Health insurance policyholders can port their plan to another service provider if they are unsatisfied with the medical coverage or facing issues related to charges and services. In 2011, the Insurance Regulatory Development Authority of India (IRDAI) allowed the porting of health insurance policies due to the growing number of customers dissatisfied with the services or coverage.
Says Apaar Kasliwal, executive director of PolicyBoss.com, “In case you are dissatisfied with your current insurance policy cover or the insurer is not willing to offer new age covers that are otherwise readily available with other insurers, or you are dissatisfied with the hospital network offered by your existing health insurance provider, you can consider porting your health insurance policy.”
For senior citizens, medical needs require proper care and attention. They can opt for other companies if their insurance company lacks the services. Let us see the challenges seniors may face while porting their policies and the key things to remember when putting such a request.
Challenges For Seniors
Age: Insurers may feel hesitant to porting health policies for seniors because of the higher risks related to health conditions as one gets older. Although there is no age limit for portability requests, insurance companies do not prefer porting policies for seniors aged more than 70 years. Says Kasliwal, “In general practice, it has been observed that insurers prefer porting health insurance policies of people under the age of 70.”
Extra Premium: Health insurance premiums increase as one gets older and when the coverage increases. In the case of porting, if the cover remains the same as the current policy, the chances of a higher premium are less. However, any addition of new coverage may attract extra costs.
According to Kasliwal, insurance policy premiums differ from insurer to insurer. Insurance companies may apply stringent underwriting rules, charge higher premiums, and even introduce a co-pay clause to portability requests from senior citizens, so it is advisable to check on these with new insurers.
Extra Details: It applies when the policyholder opts for enhancing the cover. The policyholder may be asked to provide additional details depending on what is being added to the scope of health coverage. So, depending on the risk profile, current and pre-existing health conditions, etc., the insurance company may ask seniors to furnish the details accordingly.
Non-Availability: Seniors, depending on their health condition, may not always be available to respond to queries. Kasliwal says that the policyholders may be asked to be available for medical check-ups and calls for various questions from the new insurer, including compliance, failing which may lead to rejection of the porting request.
Things To Keep In Mind While Porting A Policy
- The policyholders have a right to port an individual or a family policy. While doing so, they can avail of porting credit for the waiting period already spent in the current policy for pre-existing diseases, whose coverage is vital for seniors. While porting a policy, they must consider that pre-existing conditions are covered, or they may have to wait before the coverage kicks in.
- The insurance companies should adhere to the prescribed timelines for porting a policy, as provided by IRDAI.
- Also, the new insurance policy should be for at least the same sum assured as the current policy.
Seniors should check these details with the new insurer to ensure they get these benefits. After considering all the relevant factors, they can apply for porting their policy.
How To Port The Policy?
- The policyholder should submit a request for policy porting to the new issuer at least 45 days before the due date of renewal of the current policy.
- Once done, the policyholder will get a portability form from the new insurance company and the details of its different product offerings.
- Check and select the insurance plan suitable to you as a senior, fill up the portability form, attach the required documents, and submit the request.
- After that, the new insurer will approach your current insurance company to check the medical history, renewal and claim records, etc.
- The current insurer then has to share your data on the IRDAI portal within seven working days of the request raised for portability.
- When satisfied with the information, the new insurer determines the underwriting considerations and coverage under the policy the policyholder has chosen. The new insurer must complete this process within 15 working days; otherwise, it will have to accept the portability request.
For ease, senior citizens must understand the various requirements and keep all the details ready before applying.