Say Goodbye To Waiting Periods With This Brand-New Feature!
Let’s say you’ve bought a health insurance plan, feeling secure that your medical expenses will be covered now. But, did you know that your entire coverage will not begin from day 1?
Health insurance coverage opens up in a phased manner. It’s just like buying a box of chocolates, only for your nutritionist to tell you that you can have just one a day. 🥲
Here’s how it works -
Only accidents will be covered from the first day. All other health conditions are subject to ‘waiting periods’.
What do waiting periods mean? Are there different types of waiting periods? Is there a way to avoid them? Let’s find out - in this article! 👇
A waiting period is a span of time during which your medical expenses will not be covered by your health insurance plan. Insurance companies impose waiting periods to keep claims under control, and thereby, keep the plan affordable. Once you sit out the waiting periods mentioned in your plan, you’ll be allowed to claim for these health conditions.
Insurance companies lay down multiple waiting periods in their health insurance plans -
|Initial Waiting Period|
This is a 30-day waiting period. Your plan will cover health conditions after 30 days of policy issuance.
Only accidents are covered from day 1.
|Pre-Existing Disease Waiting Period|
A pre-existing disease is a condition/ailment/injury that is diagnosed or treated within 4 years prior to your policy purchase.
Pre-existing diseases come with a waiting period of 2-4 years.
|Specified Disease/Procedure Waiting Period||Specific diseases or procedures like spinal disorders, hernia, etc. come with a waiting period of 2-4 years. These diseases/procedures are listed by the insurer in your policy document.|
|Other Waiting Periods||Waiting periods can also be imposed on maternity healthcare, bariatric surgery, etc.|
For instance, Amit buys a health insurance plan in 2023. He had undergone treatment for diabetes in 2022. The insurance company will consider diabetes as a pre-existing disease and impose a waiting period of say, 3 years on it. So, any medical expenses incurred by Amit for diabetes will not be covered by his health insurance for 3 years.
This may look a bit disappointing, since it takes time to get what you’re paying for, especially in the era of instant gratification. To tackle this very problem, an insurance company has come up with a ‘zero-waiting period’ feature.
Acko Health Insurance has recently launched a health insurance plan [Acko Platinum Health Insurance] with a zero-waiting period feature. So, under the plan -
- Initial Waiting Period: None
- Specific Disease Waiting Period: None
- Pre-Existing Disease Waiting Period: This can be zero to four years, depending on your health status.
The sad part about such shiny new features is that they can be an experiment by the insurance company, and -
👉Insurance companies can withdraw a product or feature at any time! These decisions are taken based on internal policies and subsequent approval from their internal product committees. All they have to do is simply inform the IRDAI and prove that they are facing losses because of the prices or policy terms.
Thus, you should be aware of the fact that attractive features like zero-waiting periods can be removed at any time, even if this may seem arbitrary. The insurer may even withdraw your health insurance plan and move you to another plan which doesn’t offer this feature.
👉Health insurance, unlike term insurance, isn’t a fixed-price product. The insurer can increase your premiums if they find them to not be viable. So, before you jump on the bandwagon, know that insurers have raised premiums of plans without such features by 15-30% in the previous years! You never can predict what might happen to plans with these features.
👉People who are senior citizens or have a pre-existing disease/medical history may find it difficult to buy the plan.
The only thing you should pay attention to is the core coverage of your plan. This will help you steer clear of any large out-of-pocket healthcare costs. The core coverage of your plan typically includes - an adequate sum insured along with minimal or no financial limits on room rent, specific treatments, organ donations, modern treatments, etc.
Do not buy a plan just because of the features or benefits it offers, no matter how alluring. Treat them like extra bounties. These may not be permanent - the only aspect of your plan that will remain a constant companion is your core coverage.
And, as an extra precaution, you should also be conscious of the fact that these benefits or features can potentially have a huge impact on your future premiums - because of the simple logic that you won’t get something for nothing!
Confused about how health insurance plans work and want them to be as simplified as possible? Check out Beshak Health Decoder to understand the benefits and drawbacks of different health insurance plans - so you can make the right choice!
- Health insurance coverage opens up in phases. Only accidents will be covered from the first day. All other health conditions are subject to ‘waiting periods’.
- A waiting period is a span of time during which your medical expenses will not be covered by your health insurance plan.
- Acko Health Insurance has launched Acko Platinum Health Insurance with a zero-waiting period feature.
- There is no initial waiting period or specific disease waiting period. The pre-existing disease waiting period will be 0-4 years, based on your health status.
- However, there are a few drawbacks. Insurers may withdraw the feature/product or increase the plan’s premiums.
- You should look at the core coverage of the plan - a sufficient cover amount and low/no limits for room rent, specific treatments, modern treatments, day care treatments, organ donor coverage.
- Treat features and benefits as optional perks. Do not buy a plan because of them.
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