Health insurance in India has evolved with the years and there are now several kinds of health insurance plans and other initiatives that benefit customers immensely. One of these evolutionary initiatives is health insurance portability. IRDAI (Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India) has looked to address concerns of those who are not happy with their present insurance providers with health insurance portability. What this means is that customers can easily transfer their current health insurance policies to another provider. This measure keeps insurance companies on their toes and also safeguards rights of customers. They also get better options which is always a good thing. Customers can easily switch to a health insurance provider who seems better without worrying about losing any of the benefits accrued from the earlier policy.

The waiting period for coverage of pre-existing diseases can also be carried forward to the new provider. In this context, you can consider checking out insurance companies like ICICI Lombard, Star Health and Apollo Health Insurance among others who offer several flexible and attractive health insurance plans that you may wish to switch to.

Most people choose health insurance portability for these reasons:

·        Bad customer service

·        Extremely late reimbursements

·        Low coverage for particular ailments

·        Tedious and late procedure for settlement of claims

·        Increased premium in case of a claim being made

·        Hidden terms and conditions and co-payment clauses

·        Limits on room rents

·        More affordable offerings from other providers

On that note, here are the top 7 things that you should know about health insurance portability:

1.     Portability enables customization of the health insurance plan. Customers can easily modify or tweak their present policy based on their health needs/condition and other changes in lifestyle. They can opt for added coverage or even get new nominees on board.

2.     The current sum insured will be clubbed with any accrued bonus for working out the new sum assured. The NCB (No Claim Bonus) will also be added to the new sum insured.

3.     On account of market competition, the new insurance provider is most likely to offer lower premium amounts and other benefits of the previous policy will remain applicable even after switching to another provider.

4.     Similar health insurance policies can be ported between two insurance providers although individual and family policies can also be ported easily.

5.     Those choosing portability should inform their present insurance provider in writing about their decision and mention the provider that they wish to switch to. This should be given at least 45 days prior to the renewal date of the current policy. Otherwise, the portability request may be rejected.

6.     Insurance companies should acknowledge portability applications within a maximum of 3 days. Portability is applicable only if policyholders renew their insurance policies without any breaks in between.

7.     There are no charges for porting and applicants get a grace period of 30 days for policy renewal in case the porting exercise is still being processed or the decision of the new insurance provider is pending. A pro rata premium has to be paid to the current insurance company for availing of such coverage. In these situations, as per IRDAI regulations, policyholders cannot be coaxed into paying the whole year’s premium amount.