When it comes to purchasing products or utilising services offered by a company, we typically look for the best in terms of quality and value-for money. If we’re unsatisfied with a product or service offered by one company, we have the option to switch to another company. But did you know that this option also applies to health insurance? Today, when securing your health is as important as ever, your health insurance plan should meet your medical requirements. Due to limitations in your existing policy, you may lose out on numerous insurance benefits. So, if you’re dissatisfied with your current insurance provider and wondering, ‘can I transfer my health insurance to another company?’, the answer is yes, you can. Read on to know more about how to transfer health insurance to another company.
How To Transfer Health Insurance From One Company To Another? – An Overview
Under health insurance, the process of transferring your existing insurance policy from one company to another is known as health insurance portability. If your current health insurance plan does not meet your healthcare requirements, you can opt for a similar or enhanced policy with another insurance company. You can only choose to port your health insurance policy at the time of policy renewal.
The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has mapped out certain rules and regulations pertaining to medical insurance portability. You, your existing insurer and the new insurer must abide by these regulations for a seamless health insurance transfer process.
How To Transfer Health Insurance From One Company To Another? – The Process
Having answered the query ‘can I transfer my health insurance to another company’, let’s understand the transfer or portability process.
- Identify the cause for transferring medical insurance
You need to understand what your current plan lacks to help you find a new one easily. For instance, if the claim settlement process is slow, you can assess new insurance companies with faster processes through customer reviews and testimonies. You could also find insurers offering the same coverage at relatively lower prices. Whatever your reasons, you can select a new plan of your choice and exercise your right to portability.
- Notify your insurer
Once you find a new policy that meets your requirements, the next step is to inform your existing insurer. You can port your policy during the policy renewal stage only. You must inform your insurer and apply for health insurance portability at least 45 to 60 days before your upcoming policy renewal date. Per IRDAI guidelines, your existing and new insurers are only liable to accept portability requests if you reach out them within the stipulated timeframe.
- Apply for the new plan
After notifying your existing insurer, the next step in how to transfer health insurance from one company to another is to apply for a new plan with the new insurer. On the new insurer’s website, select your preferred plan, click on ‘Get Quote’ and provide your contact details. When the new insurer gets in touch with you, inform them about the portability request. Ensure you apply for the new policy within 45 days of your existing policy’s renewal date to provide sufficient time for the new insurer to verify your medical history.
- Fill out the portability form
The new insurer will send some documents, including the medical insurance probability form. In this form, you must provide your personal details, such as your name, date of birth, address, etc. You also need to enter your existing insurance details, including the product name, policy number, IRDAI ID, etc., along with the reason for portability. You may be asked to confirm whether you would like to convert any cumulative bonuses to an enhanced sum insured or not. You can also provide details of family members if you are porting a family floater plan.
- Wait for the new insurer to verify your medical history
The next important step in our guide on how to transfer health insurance to another company is medical history verification. Upon the new insurer’s request, your existing insurer must upload the required documents on the IRDAI portal within seven days. Along with your medical history, the new insurer also checks your claim history. The new insurer may consider frequent claims as high risk, which can lead to portability rejection.
- The new insurer issues the policy
After receiving the documents from your existing insurer, the new insurer has 15 days to review your medical and claim history and inform their decision to accept or reject your application. However, if the new insurer fails to convey the decision, whether approved or rejected, within 15 days, the insurer has no choice but to accept the portability application. Note that per IRDAI regulations, the existing and new insurers cannot levy portability charges.
The new insurer must ensure that the newly ported policy’s date coincides with the old policy’s end date. This way, you are continuously protected.
How Transfer Of Health Insurance To Another Company Impacts Waiting Period
A health insurance policy’s waiting period is the length of time you must wait in order to enjoy insurance benefits. A typical medical insurance policy has an initial waiting period, a waiting period for pre-existing diseases, specific diseases and maternity cover. You can rest assured since your waiting period, and other time-bound exclusions are retained in the new policy.
Let’s say your current plan’s waiting period was two years which you’ve already fulfilled. If the new policy’s waiting period is one year, there’s no need to ride out the new waiting period. However, if the new policy’s waiting period is three years, you would have to ride out the waiting period for one more year.
The same applies to pre-existing conditions as well. Pre-existing conditions typically come with a 90-day to a two-year waiting period. If you have served the existing insurer’s pre-existing disease waiting period, you may not have to serve an additional waiting period if the new insurer offers similar waiting periods.
Let’s say the waiting period for a specific illness is longer in the new policy, but the same illness’s waiting period is shorter in your existing policy. In such cases, IRDAI mandates the new insurer to inform you about the extended waiting period requirement before you port the policy.
If you are part of a group health insurance plan and wondering, ‘can I transfer my health insurance to another company?’, do not fret. All you need to do is migrate to an individual insurance plan with the same insurer. Then, you can port your individual plan to another insurance company if you prefer to do so.
What Other Aspects Of Health Insurance Can You Port?
Apart from the waiting period, portability applies to the following health insurance features as well:
The sum insured is the amount your insurer promises to pay in exchange for insurance premiums. You can transfer the minimum sum insured of your existing policy to the new insurer. If you’re transferring to another insurance company for an enhanced sum insured, there are a few things you should know.
- You can switch to a new plan with a similar or higher sum insured.
- If you opt for a higher sum insured, your insurer will levy a higher premium amount, which you need to pay.
- The new insurer may also levy different charges on the additional rider benefits, and the new rates will be applicable even if you choose the same rider.
Insurers provide a no-claims bonus benefit, through which you can enhance your sum insured for every claim free year, typically up to five years. Thus, in five years, you can get up to 50% higher coverage by paying the same premium amount. You can also port this cumulative bonus benefit when you port your policy. Here’s an example explaining how cumulative bonus porting works.
Assume you have a policy with a sum insured of ₹2 lakhs. You have accrued ₹50,000 in cumulative bonuses with your original insurance company. You then shift to a new insurer, who has to offer you the same ₹250,000 sum insured by charging a premium applicable to the same sum insured amount. However, your new insurer does not have a product with a ₹250,000 sum insured. In such a case, the new insurer is obligated to offer you the nearest highest slab, say ₹300,000 by charging a premium applicable to ₹300,000. However, the portability clause would only apply to ₹250,000.
Which Health Insurance Policies Can I Transfer To Another Company?
Now that you know how to transfer health insurance to another company, here are the policies you can transfer.
Individual medical insurance policies issued by health insurance companies, as well as general insurance companies, are eligible for portability. Family floater plans also qualify for portability.
If you are a member of a group health insurance plan, you can port your insurance policy to another insurance company. However, first, you need to migrate to an individual plan with your existing insurer. Migration refers to switching insurance plans with the same insurer.
Portability Of Mediclaim Policies
People tend to use the terms Mediclaim and health insurance interchangeably. However, the two are different in several aspects. Health insurance offers comprehensive coverage while also including hospitalisation. However, Mediclaim typically only covers hospitalisation expenses. If you’re wondering, ‘can I transfer my Mediclaim policy to another company?’, the answer is yes. Mediclaim is usually a one-size-fits-all policy with limited coverage, as opposed a health insurance which allows for extensive coverage with customisation benefits..
Reasons To Transfer Health Insurance To Another Company
Here are a few common reasons why you may consider switching insurance providers:
- Poor service from your existing insurer
If your insurer is unable to offer good-quality services, you can consider switching insurers. You may also consider porting if your insurer is hard to reach, or the response time is slow. When it comes to medical emergencies, insurers must be quick on their feet and must offer dedicated and robust customer service.
- Limited cover for specific diseases
Insurance policies can differ from one insurer to another. Your existing policy may not cover certain specific conditions or treatment that you did not need initially but do now. If another company offers the coverage you need without substantially increasing the premium prices, switching seems like a prudent choice.
- Higher co-payment or deductibles
If your existing policy demands a higher co-payment or deductible amount, consider transferring policies to another company. Higher co-payment and deductibles significantly increase your out-of-pocket expenses.
- Slow claim settlement process
Claim settlement is a critical aspect of an insurance encashing experience. A slow claim settlement process can be taxing, especially if you’ve filed a reimbursement claims. If the insurer always takes more than 4-6 weeks to reimburse your claim, switching insurers is a good idea.
- Affordable premiums for similar inclusions
With over 30 insurance companies in the country, there’s no dearth of medical insurance plans. You can find a plan similar to your existing one with similar or more inclusions. Plus, these plans may be more affordable than your existing one.
- Premium hikes
Inflation affects health insurance companies too. Hence, your insurance provider may increase your premium prices. Moreover, factors like the number of claims in a policy year, your age, your overall health, etc., may cause the insurer to raise the premium prices.
- Lack of transparency
Transparency is key when it comes to medical insurance. Discovering hidden charges amidst a medical crisis that prevent you from filing a claim can be cumbersome. Lack of transparency is a breach of trust and a valid reason to transfer health insurance to another company.
What Happens To The Existing Policy When You Transfer Health Insurance To Another Company?
While you are waiting for your new insurer to issue the new policy, you can continue using your existing insurance policy until its expiry.
Upon request, your existing insurer can extend your plan on a pro-rata basis for not less than one month. In this case, you only pay the premium amount for the insured period.
Until you receive the new insurer’s approval, the existing insurer cannot cancel the pro-rata policy.
If you have to file a claim during the pro-rata period, your insurer must acknowledge your claim. If the insurer accepts your claim, you are required to pay the entire premium amount for that policy year. Since you are paying the annual premium, you can continue using that policy until its end date.
Can The New Insurer Reject My Application To Transfer Health Insurance To Another Company?
Insurers cannot stop you from porting your policy. However, they hold the right to approve or reject your portability request. If your application does not meet the new insurance company’s eligibility, they can reject your request. Here are the reasons for portability rejection.
- Not adhering to timelines
You’re supposed to inform your insurer and apply for the new policy 45 days prior to the existing policy’s renewal date. Applying after the stipulated time can therefore lead to rejection.
- Not providing adequate details
The insurer can deny your portability application for not providing true and complete information about yourself, your medical history, the prevalence of pre-existing conditions, etc.
- Not submitting documents on time
Time is important when it comes to portability. The new insurer needs adequate time to verify your medical and claim history. Delay in submitting the requested documents can lead to rejection.
- History of multiple claims
Multiple claims in a policy year does not bode well with insurers. The insurer may perceive you as a high-risk individual and reject your health insurance transfer application.
- Pre-existing conditions not covered
If the new medical insurance plan does not cover a diagnosed pre-existing condition, the insurer will not approve your portability request.
- Expiry of the existing medical insurance
New insurers accept portability requests when the existing policy is still ongoing. If your policy has expired, your portability application will be rejected.
Things To Consider When You Transfer Health Insurance To Another Company
Health insurance portability offers several benefits. However, you must keep in mind the following factors when switching insurers.
- Limitations on what you can port
When you port your medical insurance, the continuity benefits apply to waiting periods, cumulative bonuses and pre-existing diseases. You cannot port the policy’s other features. Let’s say you decide to switch insurers due to the slow claim settlement process. However, the new insurer provider only offers a 30-day pre-hospitalisation cover while your existing insurer offers a 60-day cover. After switching providers, you cannot transfer the 60-day pre-hospitalisation cover.
- New policy’s inclusions and exclusions
Make sure you read the new policy’s wordings thoroughly. Check the list of treatments the new insurer covers, as claims filed for any other treatments can get rejected. Since every insurance plan is unique, there are chances that your new plan may not cover a few inclusions available in your existing policy. Even if the inclusions are the same, you must check the fine print.
- Difference in premium prices
If you opt for different coverages, your premium prices may change. If your new insurer offers a lower premium for similar policies, make sure you check the coverage. Lower premiums and lower coverage may lead to an increase in your out-of-pocket expenses. If you opt for an enhanced sum insured while porting, your premiums will increase.
- New insurer’s network hospitals
When you transfer health insurance to another company, you should assess the new insurer’s network of hospitals. Choosing an insurer with a wider network proves worthwhile. You must also check for network hospitals within your vicinity in case of emergency hospitalisation. Also check for alternate treatment clinics and facilities within your new insurer’s network.
- Sub-limit clauses in the new plan
There could be monetary caps on treatment costs associated with certain illnesses. For instance, you may have to bear 10% of cataract surgery cost while the insurer pays the rest. Alternatively, the policy may only cover hospital room rent of up to ₹5,000, as opposed to ₹6000 covered by your previous insurer. Sub-limit clauses prevent policyholders from overspending on unnecessary treatments. Nevertheless, it is important to know the sub-limits as it can help estimate the possible out-of-pocket expenses and generate savings accordingly.
Final Note: We hope we’ve answered your question, ‘can we transfer health insurance to another company?’. Note that you can transfer health insurance to another company without intervention from your existing insurer. Moreover, insurance companies cannot charge money for portability. You can carry forward features like the waiting period, minimum sum insured and cumulative bonuses. It is also important to find out what you might be missing out on if you make a portability request. Keep in mind that there are limitations on what you can port. Therefore, ensure you peruse the new policy’s documents and resolve any queries before policy issuance.