Health Insurance ‘Portability’ - Everything You Need To Know

The process of porting your policy has become simpler that can be done with minimal documentation requirements

Health Insurance ‘Portability’ - Everything You Need To Know
Health Insurance ‘Portability’ - Everything You Need To Know
Amit Chhabra - 16 December 2020

The pandemic has pushed many of us to buy health insurance policies. This uncertainty hurled many challenges both for the insurer and for the policyholders. If you are at your wit's end and want to move to a new policy with wider coverage without losing continuity benefits, don’t worry, now it is just a few steps away.

‘Portability’ option in health insurance is the one that allows you to have a new policy with wider coverage without losing continuity benefits, instead of buying multiple policies.

How does portability work?

Hospitals exorbitantly high bills doing rounds on social media did not let Rohit Tripathi sleep for a few nights.

Tripathi, 36, a software professional based out of Pune was worried as the state emerged as the epicenter of the pandemic in India. With an old father and a kid in the family, he was perturbed to see the pace with which this pandemic was raging in his city, and how COVID-19 can drain out his life savings.

He was worried that his health insurance policy with a limited sum insured, with sub-limits, and a co-payment option is not enough to deal with the uncertainty emanating from this pandemic. After doing extensive research, he came across the option of porting.

He kept the long term future in mind and made a smooth transition to a new policy with some brand new features. Like Rohit, if you have an existing policy with certain exclusions, high sub-limits, and co-payment options, and now you want to have a policy with wider coverage without losing continuity benefits, then you have the option of portability in health insurance and this is the right time to do so. Under this, the policy-holder can transfer from the current health policy to another health policy with a different insurer. You can also move to a different policy of the same insurer without worrying about losing continuity benefits.

The policy-holder in this process of portability is entitled to get all the continuity benefits transferred. For example, if he/she is entitled to a free medical check-up and no-claim bonus acquired during the previous policy, then he will not lose out on those benefits. To make it even far more convenient, the option can be availed by people having individual or family floater policy.

Portability also comes with a benefit that if a policyholder has already served the initial waiting period, pre-existing waiting period or any disease-specific waiting period then serving yet another waiting period after moving to a new policy under portability will no longer be a requirement. But, moving to a new policy with a higher sum insured may require a policyholder to serve a fresh waiting period to cover the pre-existing diseases and the waiting period varies from one insurer to another and from one plan to another.

The no-claim bonus that you have accumulated can also be ported. However, do keep in mind that when you port, the premium will be calculated on the higher sum insured; including the NCB.

Why should you go for it?

There is a raft of benefits of porting your policy- firstly, you get the latest policy with wider coverage. Amidst this uncertain situation, where some new trends are becoming a new normal, there will be some benefits like teleconsultation, counseling, OPD Covers, that you will get with this transition.

And on top of everything, the process of porting your policy has become simpler that can be done with minimal documentation requirements, right from the comfort of your home.

Apart from a wide array of benefits being bestowed upon you, there are certain things that you as a policyholder should take care of before porting your health policy.

Firstly, you have to port at least 30 days prior to the premium renewal date of the health policy, and not during the policy. You can only port between similar policies. Also, the policy-holder might be subject to medical-check up as well. Further, for the same sum insured, your premium payment may increase in case of any new health complication or higher age.

If your health status is not in consonance with the term and conditions of the insurer’s policy, your porting request can also be rejected. Making this transition process all more comfortable, IRDA this year allowed policyholders to go with this option even if they had a break in their existing health insurance policy which means that the policy has expired and the policyholder has not paid the premium.

At last, a quick suggestion to all policyholders looking to avail this option should look for a policy that offers all the possible benefits. Choose the policy that suits you, considering your requirement.

The author is Head-Health Insurance,