benefits and lower premium rates, it is advisable to be aware of the differences between your current policy and new policy, features and benefits offered by the insurer, sub-limits, co-pay, additional clauses, etc. in order to avail a heath cover that matches one’s needs.