How to Port Your Health Insurance Policy

May 13, 2024 / Reading Time: Approx. 6 mins

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How to Port Your Health Insurance Policy

In today's uncertain world, where medical emergencies can strike at any moment, health insurance is a crucial safeguard against the financial strains arising from illnesses, injuries, or accidents. It serves as a vital support system for individuals and families, offering a broad spectrum of coverage, from hospital bills to consultation fees. As healthcare costs continue to soar, the importance of health insurance only grows, underscoring its crucial role in modern life.

Despite carefully selecting the right health insurance policy-days or even months spent comparing health insurance providers based on offerings, coverage, premiums, and reviews-life's twists and turns may make your once ideal policy less fitting. Perhaps your lifestyle has evolved, or you have encountered limitations in coverage that were neglected initially. While health insurance providers typically offer a 15-day free-look period, uncovering all potential drawbacks of the policy or the insurer may not suffice.

Recognising the evolving needs of policyholders, the Insurance Regulatory Development Authority of India (IRDAI) took a pivotal step in 2011 by introducing health insurance portability. This initiative allows policyholders to seamlessly transfer their health insurance policies from one provider to another, offering a pathway to greater satisfaction and peace of mind.

What Is Health Insurance Portability?

The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) allows individuals dissatisfied with their current health insurance policy features/benefits the option to port their policy. Health insurance portability is nothing but a transfer of a policy from one insurance provider to another while retaining the benefits accumulated under their existing policy.

Moreover, this provision can also facilitate the transition from an Individual Health Insurance Plan to a Family Floater Health Insurance Plan, depending upon approval from the underwriter.

Although health insurance portability has been widely used in car insurance, it is now extensively offered by all health insurance providers in India. So, the process of shifting from one insurer to another while upholding continuity benefits.

Health insurance portability includes all indemnity-based individual health insurance policies, family floater health insurance policies, and group health insurance policies. The IRDAI and insurers do not impose any charges for availing the portability facility in health insurance.

The porting process entails transferring various elements, including the current sum insured, insured members, accrued No Claim Bonus (NCB), waiting periods for pre-existing diseases, specific diseases, and maternity benefit waiting periods.

When to Consider Porting Your Health Insurance Policy?

Many policyholders find themselves in a dilemma when deciding whether to port their health insurance plan. Here are some fundamental points to consider regarding when you should consider porting your Health Insurance Policy:

1. Unsatisfactory Service:

It is common for agents or company representatives to make enticing promises during the policy purchase process, only for the actual service quality to fall short afterwards. If you find yourself receiving subpar service or a dull customer experience from your current insurer, it may be prudent to switch to a company renowned for its excellent service and seamless processes, spanning from policy purchase to claim settlement.

2. Concealed Terms and Conditions:

At times, agents and representatives may purposefully withhold certain policy clauses to secure a sale, or they may unintentionally miss to mention them. If undisclosed terms and conditions significantly impact your health insurance coverage or cause discomfort, it makes sense to transition to a different insurer.

3. Lower Claim Settlement Ratio:

Amidst the excitement of purchasing a Health Insurance Policy, individuals often overlook the insurer's claim settlement track record. If your current insurer exhibits sluggish claim settlement processes or a low claim settlement ratio, it is advisable to port your policy to a renowned insurer for prompt settlements.

4. Elevated Premiums:

Given the heightened competition in the insurance sector, health insurance companies frequently offer competitive premiums. If you discover that a competitor extends the same or better benefits at a lower premium than what you currently pay, exploring the option of porting your policy could be beneficial.

5. Additional Coverage Needs:

If your current insurer fails to provide a specific cover that you require, it makes sense to switch to a competitor offering the desired coverage for a comparable premium or a reasonable premium increment.

6. Enhanced Value Proposition:

If a new insurance policy offers a superior value proposition in terms of overall policy offerings, transitioning to the new insurer after comprehensive research and comparison may prove beneficial.

How to Port Your Health Insurance Policy?

Follow these steps to initiate the process of porting your Health Insurance Policy:

1. Begin by selecting the Health Insurance Policy that aligns most closely with your requirements. Once you have settled on the insurer of choice, proceed to their website to submit a porting request. Alternatively, you can opt for offline submission by visiting the nearest insurer branch or contacting their helpline number.

2. Upon receiving your request, a representative from the insurance company will reach out to you to confirm the request and provide guidance through the porting procedure.

3. The insurer will provide you with the IRDAI portability and proposal forms, necessitating careful completion. Return these forms to the insurer along with the requisite documentation.

4. Upon receipt of the documents, the insurer will communicate with your current insurer to get the records of your medical history and policy particulars. Insurers are mandated to share this information for such requests via IRDAI.

5. Once the new insurer possesses all the necessary details, they will commence the underwriting process. During this phase, an underwriter will scrutinise your profile and determine whether to approve your insurance proposal.

6. The underwriting process must be concluded within 15 days of receiving details from your current insurer. Failure to comply or delays in the process is considered as you are covered under the new Health Insurance Policy.

Here's a comprehensive checklist of documents required for Health Insurance Policy porting:

- IRDAI portability form

- Proposal form

- Proof of identity

- Proof of address

- Existing insurance policy document (can be obtained from the current insurer)

- Medical history documents (can be obtained from the current insurer)

- Claim history documents (can be obtained from the current insurer)

- Declaration of no-claim, if applicable (can be obtained from the current insurer)

What Are the Things to Remember When Porting Your Health Insurance?

1. Policy Type Consistency:

Portability is permitted only between policies of the same type. This implies that you cannot entirely alter the plan, coverage, or policy type. For instance, you can transition from one Basic Health Insurance Plan to another Basic Health Insurance Plan or from one Top-up Health Insurance Plan to another Top-up Plan.

2. Company Type Consistency:

The insurer you are transitioning to must be of the same type. For instance, from a general insurance company to another general insurance company or from a specialised health insurance company to another specialised health insurance company.

3. Renewal Timeframe:

Portability is only permissible at the time of policy renewal.

4. Notification to the Insurer:

If you wish to port your Health Insurance, you are required to inform your current insurer in writing at least 45 days in advance. Additionally, you must specify the name of the insurer to which you intend to switch.

5. Response Time from Current Insurer:

Upon receiving your portability request, the new insurer must acknowledge it within 3 working days and inform a decision within 15 days of receiving all requisite documents. If there are any delays, the new insurer must request your current insurer to provide a short-term insurance cover lasting up to 30 days, with the premium calculated on a pro-rata basis.

6. Fee-free Service:

Health Insurance Portability is provided free of charge, and insurers are prohibited from imposing any fees for this service.

7. Premium Adjustments:

The new insurer may propose a higher or lower premium compared to your current insurer, depending on pre-existing diseases and claim history.

8. Grace Period:

During the porting process, you are granted an additional grace period while your Health Insurance is still under transition. The premium is calculated based on the number of days your old policy was active.

9. Sum Insured and Coverage:

When porting your policy, you have the option to increase your sum insured and extend coverage, subject to approval from the new insurer.

10. Waiting Period:

You are not required to undergo the waiting period clause again if it has already been fulfilled in your old Health Insurance Policy. The remaining waiting period will be deducted from the waiting period of your new policy. However, if the new insurer offers additional coverage with a mandatory waiting period, they must inform you before issuing the Health Insurance Policy.

11. No Claim Bonus (NCB):

Your new insurer will offer a premium discount based on the accumulated No Claim Bonus (NCB) from your old policy, ensuring that you retain this benefit.

12. Transfer of Other Benefits:

Besides the NCB, any other credits and benefits will be transferred to your new Health Insurance Policy even after switching insurers.

To conclude:

Experiencing a medical crisis can pose significant financial and emotional strain on the patient and their loved ones. Without adequate health insurance coverage, it can swiftly deplete savings or lead to substantial debt accumulation. Therefore, the decision to purchase a Health Insurance Policy should be approached carefully, considering factors such as lifestyle, family needs, medical history, and more.

When porting your Health Insurance, it is essential to thoroughly assess all discussed points and meticulously review limits, sub-limits, coverage, clauses, inclusions, exclusions, premiums, and exemptions to mitigate potential future disappointments. Opting to purchase or port health insurance online can streamline the comparison process between various policies and may even yield discounts on premiums.

Click here to access our comprehensive guide on purchasing Health Insurance in India. It can provide further insights to aid in making informed decisions regarding your health insurance needs.

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MITALI DHOKE is a Research Analyst at PersonalFN. She is an MBA (Finance) and a post-graduate in commerce (M. Com). She focuses primarily on covering articles around mutual funds including NFOs, financial planning and fixed-income products. Mitali holds an overall experience of 4 years in the financial services industry.
She also actively contributes towards content creation for PersonalFN’s social media platforms in the endeavour to educate investors and enhance their financial knowledge.

 


Disclaimer: Investment in securities market are subject to market risks, read all the related documents carefully before investing.
This article is for information purposes only and is not meant to influence your investment decisions. It should not be treated as a mutual fund recommendation or advice to make an investment decision in the above-mentioned schemes.

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