Insurance Gyan: IRDA declares Health Insurance as PORTABLE
Finally, Your Health Insurance is PORTABLE
Years after the General Insurance companies have agreed to making Vehicle Insurance Portable, IRDA has made Health Insurance portable. This simply means, you can change your Health Insurance Provider with out losing benefits for pre-existing illnesses and time-bound exclusions.
To whom does it apply?
This applies to Health Insurance policies from NON-LIFE Insurance companies, that is, if you have a health policy from LIC of India, ING Vysya Life, ICICI PruLife, or the other 30 odd life insurance companies, this DOES NOT apply to you. However, if you have a Health Insurance Policy from Star Health, Swastik Health, Oriental Insurance company and so it, this information is for YOU.
What is Portability?
Portability is the ability to change your health insurance policy between service providers. If you have taken a policy from one company and would want to shift to another for whatever reason, you can do so now with minimum risk.
What is its Significance?
In the past, if you were taking a health policy, the insurer had a condition for pre-existing diseases / conditions would be covered only after the first or the second or the third year. For example, if you had diabetes, the insurance company would cover the costs only after you continue with the same insurer, with out break in insurance, for the lock-in period. If the health insurer conveniently forgot to remind you to renew your insurance, and you forgot as well, in time, your insurance policy lapses and you will need to take a fresh policy with the same clause - pre-existing disease covered after 3 years (for an example). Now, if you want to switch your Health Insurance company, the new company would have to honour your pre-existing condition, provided you have been with the previous company with out break for the last three years.
When can you Shift?
You will have to plan your shift at least two months before your renewal premium is due. You will have to submit the Portability application form and the Proposal form at least 45 days before the premium renewal date. Plan in advance and act fast.
When Should the Decision be given?
Also, when you are shifting your insurance company, if the company to which you are shifting to, does not communicate its decision of any rejection or requests for additional information, the insurance company cannot reject the proposal.
Where can I Find more Information?
There was a notification in public interest on 01 October 2011 in the Bangalore edition of the Deccan Herald. More information is available on the IRDA website at http://www.irda.gov.in. Also contact your Health Insurance Advisor, your current company and the company you wish to approach for your new proposal. There could be hidden clauses.
Is it all "Advantage Customer"?
To a great extent YES. However, most Health Insurance companies have similar charges and clauses. The threat of customer churn COULD force them to provide better service.