Key Things To Know While Porting Or Migrating Your Health Insurance Policy
- What Is Migration & Portability In Health Insurance?
- What Are The Benefits Of Portability Or Migration?
- Which Policies Can You Port Or Migrate?
- Things You Should Be Careful About While Porting Or Migrating Your Policy
- How To Apply For Health Insurance Portability?
You purchase health insurance with the thought that it will offer you financial protection and save you from burning huge holes in your pocket if you undergo hospitalisation in the future. There, however, might be a possibility that you’re not happy or satisfied with the policy you’re currently covered under or with the insurer with whom you currently have a policy. Or there might be features or benefits you want to opt for, but they are not available under your existing policy.
In all these cases, you can shift your policy to another policy with the same insurer or you can move it to a policy with a different insurer altogether. This can be done either by porting your existing policy or migrating it.
In this article, we’ll learn about health insurance portability and migration, the types of policies that you can port or migrate, the things you should keep in mind when porting or migrating your policy, and more.
So, let’s begin!
Migration is the process of shifting your existing health insurance policy to a similar policy within the same insurance company whereas portability is the process through which you can transfer your current health insurance policy to a plan with another insurance company.
Suppose Aakash is covered under HDFC Ergo’s Optima Restore and his friend Aman is covered under Max Bupa’s Reassure. Now, both of them recently came across HDFC Ergo’s Optima Secure, liked the plan's features, and decided to opt for it. Since Aakash is transferring his policy to the same insurer, it will be known as migrating. And, since Aman is transferring his health plan to another insurer, it will be known as medical insurance portability.
When you're porting/migrating your health insurance policy, it is crucial to include a reference to the old policy in the new one to ensure a smooth migration/portability process and seamless continuity of coverage. Another important thing to note is - you can migrate or port your medical insurance policy only at the time of renewal.
- If you’re porting your policy, you’ll have to inform the insurer 45 days prior to the renewal date.
- If you’re migrating your policy, you’ll have to inform the insurer 30 days before your policy renewal date.
Every health insurance policy comes with waiting periods for specific illnesses, treatments, pre-existing diseases, etc. These waiting periods will exhaust when you complete a specific number of years, and then, you’ll get a wider coverage, where your policy will cover previously-excluded specific illnesses, pre-existing diseases, etc.
Now, if you drop and buy a fresh policy, you’ll have to serve the waiting periods all over again. That is when portability or migration can prove to be beneficial. With portability or migration, your continuity benefits, i.e., the waiting periods you’ve already served will remain intact.
Suppose Rakesh buys a health insurance plan in January 2020. He declares hypertension as a pre-existing disease - hence, the insurer imposes a 2-year waiting period on hypertension. Under his policy, the waiting period for hypertension will be completed in January 2022 - after which, he can apply for a claim related to hypertension.
Let’s say in January 2023, Rakesh undergoes hospitalisation for a treatment related to hypertension. At the time of claim, he faces some issues with the insurer, and hence, decides to change his insurer. Let’s see how this will affect the waiting period for hypertension that he has already served under his existing policy.
- If Rakesh buys a new policy from a new insurer: The new insurer may apply a waiting period on hypertension. In that case, Rakesh will have to serve the waiting period all over again.
- If Rakesh ports his policy: The waiting period and other continuity benefits will remain intact in case of portability. So, the new insurer will not apply a waiting period on hypertension.
You can port or migrate from one individual policy to another individual policy. And, if you’re covered under a group policy, you can port or migrate to an individual policy. The types of policies that you can port or migrate include -
- Indemnity-based policies, where the insurer compensates you for the exact expenses you incurred (as long as it is lesser or up to the sum insured you have). Your regular health insurance policy that covers for hospitalisation expenses is an indemnity-based policy.
- Hospital cash policies, where you’re paid a fixed sum insured for each day you’re hospitalised.
- Critical illness insurance policies, that pay a fixed amount if you’re diagnosed with any critical disease that is listed in the policy document.
Here’s a list of some important things you should know before you apply for portability or migration -
- No gaps in your old policy: If you wish to port or migrate your policy you must make a note that there must not be any gap in your policy. A lapsed policy cannot be ported or migrated.
- Benefits and time-bound exclusions: Before 2011, if you had to migrate or port your medical policy to another policy, you had to start afresh with a new waiting period. But now, some plans allow you to transfer the waiting period credit (for pre-existing and other diseases), the sum insured, and the No claim bonus (if any) to your new health insurance policy. This makes it a little less hassle-free for you to move from one policy to another. However, this may differ from insurer to insurer.
- Make complete and accurate declarations: When porting or migrating to another policy, you’ll need to provide details about your medical history to the new insurer. You’ll have to ensure that you disclose any diseases or medical conditions that existed prior to purchasing the original policy, as well as those that were diagnosed and treated during the term of the original policy with the original insurance company.
- Waiting period for newly-diagnosed diseases: As discussed above, you’ll also have to disclose any new disease/condition that was diagnosed while your old policy was in force. Depending on the type and severity of the disease, the insurance company can either exclude the newly-diagnosed conditions or apply a waiting period. If a waiting period is imposed, you’ll be able to make a claim for the medical condition only after the completion of the waiting period.
- Porting is not assured: Both in case of employer health insurance policies as well as personally bought policies, you should know that the insurer is not duty-bound to port you into a new policy of your choice. If the insurer finds your profile too risky to cover based on your age, lifestyle, health, and other declarations, or if you have poor claims history (claimed multiple times from your old health insurance policy) - they can decline your portability or migration application. They can also put exclusions or apply loading, i.e., charge additional premiums.
- Ensure the portability is on record: When you port your health insurance and receive a copy of the ported policy, make sure portability is clearly stated in the document. There have been several cases of salespeople telling customers that they had ported their policies. But, in reality, they did not actually process portability; instead, they applied for a new, fresh policy and sold it to the customers.
Here’s how to port health insurance policy -
👉 Informing the insurance company
You’ll have to inform the insurance company about your decision to port your health insurance policy at least 45 days prior to your policy renewal date.
👉 Filling and submitting the documents
After you notify the insurance company, they will send you a few documents such as the portability form, proposal form, etc. You’ll have to give details of pre-existing and other diseases, health and lifestyle issues that existed before buying the old policy and those that occurred while the old policy was in force, claims you’ve made, etc.
Here’s a generic list of documents you’ll need to submit while porting your health insurance policy -
- Identity Proof
- Address Proof
- IRDA Portability Form
- Proposal Form
- Insurance Policy
- Claim History (if applicable)
- Documents Related To Medical History
After you submit all the required documents to the new insurer, they will get in touch with your old insurer for your past medical information as well as other details like your claim history.
👉 Assessing your application
Once the new insurer receives all the relevant information, they will evaluate your proposal. The underwriting team of the insurance company will assess your risk profile. Based on the underwriting, the insurer will decide whether to accept or reject your application.
Note - The new insurance company will have to underwrite your policy and respond within 15 days of getting all the documents. If they don’t respond, they’ll lose their right to decline the portability or migration application. Meaning, it will be considered that you are covered under the new insurance company.
Most people consider porting or migrating their policy when they're unhappy with their existing policy and feel like they can get better features for their money from another policy. It is, however, important to note that there will be both negative and positive consequences of migration or portability of health insurance, and -
- You might end up paying a much larger premium.
- The insurer might impose waiting periods on certain diseases.
- There might be other limitations/ exclusions imposed.
- Your application for portability or migration could get declined too. (There's always a possibility.)
In our opinion, you should port or migrate to another policy well before your existing health insurance policy expires. This way, if you realise you made a mistake, you can choose to stay covered under your existing policy, without losing your continuity benefits.
If you have any further questions about how to port a health insurance policy, post them on the Beshak Insurance Forum and get answers from insurance experts!
- Portability of insurance policy is the process of moving your existing insurance policy to another insurance company.
- Migration means shifting your existing insurance policy to a similar policy within the same insurance company.
- You can migrate indemnity-based, critical illness, and hospital cash policies. If you’re porting or migrating a hospital cash policy, ensure that the policy you’re shifting to has the hospital cash benefit available.
- Portability and migration can only be done at the time of policy renewal. You’ll have to inform the insurer 45 days prior to the renewal date for portability and 30 days before renewal for migration.
- The new insurer has to respond within 15 days of getting all the documents or else they’ll lose their right to decline the portability or migration application.
- While porting or migrating your policy, you can transfer the sum insured, the waiting period credit (for pre-existing and other diseases), and the No claim bonus.
- The new insurer can apply loading and additional waiting periods on the new insurance policy. If they find you too risky to cover, they can also decline your application.
- Portability and migration might look easy on paper, but they are complicated in reality.
- Portability or migration must be done before your existing policy expires. This way, you can choose to stay covered under your existing policy, without losing your continuity benefits if you realise you made a mistake.
- After you port your policy, the insurer will send you a copy of the ported policy. Make sure portability is clearly stated in the policy copy - to avoid any hassles in the future.
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