Health Insurance Portability by '09?
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22 December 2008
New Delhi, India
Planned Draft Guidelines to be sent to IRDA
Mediclaim policy holders dissatisfied with the services of their insurance provider can easily switch to another firm with accumulated bonuses beginning next fiscal.
The General Insurance Council an association of non– life insurers, has arrived at a conclusion and recommendations of which would be sent to the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority shortly.
“All the insurers have reached a consensus and most probably recommendations will be sent to insurance regulator by the end of this month or early next month,” said M Ramadoss, chairman, Oriental Insurance Company. Ramadoss, who is also a member of the council said the portability would be a reality by the April 2009.
The council has devised a draft guideline which is in favour of both customers and insurance companies, he said, adding as and when the regulator approves the framework it would be implemented by companies. Under the present dispensation, a policy holder is given health cover for a year and the same has to be renewed in every 12 months.
If there is no claim, the policy holder is entitled to a bonus in the form of increased sum and for every claim–free year, this bonus gets accumulated.
After the expiry of the term, if one intends to switch over to a new company, the accumulated bonus is not carried forward and one has to start all over again. For senior citizens who bought the policy before turning senior, it becomes all the more difficult because companies are reluctant to sell new mediclaim policies to the elderly. In order to resolve the issue of bonus as the policies of insurance companies vary, the council has reached some consensus a minimum cover benefit transfer, Ramadoss said.
Two insurers do not generally have identical mediclaim policy and so the council would work out a minimum benefit that would be carried forward in case of change of insurer, he added.
The industry would set the guaranteed minimum covers as agreed by companies which can be carried along to a new company. This will allow the insured to know the facilities he can carry to the new company, he said. So the policy holder can easily do cost benefit analysis of switching over to a new insurance company, he added.