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  • All about waiting period and survival period in health insurance

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    Health insurance offers a host of benefits for the insured and ensures protection in this world of unpredictability. However, there are certain provisions that must be taken into consideration before subscribing to a specific policy. Waiting period is one among them. There are different types of waiting period associated with medical insurance. The provisions regarding these are typically described clearly in the policy document.

    Coverage for illnesses begin after the end of the waiting period. The lower the waiting period, the quicker the coverage begins. Hence, this is a crucial thing to know before you purchase a policy from an insurer. Waiting period is something that is there in all health insurance policies irrespective of the companies. This is mainly used by insurance companies to protect themselves from various liability risks.

    Types of waiting period

    In health insurance policies, waiting period comes in different forms. They can be given as follows.

    Initial waiting period This refers to the waiting period associated with the actual commencement of a policy. Initial waiting period is typically 30 days in most health insurance policies. If you happen to catch a disease during this initial waiting period, the insurer is not liable to provide any compensation. However, this waiting period does not apply for accidental injuries.
    Waiting period for pre-existing diseases Most insurers in the market provide coverage for diseases that already exist before the commencement of the policy. However, this coverage comes with a certain waiting period. This waiting period varies from one insurer to another. Most insurers have at least two years of waiting period for this. However, this could be as high as four years with certain insurers.
    Disease-specific waiting period Insurance companies also have specific rules regarding certain illnesses. Specific diseases in the list mentioned in the policy have specific waiting periods. For instance, the insurer may set a waiting period of two years for diseases like hypertension, hernia, or diabetes.
    Waiting period for maternity or newborn cover Maternity cover is typically not inbuilt in most health insurance policies. Some insurers provide it as an add-on cover. However, there are some insurers in the market that offer maternity cover after a specific waiting period. Typically, maternity cover comes with a waiting period of 2 to 4 years. If you are planning on getting coverage for maternity and newborn baby expenses, you may have to plan well-ahead.

    Survival Period in Critical Illness Covers

    Survival period is a term specific to critical illness covers. In simple terms, survival period means that the insured has to ‘survive’ a certain period after the first diagnosis of a critical illness in order to receive the benefits. Depending upon the insurer, this period may vary. However, 30 days is the most common survival period for most insurers. When you are choosing a critical illness cover, you must make sure that this survival period is minimal. Here is a few things you must know about survival period and critical illness covers.

    • Survival period is calculated upon the first diagnosis of the critical illness.
    • Survival period is in addition to the initial waiting period specified for a policy.
    • Upon completion of the survival period, the insurer will pay the lump sum amount as mentioned in the critical illness cover.
    • The money received after the survival period can be used for any purpose ranging from medical treatment to personal expenses.

    Waiting period is something that must not be ignored when choosing a medical insurance policy. Almost all insurers in the market have waiting period in their health insurance plans. However, the terms of waiting period may vary from one insurer to another. It is necessary to check the policy terms on waiting period before finalizing a health insurance plan.