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Health Insurance: You can port from a group policy, too

The biggest advantage of porting from a group policy to an individual policy is the continuity of benefits.

Make sure not only to apply on time but also to keep completing the underwriting formailites on time.

A group health insurance policy provided by an employer to the employees comes with its own share of benefits. Not only is the premium low, such a group cover also has a comprehensive coverage with fewer policy exclusions. The premium is generally borne by the employer while some employers include them as a part of the cost-to-the-company.

A big concern for employees is that on changing jobs, the coverage drops, leaving the employee without any insurance coverage. This is because, in an employer-provided health insurance policy, the employee stands to derive benefits till the time he or she is on the payroll of a company.

Porting from a group policy

However, the good news is that portability from a group cover to an individual cover is allowed and an employee should make sure to do so before bidding adieu to the employer. The biggest advantage of porting from a group policy to an individual policy is the continuity of benefits.

Here’s how continuity benefits works. There are certain ‘waiting periods’ in a health insurance policy which could be from six months to two years or even up to four years. The insurer is liable to pay for certain expenses only after the expiry of such defined waiting periods in the policy contract. For example, pre-existing diseases are covered in a health insurance policy after the end of 48 months of a continuously renewed policy.

Now, on porting from a group insurance policy, such waiting periods get accounted for and one has to serve a lower or no waiting period in an individual plan. If one does not port and buys a fresh individual policy after leaving group coverage, the waiting periods will have to be served from the beginning. If you are covered under a group health insurance policy provided by your employer, make sure to enjoy the continuity benefit even after leaving your job.

Look at the rules

Portability from group insurance to individual health insurance is, however, subject to certain rules. “Porting from group to individual policy can be done with the same health insurer and not with a different insurer. Also, exclusion of waiting period would apply to same sum assured while for any enhancement of sum assured, it will be subject to normal underwriting,” says Shailesh Kumar, co-founder and insurance head, Insurance Samadhan, a platform for resolving insurance complaints.

In most organisations, after resigning, the notice period to be severed by the employee is 1-3 months. If you wish to port from group to individual plan, the process needs to start the day you put in your papers. “It is important to inform the group insurance company about the porting process at least 45 days prior to your last date in the company. Once you have selected the new plan you wish to opt for, you can fill out the required documents with details of the existing plan, medical history, age proof, etc., and submit them before the renewal date of your existing group plan. Once this is done, you can make the required payment and you will have your new migrated individual plan active within a specific duration of your payment,” informs Rakesh Goyal, director, Probus Insurance Broker.

Make sure not only to apply on time but also to keep completing the underwriting formailites on time. “Inform the insurer on time about porting the plan and also get the pre-medical check-up done on time if asked by the insurer while porting. Note that group insurance plans usually do not come with any waiting period but in case your group health plan has one, then the balance might be carried forward to the new plan for the same insurer,” cautions Goyal.

If you have other family members covered in the group insurance policy, you can even port to a Family Floater health insurance, thus ensuring coverage for the entire family without leaving out the continuity or waiting period benefits. So, the next time you switch jobs, do not forget to take your health coverage benefits along with you!

Big benefits

* Porting from group to individual policy can be done with the same health insurer

* Exclusion of waiting period in ahealth plan would apply to the same sum assured

* Inform the group insurer about the porting process at least 45 days prior to your last date in the company

* If family members are covered in the group insurance policy you can port to a Family Floater

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