Health insurance is essential for people of all ages irrespective of their financial well-being. Given the variety of health plans available in the market, people often get confused and end up buying a health policy that is not ideal for them. Although health insurance companies offer a 15-day free-look period within which you can cancel your policy for free, a lot of people realise the need to switch their health insurer after exhausting this period.
Fortunately! Changing your existing health insurance provider is possible with the ‘portability’ feature.
In 2011, the Insurance Regulatory & Development Authority of India (I.R.D.A.I) issued a notice allowing for health insurance portability. Both individual and family health policies can be ported to another health insurance company. Not only that, but you can also port your group health insurance policy into an individual or family floater policy.
Guidelines for Health Insurance Portability
The I.R.D.A.I had issued a few guidelines related to health insurance portability. Take a look at them below:
- A health insurance policy can be ported to another insurer only at the time of policy renewal.
- You can port your health policy only to a similar policy from another insurer. For instance, you cannot port your comprehensive health policy to a top-up plan.
- You should apply for portability to the new insurer 45 days before the expiry of your existing health policy.
- The new insurer will accept or deny your portability request within 15 days of receiving your application.
- You will continue to receive the same benefits and bonuses from the new insurer as offered by your previous health policy.
- You can also opt for additional benefits from the new insurer at the time of porting your health policy. For instance, you can increase your sum insured after porting your policy provided the new insurer approves it.
- The new insurer will charge a premium as per its underwriting norms.
- You do not have to pay any porting fee to switch your health insurer.
- You need to inform your previous insurer about porting your health insurance policy in writing and the insurer will acknowledge your request within 3 days.
- The new insurer can deny your health insurance portability request if there is a break in your policy.
- An additional grace period of 30 days is allowed if your policy expires while your portability request is under process. You will have to pay the premium on a pro-rata basis during the grace
- The waiting period will apply from the start of your previous health policy. You will not need to spend the entire waiting period once again after porting your policy to a new insurer. For example, if your health policy has pre-existing diseases waiting period of 3 years and you port your policy after two years, you will only have to wait the remaining period of 1 year with the new insurer.
How to Port Your Health Insurance Policy?
Follow the steps given below to port your health insurance policy to another insurer:
- Fill up the IRDAI form for health insurance portability and approach the new insurer with a portability request 45 days before the expiry of your previous policy
- The new insurer will send you a proposal form and a portability form
- Submit the filled-in forms to the new insurer and keep all the required documents, such as your previous policy document, handy
- The new insurer will assess your application and contact your previous insurer to get your details, such as your claim history, medical records, etc.
- After receiving all the details, the new insurer will either accept or reject your portability request within 15 days of receiving your request. If the new insurer responds after 15 days, they will have to accept your portability request.
- If accepted, your health insurance policy will be ported within 7 days.
- The new insurer will update the details of porting your health insurance policy at the IRDAI portal
Documents Required to Port a Health Insurance Policy
You will have to submit the following documents to port your health insurance policy to a new insurer:
- IRDAI portability form
- Previous health insurance policy document
- Identity proof
- Address proof
- Proposal form
- Documents of medical history
- Claim history, if any
- No claim declaration
In a Nutshell
Health insurance portability is a blessing for people who wish to change their health insurer way after the commencement of their policy. The process of porting a health policy is pretty simple and can be initiated a few weeks before your policy expires. Make sure to go through the IRDAI guidelines on health insurance portability before applying for it.