pays for your hospital bills for diagnostics, surgery etc.
With IRDA allowing Health Insurance portability, the exit barriers for customer to move out of their existing health insurance plan and buy a new one are notably lower. The biggest deterrent for customers to switch their health Policy prior to introduction of portability was the pre-existing disease clause.
Under the Pre-existing disease clause, customers are required to wait for a period of 3-4 years for the pre-existing disease to be covered under the policy. So, if people were to switch to new medical insurance provider, they were required to wait for another 4 years for getting Coverage for pre-existing disease. But under the portability regime, this is not the case. So, when a customer replaces his heath policy with a new one, the Waiting Period clock is not reset. The customer can continue to avail the pre-existing disease benefits as if he could have, had he not switched his plan.
While the barriers are much lower now, it is important that customers are mindful about certain aspects about switching to a new provider.
Apply for a new health plan at least 45 days before the expiry of the old policy. This is important because it takes some time to execute the portability procedures. For your application to be processed there is a need for the old and the new insurance companies to exchange relevant information (medical records and claims history). If the application is not made timely, you would have to remain without a cover for a certain time period till your new policy is activated. If there is a break in the policy, your portability request may also be denied.
Based on the information that the new insurer would gather from your existing insurance provider, they have a choice to refuse or accept your application. They can even choose to hike or lower the Premium rates.
The policy terms for health policies may vary from each other. It is common to see people comparing between policies based on just the sum assured, which is not the correct thing. Customers need to dwell a little more on this and check for the exclusions and Critical Illness policy terms as well, so that they are not taken aback by an insurance Claim refusal in the future.
Check if the new health insurance provider has a reasonable hospital network, where you can seek Cashless Hospitalization if required.
Before you finally take the leap, make sure that you get a review from existing customers of the company regarding their service standards. Also, check for the company’s insurance claims refusal record.