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Should you port your health insurance policy? Here’s what to Consider

Opting for  health insurance  is undoubtedly the right choice but picking the right one may not be that easy. Often customers realise that their existing health insurance policy isn’t satisfactorily covering their needs and they mull switching to another insurance provider. Well, there are chances that you may end up with a worse plan. So, you should do some thorough research and compare policies before you make the call.

The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) in its attempt to make health insurance policies more customer-friendly allows for health insurance portability. It comes with some conditions like the customer can apply for a switch with at least 45 days before the renewal is due. The new health insurer will then evaluate your medical and claims history and depending on that can accept or reject the proposal. If accepted, the insurer will apprise you with the new terms of the policy, including the premium and sum insured basis their underwriting guidelines.

Reasons to Port Your Health Insurance

Let us look at some of the reasons why you need to port to another plan:

  • Change of address: Let’s assume that when you took your existing health insurance, you were satisfied with the list of hospitals under your insurer’s network as they were all in the vicinity. But then you had to relocate to another city and there were no reputed hospitals around that are part of the insurer’s network. In such cases, you can switch to an insurer with a bigger list of hospitals under its network.

  • Change of job: Most companies provide health insurance to their employees but when you change the company, you are given a new health plan. The coverage provided by that insurance can be a big factor in deciding whether you need to port.

  • Change in marital status or becoming a parent: If your existing health insurancewas only covering you as an individual, but in the last year you either got married or became a parent, you might consider switching to a family floater plan that meets health insurance needs of your family.

  • Rising age: Your health insurance needs are way different in your early thirties and the late fifties. With age, the immune system gets weaker and metabolism gets slower and we become more susceptible to serious ailments. Therefore, your health insurance policy requirements will change considerably with age.

  • Better service: If your insurance company failed to satisfactorily cover your expenditures during medical emergencies or didn’t allow for hassle-free, cashless procedure or informs you about some hidden clauses that might prove to be quite a concern during the medical emergency, you might go for health insurance portability

Factors to consider while porting your health insurance coverage

  • Sum insured vis-a-vis premium: The first thing you need to compare is the coverage and premium charged for it. You should opt for the one with bigger coverage at a smaller premium. You might need to pay a fee when porting the plan and so, make sure that the overall benefits outweigh the money charged.

  • Inclusions and exclusions: You need to look at the list of what’s included and what’s not. Port to a policy with no conditions like room rent capping or co-payment. A better plan provides cover for day-care procedures, organ donation, mental illness, AYUSH treatment, etc.

  • Claim settlement ratio: More than exciting seasonal offers, go by the reputation of the insurer. First, see if it is registered with IRDAI and then seek reviews from some of its past and present customers. Check how smooth was the cashless treatment or reimbursement procedure. Higher the claim settlement ratio, the better is the plan.

  • Network of hospitals: Check the number and names of the hospitals in the insurer’s network. Remember, in medical emergencies, finding the best healthcare facility in your vicinity is vital.

  • Top-up plans and other benefits: Pick an insurer that offers easy top-up plans for additional coverage when needed. Also, see if the policy provides some complementary benefits like a free annual health checkup, income tax rebates, instalment plans, and daily hospital cash.

Conclusion The customer today has many choices ranging from plans to insurers, but it’s hard to make the right call. If you feel that you need to switch to another plan or provider at any point, make the jump when the benefits being offered are more than your existing plan. Also, choose a plan, keeping your family's long-term healthcare requirements in mind and dive in for a long haul.

Disclaimer: The above information is for illustrative purpose only. For more details, please refer to policy wordings and prospectus before concluding the sales.

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