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Health insurance has become an absolute necessity in the recent days. If you are someone who belongs to a middle class family in India, a proper health insurance plan is absolutely must to ensure protection against unforeseen medical expenses. People who are healthy and maintain an active lifestyle can get insurance coverage without much difficulty. However, this may not be the case if you are suffering from some form of pre-existing illness. In order to gain more insights into this, let’s first define what exactly is a pre-existing illness.
If you are taking a medical insurance policy, a pre-existing illness is a medical condition that already exists at the time of signing up for a policy. A pre-existing disease could be anything ranging from diabetes to asthma. From an insurer’s point of view, customers with pre-existing illnesses are considered too risk to avail coverage under a regular health insurance plan. This is one of the main reasons why most insurers impose specific conditions when it comes to providing coverage for pre-existing conditions.
The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) mandates that all insurers must provide coverage for pre-existing illnesses. To prevent insurers from incurring losses, the General Insurance Council, an umbrella body established by the IRDAI, prescribed a waiting period up to 4 years before coverage can begin for pre-existing illnesses.
All insurance companies operating in India follow this guideline when providing service for customers. The waiting period for pre-existing conditions may vary from one insurer to another. There are companies that offer shorter waiting period. You may take the waiting period into consideration while shortlisting companies for health insurance purchase.
As per the guidelines set forth by the IRDAI, any pre-existing conditions that was treated (or even cured) within 48 months prior to the issuance of policy must be declared to the insurer. Even if you have been cured for a condition that you have experienced before, it is better to declare this to the insurer in order to avoid future complications.
It is estimated that most of the insurance rejections in India happen because of pre-existing illnesses. Companies reject the applications of people who are deemed too risky because of their pre-existing conditions. Though there is a risk of rejection, it is better for applicants to declare their conditions as insurance is something based on mutual trust. If an insurer finds out about these conditions at the time of a claim, it could lead to outright rejection of the claim or even cancellation of the policy. In such cases, the policyholder might be in a bigger financial trouble.
Before you opt for a health insurance policy, please keep in mind the following things about pre-existing conditions:
Pre-existing diseases play a major role in health insurance. If you want to avoid these conditions set forth by insurers, your best bet is to start your health insurance cover early at a young age. When you are young and healthy, the insurance premiums will be lower and you can avoid the waiting period clauses or other issues related to pre-existing illnesses. If you are already suffering from pre-existing conditions, make sure that you compare the policies to get the best deal you can find.
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