By Manju Dhake
Portability in simple terms is switching your existing health insurance policy from one insurance company to another insurance company for various reasons. Here are a few reasons for which a policyholder generally decides to port his/her health insurance plan:
- Look out for new comprehensive features
- Delayed claim services
- Increase the cover and add new family Members
- Cashless network hospitals in the vicinity
10 points to keep in mind before porting
1. Product Features
Examine the product to which you want to port your policy. It should primarily provide similar benefits or some unique add-ons that will make it comprehensive according to your requirements. Room rent, co-pay, pre-existing diseases, waiting periods, etc are the product features to consider
2. Check the Policy Type
Examine the various policy types available. For example, if your current policy is Individual and you want to add members, you can choose a Family floater or a multi-individual policy.
3. Waiting Period
Examine the policy’s waiting period. This is critical when porting the policy because you will have already spent a few years in your existing policy, say two years, so when you port the policy, the said waiting period should ideally be waived off in your new policy on the given sum insured.
4. Unutilized Cumulative Bonus
People frequently overlook or are unaware of this critical factor when porting policies. Your policy has an accumulated Cumulative Bonus that must be carried over to the newly ported policy.
How do you do that:
- The unutilized cumulative bonus must be added to the total sum insured. For example, suppose your existing SI is Rs 5 lakh and your unutilized cumulative bonus (CB) is Rs. 1.5 lakh. So, the total sum insured for a newly ported policy should be at least Rs 6.5 lakh (5 lakh + 1.5 lakh) or more to continue enjoying the policy’s waiting period benefits, and the said amount can be used for future claims.
- Many people unknowingly chose the Existing Base Sum Insured only for the New Ported Policy, for example, 5 lacs. On the other hand, the entire cumulative bonus is lost in the same transaction.
5. Sum Insured to opt
As stated in point 4, the Sum insured selected should be at least equal to the policy’s existing base Sum insured plus any unutilized Cumulative Bonus.
It is also possible to increase the Sum Insured above this amount. Assume that the existing base plus unutilized CB totals around 15 lacs over a two-year period, and the Sum Insured is increased to 25 lacs in the new policy.
6. Add-on features
Look for add-on features that will help to make your existing policy more comprehensive, such as those that include NCB shield, cover Consumables, and increase your Sum Insured. These add-ons, however, come at an additional cost and should be added only if they add value and meet your needs.
7. Porting Documentation
Do notify your previous insurer well in advance of the renewal. Ensure that you have the renewal notice on hand to submit to another insurer as part of the documentation for confirming policy details such as Sum-insured, Members covered, NCB, and so on. You must also submit the previous two years’ policies, claim details with the existing policies, policy type to be ported in, and so on.
8. Ensure No Break-In
The portability of the existing policy is possible only at the time of renewal. Also, if you want to port the same It should be planned ahead of time, and the procedure should begin 45 days before the renewal. This is because, if for some reason, the porting is not accepted by the other insurance company, you will still have time to renew the existing one and continue to enjoy the policy’s benefits. Furthermore, policies in the grace period will not be accepted for portability.
Many people choose to port their health insurance policy because they can find one with a lower premium. However, while it is always beneficial to find ways to save money, the lowest premium isn’t always the best option. Check that the policy provides you with all of the coverage, features, and benefits you require for your healthcare needs; otherwise, you may end up paying more in the event of a medical emergency.
10. Medical History
If you have had any medical conditions or health problems that necessitate frequent hospital visits in the time since you purchased your previous health insurance (such as heart problems, diabetes, renal failure, or high blood pressure), a new insurer may reject your portability request because they will label you a high-risk individual.
A new insurer may also require you to undergo medical tests (especially if you are over 45 years old), which will reveal any new medical conditions that have emerged. In such cases, it may be preferable to stay with your current insurer, who is already covering you for these issues.
Health insurance serves as a safeguard against unanticipated medical emergencies. It reduces your out-of-pocket expenses and gives you peace of mind by relieving you of the burden of medical treatment costs. However, if you are dissatisfied with the current policy, it is time to make a change and consider other options that best meet your needs. Though the procedures for portability are quite simple today and you can carry forward the benefits, it is best to keep the 10 points listed above in mind prior to portability to ensure you get the best coverage.
(The author is VP- Insurance at 1 Finance)
(Views expressed above are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of financialexpress.com)