22 Jul, 2022 | Health Insurance

5 Effects Of Pre-existing Diseases On Your Health Insurance

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Health insurance is like an emergency loan in the sense that you might not get it when you desperately need it. The reason is quite simple - insurers find it risky to cover individuals who have a pre-existing medical condition. Such people have a higher chance of falling sick and undergoing hospitalization leading to a higher probability of claims. Therefore, the chances of getting health insurance reduce significantly if you have a pre-existing disease. Even if the Insurer(s) gives you coverage, it comes at increased prices.

What is a pre-existing disease in health insurance? 

According to the IRDAI, any medical condition that has been diagnosed or treated (or recommended to be treated) by a medical professional within 48 months of applying for health insurance is known as a pre-existing disease.

A pre-existing disease can affect your health insurance plan in several ways. In this article, let’s learn how. 

What are the effects of pre-existing disease on your health insurance? 

If the insurer knows that you suffer from a pre-existing disease, they can -  

👉 Apply loading charges

If you have a pre-existing disease, getting health insurance can get difficult because most insurers are likely to impose loading charges on your policy. As a result, you will be required to pay a higher premium, calculated as a percentage on standard premium rates, to buy a health insurance policy. The loading charges can differ from insurer to insurer. Some insurers impose a loading of 10% whereas some insurers can impose a loading of 50% on your premiums for certain pre-existing diseases.

👉 Apply waiting periods

Under certain conditions, some insurers can put a waiting period over your policy on pre-existing illnesses for which you can avail the cover only after a pre-defined number of days. The waiting period for pre-existing diseases can range from 2 to 4 years, it differs from insurer to insurer. During the imposed waiting period, if you are hospitalized for your pre-existing disease or a condition that’s traced to a PED, the expenses won’t be covered under your policy. 

👉 Impose permanent exclusions

Earlier when people were diagnosed with a pre-existing disease, it would hold a huge impact on the insured person's health, and many insurers would completely decline the entire cover in order to not take any risk. However, the recent IRDAI guidelines allow insurers to apply a permanent exclusion if a pre-existing disease holds a major effect on the insured person’s health for a long time. 

So, if you have a pre-existing disease and the insurer thinks they can’t afford to take the risk, they might offer you health cover but exclude that disease permanently. Meaning, you can claim for all other illnesses and injuries except for the pre-existing disease.

👉 Impose restrictions

Most insurers can impose restrictions such as additional copay if you make a claim that is related to your pre-existing disease. Meaning, you will have to take the responsibility of paying a fixed amount of expenses for the treatment of your pre-existing disease. The other part of the expenses will be paid by your insurer. 

For example - So, if your policy has a copayment clause of 10%, and you get hospitalized for treating your pre-existing disease and the hospital bill amounts to INR 10 Lakhs. In such a case, you’ll have to pay 10% of the bill i.e. INR 1 Lakhs out of your pocket. And the insurer will pay the remaining amount. 

👉 Reject the policy

In some cases, if the insurer feels that the details provided by you with regards to your pre-existing diseases are too complex or feels that there could be a risk in offering you a cover, then the insurer can reject your policy. 

For example, Jannat has been struggling with Asthma before buying the health insurance policy. In such cases, depending on the severity of the condition, the insurer can reject her policy if they feel that it is quite risky to offer her a health insurance cover. 

So, these were some effects of pre-existing diseases on health insurance. If you have any questions or doubts related to pre-existing diseases and health insurance, you can post them on the Beshak Insurance Forum and get your answers from experts, for free! 

Key takeaways
  1. Any medical condition that has been diagnosed, treated, or recommended to be treated by a medical professional within the previous 48 months of purchasing a policy is known as a pre-existing disease.
  2. If you are diagnosed with a pre-existing disease, it can hold a certain impact on your health insurance policy. 
  3. When buying health insurance with pre-existing conditions, insurers can impose a loading charge on your policy, wherein you will have to pay a certain percentage of premiums. 
  4. Most insurers impose a waiting period on pre-existing illnesses. However, the waiting period might differ from insurer to insurer. 
  5. Based on the effect of a pre-existing disease, insurers can impose permanent restrictions on your health insurance plan.
  6. Some insurers also impose limitations like copay, if you choose to make a claim for your pre-existing disease.
  7. Insurers can also reject policies based on the severity of your pre-existing disease. 
Team Beshak
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