Sometimes you may end up feeling that you could have taken a health insurance policy from a better provider. Probably, you are not happy with what you are getting in return of paying a good amount of premium. So in such a case, you can check out other health insurance companies, compare their offers and plans, and port your health insurance plan to a new insurer.
As per the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA), a policyholder can do so without having to compromise on the benefits from the current policy. So let us now understand why some may want to port their medical insurance policy and the guidelines to portability. Thereafter, we will review the steps to port a health plan.
When Should You Port a Health Insurance Policy?
Porting your medical insurance policy may seem tasking, but it may be necessary to do so, under the following instances:
- Services Not Up to Expectation: If your current insurer is not providing you the required services that it formerly promised, or you are not happy with the quality of the service, then you should definitely consider switching your insurer.
- Hidden Clauses: In the course of making a claim or an emergency, if you come across any hidden clause that was not mentioned in the fine print, then you must switch to another provider who offers a more transparent and comprehensive policy.
- Difference in Premium Amount: If you end up paying high premiums on your health insurance plans, then you should compare other providers to check if any of the reliable ones are offering a lower premium option. If yes, then consider porting the policy to this new provider.
- Claim Settlement: If the existing service provider is notorious for slow claim settlements given a bad claim settlement ratio, then you should opt for a better insurance provider.
Guidelines to Health Insurance Portability
When porting your policy to a new insurer, you must choose the right provider. So, here are a few things to keep in mind.
- Policy Type: Both family and individual policies are portable.
- Insurance Providers: You can port policies from specialized/general health insurance companies to any specialized/general insurance providers.
- Notice Period: You should submit an application for portability 45 days before the expiry of the existing policy, to the new provider. Do not forget to state the name of the current provider.
- Timeframe: Portability is allowed only at renewal stage and not at other times.
- Like-to-like Policies: Only like-to-like and similar policies are portable. For instance, you can port one basic reimbursement plan to another and one top-up plan to another.
- Waiting Period: It is not necessary to wait for the entire waiting period when porting a policy. Waiting period is usually applicable only on pre-existing illnesses. For instance, out of 2 years waiting period in the current policy, a year is already completed, then in the new policy, the waiting period will be only the pending one year, and not two. In case the waiting period is exhausted, then you can receive a cover on an immediate basis.
- Underwriting Norms: When considering applications for porting of policies, the new insurer has to work within the underwriting norms. In case you do not have any pre-existing illness and the current policy is claim-free, the insurer may charge a nominal premium. Otherwise, the premium amount will increase, or the provider may refuse to offer a policy altogether.
- Turnaround Time of New Insurer: The new insurer has to respond to the portability request in 15 days of proposal’s receipt. In case of delay from the new insurer, and the renewal date of policy is nearing, it must request the old insurer to offer you a short-term insurance for up to 30 days from the due date. The amount of premium for this will be calculated on basis or pro-rata.
- Disapproval of the Application: The new insurer has the right to decline the portability application if the risk is not acceptable to it. In this case, you can go back to the old insurer even if the application for porting the policy was mid-way.
How to Port Your Existing Health Insurance Plan?
Below-given are steps to follow to port health insurance plans in India.
- Step 1 – You must apply for portability with the new insurer 45 days prior to existing policy’s expiry.
- Step 2 – Fill the form for porting policy and keep all the necessary documents ready for submission.
- Step 3 – After verifying the details and documents, the new-provider will port the policy in the timeframe of 7 days.
- Step 4 – On the IRDA portal, the health insurance provider will feed the required details to port the policy.
- Step 5 – The new insurer will form a proposal as per the underwriting norms.
- Step 6 – After processing your application, the proposal will be provided to you in 15 days.
What Ate the Benefits of Porting Health Insurance Plans?
There are several benefits of porting health insurance plans, some of which are mentioned below.
- Previous Benefits Continued: The benefits from your old policy will be applicable in the new policy as well. There will be no time-bound exclusions.
- Cheaper Premiums: Since you are porting your policy, the health insurance companies will probably offer you an option of lower premium payment, thus allowing you to maximize on savings.
- New Sum Insured: To determine the new sum insured, the insured sum, accrued bonus, and existing no claim bonus will be added.
- Modifying Existing Policy: You can modify the current policy to suit your requirements. For instance, you can opt for an additional cover as per your current lifestyle and health statics.
- Better Services: When choosing a new provider, you must check for its claim settlement ratio, transparency, hospital network, etc, and pick the best one accordingly. So, as expected you will be able to enjoy better services and a faster claim settlement.
Things to Keep in Mind When Planning Porting of Your Medical Insurance Policy
Following are some aspects to bear in mind when porting an insurance policy:
- You can choose to shift from a plan to another in the same insurance company.
- There is a grace period of 30 days for renewing a policy when porting is underway.
- The new insurer has to provide a minimum insurance sum same as the sum insured in the old policy. But, you can opt to increase this minimum sum insured at the renewal stage.
- There are no porting charges, but you have to only pay the premiums on the new policy.
Now that you understand the essentials of porting your health plan, you can compare and apply with an ideal provider and enjoy a lower premium, better service, without giving up the features and benefits of your current policy.