Health insurance portability

Know everything about health insurance portability, its benefits, and the process to port your health insurance for better benefits.
Health insurance portability
3 mins
30 July 2023

Health insurance has now become a necessity to ensure financial security during unfortunate health emergencies. With the increasing costs of medical treatment, health insurance can be expensive, and one may need to switch insurance companies for better benefits. Fortunately, health insurance portability provides policyholders with the flexibility to switch insurance companies without losing out on benefits they have accumulated over time.

Let us delve into health insurance portability in-depth and understand its meaning and benefits. Also, know the rules, documentation required, and the process to follow when porting a health insurance policy.

What is health insurance portability?

Health insurance portability lets you transfer your health insurance policy from one insurer to another without losing any benefits like waiting periods and no claim bonuses. You can change your insurer while maintaining the same benefits and coverages only if you renew the health insurance policy on time.

The primary benefit of porting your health insurance is that you do not have to start again with a new policy and complete a waiting period. You can choose any health insurance company that you feel most comfortable with, based on their coverage, claim settlement record, and premium rates.

Benefits of porting a health insurance policy

Porting your health insurance policy comes with significant benefits, and here is what you gain.

Eliminates loss of benefits

One of the key advantages of health insurance portability is that you do not lose any benefits accumulated over time on your policy. This means you do not have to serve any initial waiting period in health insurance or if completed the specified waiting period, then it will get carried forward. Suppose that your previous health insurance company had levied a 2-year waiting period to avail the coverage for a knee replacement surgery, and you have already served two years. Then, after porting you can directly avail the benefits.

Similarly, your no claim bonus will also remain intact. The insurance company automatically transfers these benefits to the new insurer.

Ensures continuity of coverage

Health insurance portability ensures that you do not have a gap in coverage. This is especially important since the new insurance company may not cover the pre-existing conditions in case of a gap in coverage.

Offers the option to customise the health insurance policy

The flexibility of porting a health insurance policy enables you to customise your health coverage according to your unique needs and requirements. This could mean opting for a policy that covers you and your family comprehensively or a policy that caters to specific illnesses or diseases.

Gives the option to choose plans with budget-friendly premiums

Portability of health insurance policies means you can seek plans that offer similar/better coverage at a more affordable premium.

What are the rules of health insurance portability?

IRDAI has stated a few rules for health insurance portability that you need to follow to avail of the benefit.

Renew policy in time

You need to do the process for health insurance portability before it lapses or without a break. If the policy lapses, then you cannot port the policy.

Grace period

You must inform the insurer about your intention to port the health insurance policy at least 45 days before the policy's renewal date. Furthermore, you should also receive a response from the insurer before the renewal date.

Porting time

You must file the health insurance portability request within 45 days before the policy renewal date to the new insurer. Also, inform about the same to your current insurance company.

Policy provisions and benefits

When considering porting your health insurance policy, check the following: coverage offered and sum insured given by the insurer.

Waiting periods, co-pay, and deductibles

Check if the new insurance policy has any waiting period, co-pay, or deductibles when porting your health insurance policy. Read the policy terms and conditions before deciding to port your current health insurance policy.

Acknowledgement by the new insurer

The preferred health insurance company must acknowledge the portability request within three days of receiving the application.

What documents do I require for porting a health insurance policy?

Here is a list of documents that you need for porting a health insurance policy.

  • Identity proof - Provide a copy of your identity proof such as passport, driving license, or Aadhaar Card.
  • Current health insurance policy document - Provide a copy of your current health insurance policy document to enable the porting process to go smoothly.
  • Premium receipts - Provide the latest premium receipt of your current health insurance policy.
  • Medical reports – Give a copy of medical reports and other relevant documents, showing your medical history to the new insurance company.

How to port health/mediclaim policy online: Check the application process

Here’s a step-by-step process to applying for porting a health insurance policy online.

Step 1: Visit the new insurance company’s website that you intend to port your health insurance policy to, or download the app.

Step 2: Select the health insurance policy that you wish to buy.

Step 3: Fill in the proposal form. Provide the required documents like identity proof, current health insurance policy document, medical reports, and premium receipts.

Step 4: Upon filling up the form, the new insurance company will review the application and contact your previous insurer to obtain your medical and claim history.

Step 5: After which, your existing health insurer will have to share the details within 7 working days.

Step 6: After receiving all the data from the previous insurer, the new insurance company will review the details. Based on this, they accept or reject your health insurance portability application within 15 days.

Step 7: If the application gets accepted, pay the premium through any of your preferred online payment modes.

What are the common reasons for porting a health insurance policy?

Here are some of the common reasons to opt for health insurance portability.

Unsatisfactory service

Lack of transparency or poor service quality from the current insurer pushes one to consider switching their health insurance policy.

Relocation

Suppose that you move to a new city or area where you do not have access to the current insurer’s network hospitals. Then, you may opt to port the health insurance policy.

Increase in premium

Many a time insurer increases the premium after making a claim. This may not fit your budget. Hence, you can look for a health insurance policy with a lower premium.

Poor claim settlement process

Another major reason for porting health insurance policies is the slow and cumbersome claim settlement process. Usually, one should prefer a high claim settlement ratio in health insurance for easy claim process.

Delay in reimbursements

One of the most common complaints policyholders raise against their health insurance provider is the delay in claim processing and reimbursements. The last thing anyone would want in a medical emergency is waiting to get the claim amount reimbursed. Porting your policy to a more responsive provider can help ensure timely financial assistance during health crises.

Hidden clauses and conditions

Sometimes, insurance companies bury specific clauses or conditions in their policy, making it challenging for policyholders to avail of the benefits. Porting your health insurance policy to another provider that offer transparent transactions and benefits will help you understand your policy better and leave no room for surprises.

Unacceptable co-payment clauses

A co-payment is the percentage of the hospitalisation expenses that the policyholder must pay out of pocket. There are times when the co-payment clause in your current policy may be too high and becomes a burden instead of an added benefit. Porting your policy to another provider can help you find a more affordable co-payment option.

Limits in room rent

Room rent limits can cause obstacle when seeking treatment at hospitals. Many policies have a cap on the room rent, which could limit your treatment options. Porting your policy to a provider that offers a better room rent allowance can give you the upper hand.

Better plan and services from another health insurance provider

Another reason to port your policy is if you find a better plan and services from a different health insurance provider. Handpicking a policy that caters to your needs and suits your budget better is a wise financial decision.

Lack of communication for personalised services

Communication and personalised services are crucial in the health insurance industry. Porting your policy to a provider that offers better customer service and personalised support could make your life easier.

Advantages and disadvantages of porting health insurance

Here’s a quick overview on the advantages and disadvantages of porting health insurance.

Advantages

Disadvantages

Keeps coverage intact while switching policies, so you stay well covered in case of any medical emergency.

Loss of continuity benefits from the previous insurer.

You will get the option to choose better coverage options.

You may have to complete the waiting period for pre-existing illnesses all over again.

You may get improved services at similar premiums.

Chances of premium hike.

Flexibility to switch from one policy to another while leaving the earlier benefits untouched.

Limited flexibility for future coverage.

You will get better claim settlement ratio.

Certain deductibles may be applicable.

 

Can I port my existing policy over to a new health plan?

Yes, you can absolutely port your existing health insurance policy to our new health plan. Health insurance portability allows you to switch policy from one insurer to another without losing any accumulated benefits from your existing policy. You can choose to port your policy to new health plan at any time before your current policy expires.

Can I transfer my health insurance to another insurance company?

Yes, you can transfer your health insurance policy to another insurance company through health insurance portability. Health insurance portability allows you to shift from your current insurance provider to another one without losing the benefits you have accumulated under your existing policy.

To transfer your health insurance policy, you need to ensure that you have completed at least one year of continuous coverage under your existing policy. You must also apply for porting your policy to the new insurance company at least 45 days before the expiry of your current policy.

It is important to do thorough research before transferring your health insurance policy to another insurance company. You must ensure that the new policy offers better coverage and benefits than your existing policy.

Other health insurance related articles

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Frequently asked questions

How do I port a health insurance policy online?

To port your health insurance policy online, you need to visit the website of the new insurance company you wish to switch to. Fill in the online portability form and submit it along with the requisite documents. Upon evaluation, the new insurer will provide you with the new policy document, and your health insurance will get transferred to the new insurer.

When should I port my health insurance policy?

You should port your health insurance policy before your current policy renewal date. You must inform your current insurer at least 45 days before the renewal date about your intention to port the policy. 

How many times can I port a health insurance policy?

The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) allows policyholders to port their health insurance policy once per year.

When is the right time to transfer a health insurance policy?

You must transfer the health insurance policy before the policy renewal date. Inform the insurer at least 45 days before the renewal date about your intention to port the policy. This will ensure that there is no discontinuity in your health insurance coverage, and you do not lose your accumulated benefits.

What is the best time to port a health insurance policy?

The best time to port your health insurance policy is before its expiry date. You should apply for policy porting at least 45 days before the expiry of the existing policy. This will ensure a seamless shift from your current insurance provider to a new one.

Do I need to pay an extra premium to port my health insurance policy?

No, you do not need to pay an extra premium to port your health insurance policy. You can port your policy to a new insurance provider without any additional cost. However, you must ensure that the new policy's premium is within your budget and offers better coverage than your existing policy.

What is the difference between portability and migration?

Portability refers to the process of transferring your health insurance policy from one insurance provider to another without losing your accumulated benefits. On the other hand, migration means surrendering your existing policy and purchasing a new one from a different insurance company. With portability, you can continue to avail the benefits of your existing policy with the new insurance provider.

How many times can I transfer my health insurance policy?

As per IRDAI guidelines, you can transfer your health insurance policy once you have completed at least one year of continuous coverage under the existing policy. There is no limitation on the number of times you can port your policy. However, it is important to keep in mind that frequent policy porting could affect your accumulated benefits. You must do thorough research before porting your policy to ensure that the new policy offers better coverage and benefits than your existing policy.

What are the disadvantages of porting health insurance policy?

There are a few disadvantages to porting a health insurance policy. You may get the option to port your health insurance for a completely different plan. Also, it may come with higher premium rates. The new insurer may not cover all the pre-existing illness covered in your existing health plan. Lastly, you may have to serve the waiting period for certain treatments or illnesses that the previous insurer covered immediately.

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