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Everything You Need To Know About Health Insurance Portability

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Mr. Sharma purchased a health insurance from a private sector based health insurer 5 years back. Due to profitability concern the company has raised the premium for customers. On Mr. Kapoor’s advice, Mr. Sharma is looking forward to switch from current insurer to another insurer. He is not aware of insurance portability and wants to know what points he needs to remember before making the switch.

Well Mr. Sharma is lucky as his all concern would be addressed by this article, as this piece covers following sections.

 - What is Health Insurance Portability?

 - How can anyone switch between insurers

 - Points to consider before making the transition

What is Health Insurance Portability?

In 2011, Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) introduced insurance portability to Indian population. According to it, if an insured individual is not satisfied with his existing health insurer, he can switch to another insurer, subject to acceptance by the latter. With portability in effect, anyone can transfer the policy, thereby carrying forward the credit gained for the pre-existing health conditions and time bound exclusion, from one insurer to another. The insured would also be eligible for No claim Bonus and Free Medical Check-ups, which were accumulated during the previous policy, if any.

How can anyone switch between insurers?

 - Anyone willing to shift the policy to another insurer, would be given a proposal form, a portability form and details of product offered by the insurance company in consideration.

 - Once the company receives the application form from the policyholder, it will be eligible for the past claims history and medical records of the policyholder from the current policy issuer

 - Current Insurer are bound to provide the details about the policyholder within seven working days to the new insurer through a common information sharing platform developed by IRDA

 - Once provided with the data, the new insurer is given 15 days to decide whether he wants to cover the risk or not. If he fails to do this in the stipulated time-frame then the new insurer would be bound to underwrite the risk as per the IRDAI guidelines

Points to consider before making the transition

 - Policy seeker should apply for the policy to the new insurer at least 45 days prior to the premium renewal date

 - Insured usually get the benefit of old policy like no claim bonus, health check-ups, continuation of exclusion period with the new insurer etc**.

 - Both the old insurer and the new insurer has to complete the whole process in a given time. The old insurer has to provide all information within 7 days and the new insurer has to decide on the policy underwriting within 15 days, else it would be deemed that the new insurer has issued the policy.

 - New policy issuer can deny the port-in request of the applicant if he finds it unfavourable. In that case, the policy seeker would have to continue with his or her current policy issuer.

 - Terms and conditions of similar policy could vary from insurer to insurer, so every policy seeker should check out before making the transition

 - It is advisable that insured should check out the premium for the new policy as it may be more and may harm the interest of the policy seeker

 - Portability may be difficult for aged people as the new insurer may think them to be unfavourable

** exclusion period : When any person is having critical sickness before enrolling for the policy then almost all insurers don't cover the pre-existing sickness for certain years. This may vary depending on the type of sickness a person may be having. If you are looking to port from your existing insurer to a new one, you might want to check out the health insurance policy offered by Bharti AXA GI.

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