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Health Insurance Portability


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Health Insurance Portability

Health is an indispensable element of human being, making it crucial to be planned wisely in matters where ever essential. Taking the right health insurance plan at right time is a responsible decision.  However, while one is planning the matters of health, its longevity cannot be guaranteed.  This is where insurance porting comes handy. Insurance porting refers to the transference of an insurance policy from one insurer to another. The term can also be attributed to a simple switch in the type of insurance coverage; such as a switch from a group policy to an individual plan. If applicable, the benefits of the previous plan are also carried over to the ported policy. Following the release of a circular by the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) in 2011 to address the needs of health insurance policyholders, the insurance porting procedure has become a fundamentally straightforward process. It is important to note, however, that porting is strictly restricted to only certain types of policies such as health insurance; life insurance, for instance, cannot be ported.

Why should you Port your Health Insurance?

There could be various reasons that would require you to port health insurance. A few of these are discussed below:

  • Discrepancies in Claim Settlement:
    With a sizable number of insurance companies, timely claim settlement can be a challenging affair. If you notice that your current insurer has been unable to provide the necessary cover in an effective and reliable manner, it might be a good idea to switch to a new insurer.
  • Lack of Transparency:
    Insurance plans can sometimes be riddled with binding clauses that are expressed in complicated ways to reduce the transparency of the plan. Often, it is only during an emergency that policyholders realize that an array of hidden clauses is present in their policies. If, after a careful examination of the terms and clauses, you find that there are many binding clauses that were not clarified at purchase, porting to a more transparent plan would be ideal.
  • Evolving Coverage Needs:
    With fresh viral strains and illnesses appearing each year, you might wish to upgrade to a policy that addresses a wider range of health issues. In this case, you can generally port to a different plan offered by the same insurer. If you have already made an insurance claim, you might want to apply for a higher insured sum. Porting to a more effective plan from the insured sum standpoint is quite common amongst policyholders.

What Factors Should you Consider Before Porting?

1. Age and Medical History:

This is a particularly crucial factor to consider since most insurers will be reluctant to approve policy porting applications by individuals above a certain age threshold. It is more ideal for senior citizens to seek an increase in the insured sum in the same policy instead of opting to port health insurance. A porting application may also be rejected if the insurer learns that you have a constant need to visit hospitals owing to the presence of pre-existing health problems. High blood pressure, renal failure, and diabetes are the principal malefactors that contribute to the rejection of a request to port health insurance.

2. Waiting Period:

In all cases, waiting periods are carried over without any penalties in the porting process, positively affecting medical insurance portability. There are primarily three types of waiting periods - 30 to 45-day waiting periods for freshly bought policies, 1 to 2-year waiting periods for health issues such as kidney stones and appendicitis, and long-term waiting periods for pre-existing conditions like heart disease or diabetes. The new policy to which you have ported will take into account the latter two waiting periods as long as a porting application has been submitted at least 45 days prior to the expiry date of your current policy. Thus, if you are porting from a 3-year-old policy to a new policy that has a waiting period of 2 years for kidney stone coverage, the waiting period will be revoked and you can avail the coverage immediately.

3. Sum Insured:

An increase in the insured sum demands the completion of the entire waiting period. As an example, if you are porting from an insurance policy that offers coverage of 1 lakh to another policy that offers coverage of 2 lakhs, any hospitalization during the waiting period of your new policy will not entitle you to the additional 1 lakh offered by the fresh insurance plan.

It is also important to note that any request for an acute increase in the insured sum will invite suspicion from the new insurer. It is almost impossible to achieve any drastic increase in the insured sum by porting your health insurance.

4. Premium:

All insurance policies maintain a balance between the premium, the insured sum, and the extent of policy coverage. While you may be aiming to purchase a policy that has a significantly lower premium, it is essential to see how the other two variables in the equation have been affected. A reduction in the insured sum or alteration of the types of illnesses covered is certain to tag along with the diminished premium.

5. Claim Settlement History:

While it might seem tempting to port to a different plan for ameliorated premiums, higher insured sums, and additional benefits, the claim settlement history of your new insurer should be prioritized as a deciding factor. If the new insurer has a history of being unable to address immediate claim settlements in emergencies, it would be better to stick to your former insurer.

Additional Factors to Consider Before Porting your Health Insurance

  • Time frame for portability:

Health insurance can only be ported during the period defined as the renewal stage for your old policy.

  • Type of policy to port:

In certain cases, you might want to switch from a family insurance policy to an individual plan due to any of the reasons mentioned above. Here, you will have to consider what type of policy would best address your coverage needs.

  • Notice period:

This refers to the minimum number of days before which you must inform your previous insurer of your intention to switch and submit a fresh application. This period is generally 45 days.

  • New insurer acceptance period:

As the name suggests, this is the time that your new insurer will require to approve or respond to your application. This can range from 7 to 15 days in most cases.

Possible Disadvantages of Porting

  • Loss of Certain Benefits:
    If you are looking to reduce your premium by porting to a new plan, you will often have to trade certain benefits to achieve this. The features of both policies must be meticulously analyzed to ensure that the loss of certain benefits does not adversely affect your potential requirements.
  • Lack of Significant Policy Changes:
    In a majority of cases, it is unlikely that the benefits, premium, and insured sum of the new policy to which you have ported justify the procedure for porting. Since all insurance companies look at very similar factors while setting premiums and coverage, it is impossible to glean a significant improvement in the benefits by porting.
  • Strict Time Frames for Portability:
    A health insurance policy cannot be ported freely at all times; it can only be done in a short window that opens a few days before renewal.

Steps to Port Health Insurance

  1. An application must be drafted and sent to the new insurer at least 45 days before the expiry of the current policy.
  2.  Fill up forms attributed to medical insurance portability and submit all the relevant documents.
  3. The plan will be ported within two weeks given that your documents and application requests are approved.
  4.  All the information regarding health insurance porting will be uploaded to the official IRDA portal.
  5.  The proposal will be framed in accordance with all the norms once all the required information is received and satisfactorily verified.
  6. The new insurers will accept and offer a proposal within a 15-day period, failing which they will be forced to accept all the requests that were made in your porting application.

Why Choose Religare Health Insurance

With over 7400 network hospitals under the Religare umbrella and over 43, 00,000 services claimed over the years, Religare Health Insurance is amongst the most reliable options in the industry. The swift claim settlement procedures, and high flexibility of the wide range of plans makes Religare Health Insurance an excellent alternative to your current insurance policy.

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