Benefits of Health Insurance Portability

Health Insurance Portability
Health Insurance Portability

The concept of portability means switching from once company to another. Just like you can port your mobile numbers from one network provider to another, similarly you can switch between health insurance companies. Health insurance portability means that the policyholder can switch to a different health insurance company if he is not satisfied with the current company. This may sound simple and easy to be done, but there is more to it.

Health Insurance policies that are currently offered have different features and are bound under different terms and conditions and also no two health insurance policies offered by one company have similar guidelines. So porting of such complex products from one company to the other doesn’t seem possible. Moreover the question is if such porting is feasible? IRDA has come up with this facility because all the current Health Insurance companies denied coming up with a simple and standard policy that will be offered by all the companies.

When to apply for the switch ?

The application for proposal along with the porting form needs to be filled with the new health insurance company 45 days before the due date of renewal of current health insurance policy. Upon receive of your application; the new insurer will contact the previous company within the next 7 days to collect information on medical and claim history within 7 days of the request made by the new insurer. This data needs to be uploaded on the IRDA’s website. If the new insurer fails to respond within 15 days time frame, the proposal is considered to have been accepted.

Issues with health insurance portability

  • There are no set guidelines on the actions that can or cannot be taken against the previous insurer if it refuses or fails to release information on time.
  • At times the authentication of the information and medical claim history is questionable. If some discrepancy is noted, the process may take longer than estimated timeline. If so, there are no instructions on the actions that need to be taken.

Porting Pre-existing Diseases

If a policyholder is all fit and healthy and free from any diseases at the time of getting health insurance organized from the current insurer. But through the passage of time, 1-2 diseases are infected for which the current policy provides claims. So, now when porting this policy to the new insurer, the current health condition is considered ‘Pre-Existing Disease’ and higher premium may be charged by the new insurer to cover for.

No Claim bonus

For every claim-free year, the insurer increases 5% (usually) sum assured on the existing policy without any extra charge. As per the current guidelines, at the time of porting the policy the limitation will be to port the sum assured along with bonus. There is some clarity needed if the new insurer will accommodate such porting of bonus with or without extra charge. Overall, this is a good facility that IRDA wants to provide to policyholders who are dissatisfied with their insurance companies. But before taking any further actions, it would be better to wait for further clarifications to come through.

Health Insurance is a must because

  • Health is Wealth! So insuring your health is equivalent to insuring your wealth
  • Any and every medical emergency doesn’t strike with prior warning
  • Costs of Medical treatments are rising in double inflation figures
  • It acts as a safeguard against your assets and investment getting used up to pay for medical expenses
  • So that while getting treated for any illness you are not worried about monetary issues and can concentrate fully on recovery
  • It is proved long-term benefits as you might be fit and healthy now but you don’t know what will happen after a few years
  • Health only deteriorates with age
  • Lastly, because you have read and understood all the above points!