By , Aswathy Varughese
Mumbai , India
Now, policyholders, who are dissatisfied with their current health insurers, have the freedom of switching to other insurers who offer a better deal without losing the continuity benefits. But before switching the health insurers, know the fine prints.
Firstly, when a customer shifts to a new insurer, he will have to undergo all underwriting procedures just like a new policyholder. The loading for porting will be decided only after the completion of medical risk assessment.
Bajaj Allianz General Insurance, head-underwriting, TA Ramalingam says, “The new insurer has the right to reject your policy based on its underwriting guidelines, which may differ from your existing insurer. So customers need to be cautious before planning to switch.”
Why would anybody shift to a new insurer? Of course, to get a better deal compared to the existing health one. So, compare the sum insured available with the new insurer that you intend to shift. It is always better to switch
the plans that are similar in nature. Otherwise, the policy will end up in opting either lower cover or higher cover.
The policy holder has to inform the new insurer about the time regarding the choice of switching. According to Irda guidelines, insurers need to be informed 45 days before renewing the existing policy. If the request for the portability is made after 45 days, the insurer may reject the request.
Waiting period for certain illness varies from insurer to insurer. Hence, it is important for the policy holders to check the time period for pre-existing diseases. Besides the specific exclusions, other terms and conditions need to be scrutinised well before shifting.
“Take a conscious decision on shifting. Service levels of the insurers would be the most important criteria while changing your insurer. People would like to shift to an insurer who has excellent service levels especially in claims settlement,” says Shreeraj Deshpande, head-health insurance, Future Generali India.
The earned bonuses so far with the existing insurer may change as per the new portability guidelines. Ensure that you get existing benefits and additional benefits while porting your health insurance policy.
It is advisable to compare the product constructs such as internal sub-limits and co-payments. Also the policy holder should be aware about the age band pricing and how people of higher ages are treated while porting.
“With the implementation of health insurance portability, insurers will have to enhance their service capabilities and engage in constant innovation to service their existing and potential customers. It is expected to bring in new benchmarks in delivery mechanisms and product innovation in the industry,” say Damien Marmion, chief executive officer, Max Bupa Health Insurance.