Unhappy with your current Insurer? Want to make a switch? Understand the what, when and how of health insurance portability with this article.
Change is hard at first, messy in the middle and gorgeous at the end! Last week, in a business conference, I met one of my EX- colleague wherein we instantly started a conversion about necessity of health insurance. With his bad experience with XYZ insurance company during claim settlement, we spoke about something called as Portability! Listening to him, even I chose to switch my insurer.
Portability in health insurance is nothing but changing your health insurance plan from one insurer to another. There could be several reasons behind why you don’t really want to go ahead with your current insurer and intend to switch. Luckily, since 2011, it is possible for you to switch from one insurer to another. Also, according to Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority [IRDAI], an insurance company has the right to accept or reject port-in requests.
Let’s find out more about ‘Portability’ in Health Insurance and how it works.
Meaning of Portability in Health Insurance
In simple terms Portability means a switch that you can do in your health insurance policy from one insurer to another without losing your valuable benefits like No claim bonus (NCB) and the waiting period (if you have already completed the long waiting period from your existing insurer). You have the complete freedom to port your policy for several reasons without losing the benefits you had accumulated in your existing policy.
For example, if you have already completed a good 2 years out of the total 3 years of the waiting period for pre-existing diseases, and you realize you want to port your policy for some reason. Then, you don’t have to be worried since in your new policy the 2 years of waiting period will be transferred to your new policy from one insurer to another.
Understand when is the right time to port
Before you actually think of porting your health insurance plan, keep in mind the below factors and check if these are the reasons why you want to switch from one insurer to another.
- Bad service – Your insurer does not keep up their promises for example honoring your claim or didn’t tell you about important clauses in the plan.
- Good offer – You are paying a huge chunk of your savings on services that are really poor or the same could be availed from another insurer with lesser premium. There are various health insurance companies which may provide you better offer in a lesser premium with additional benefits.
- Terms & Conditions -“Greater the transparency, more would be the accountability.” Your current insurer did not tell you about all the clauses and terms and conditions of the policy. You faced these hindrances while making a claim.
- Coverage – You feel that your existing insurer is not able to fulfill your requirements for coverage. You desperately are in search of an insurer that provides you sufficient coverage as per your requirement.
- Claim – You feel that you have faced a lot of issues during claim settlement. The whole process had literally been so disturbing that you want to switch to another insurer for efficient and hassle free claim settlement.
- Mobility – Your relocation to another city has already made you tired physically and emotionally. However, you then find out that there are hardly any network hospitals in your vicinity according to your health insurance plan. If your answers to the above factors are yes, then it is the right time to port your health insurance policy.
Simple steps to port your health insurance policy
Below mentioned steps should be followed, if you wish to port your health insurance plans
Step 1: You will have to approach the new insurer at least 45 days prior to the renewal of the health insurance plan. Now the new insurer will educate you about the different policies available taking your requirement into consideration.
Step 2: You will have to fill a portability form as well as the proposal form and submit the same to your new insurer.
Step 3: Your existing insurer will provide the claim as well as the medical history to the new insurer. These details have to be uploaded within 7 business days of the receipt of the portability form via a web portal of the IRDA.
Step 4: The new insurer will now review your claim as well as medical history on the web portal and take a call whether to approve or reject your proposal. They will then decide the price and inform the same to you. If your new insurer fails to communicate you about the proposal and the price, then they will have to accept your proposal come what may.
Why you can’t port your health insurance policy
There are certain conditions where the insurers follow stringent conditions thereby unwilling to port your health insurance policy.
- The Insurer can port your health insurance plans for your family and for yourself only on renewal.
- You can only enjoy the benefits of no claim bonus and the waiting period with your new insurer. Rest all terms and conditions will be strictly as per the discretion of the new insurer.
- You will have to contact the new insurer 45 days prior to the renewal in case you wish to port. If you fail to do so, then portability would be ruled out.
- If you fail to inform your exiting insurer about your desire to port your health insurance plan and accordingly inform the new insurer too.
- Portability is not supported if you are a senior citizen or your health is in bad shape. It is much cheaper for the young lot.
- If you fail to pay your premium with your existing insurer within 30 days of renewal, a break-in policy occurs which won’t allow you to port your health insurance premium.
- If you have made a claim in your previous policy, you won’t be eligible for portability.
Remember, if you are hale and hearty below 45 years old, you should port your health insurance plans for wider benefits. Nevertheless, if you have a bad medical history, it is always advisable to stick to your existing insurer.