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Health insurance policy portability from 1st July: IRDA

Health insurance policy portability will also help people shifting from one part of the country to another. In want of such facility they were put to a disadvantage due to lack of their insurers' offices at new locations

New Delhi: In a big relief to dissatisfied health insurance policy holders, insurance regulator, Insurance Regulatory Authority of India (IRDA), on Thursday allowed them portability-shifting policies from one insurer to another on same terms-from 1st July, reports PTI.

"The authority has examined various issues involved in the portability of health insurance plan and has issued necessary orders for effecting portability which will be implemented from 1 July 2011," IRDA said in a statement.

The portability facility will allow policy holders to switch over to another insurance company with the same conditions.

"The accepting insurer shall provide cover, at least up to the sum assured in the previous insurance policy," the regulator said.

The new facility will also help those policy holders who stick to one insurer throughout life for fear of losing the cover for pre existing diseases (PED).

"It is essential to protect the policyholders against discontinuity and consequential loss of PED cover by making the health insurance plans portable across the insurance companies," IRDA said.

In general, health insurance policies have specific exclusions for PED for a specified period of cover during the initial year, and policy holders do not get this cover in the event of changing insurance firm. It was considered "detrimental to competition".

IRDA's decision comes after it received several representations from consumer associations and policyholders for enabling portability of health insurance policies.

Currently, IRDA allows portability of motor insurance polices.

Health insurance policy portability will also help people shifting from one part of the country to another. In want of such facility they were put to a disadvantage due to lack of their insurers' offices at new locations.

Also, in case of change of jobs, policyholders lose health insurance cover as they could not change their insurer.

IRDA has directed insurance companies to mention in the prospectus and sales literature that all health insurance policies are portable.

The request of porting the policy shall be completed as per the timelines prescribed in the IRDA regulations and guidelines, the regulator has told the insurance companies.

Besides, three standalone health insurers-Star Health & Allied Insurance, Apollo MUNICH and Max BUPA-a number of other players including National Insurance Company, United India and Oriental Insurance and ICICI Lombard are active in this field.

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COMMENTS

SAJaleel

6 years ago

A welcome change and relief to the beneficiaries. Ironically, or incidentally this is following MNP (Mobile number portability). It gives more freedom to the beneficiaries. One thing that needs to be clarified is regarding the benefits of Loyalty Bonus, which an insurer extends to the Insured, who sticks to one company through thick and thin. For eg, an insurance co. extends the coverage amount by 10% to 15% in the renewal for the same premium. If an Insurer has provided a cover of 1.00 lac for a premium of say Rs.1,000/-.in the first year, if the insured renews the policy for same amount next year, the Insurer extends the amount of Insurance cover from 1.00 lac to 1.10 lacs in the second year, for the same premium of Rs1,000/-. This is Loyalty Bonus. Whether this loyalty bonus advantage will be available in case of porting to another company, needs to be clarified.
Thanks.
Jaleel.

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