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BW Businessworld

Not Happy With The Services Of Your Health Insurer? Know How You Can Port Your Policy

Once the new health insurer receives all the required details, they have to take a decision on whether or not to accept porting of the policy within 15 days.

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In the last one decade, businesses have become much more customer oriented as they are leaving no stone unturned in meeting every specific needs and requirement of the customers. Talk about your DTH operator, mobile network carrier or car insurer, you don’t have to be attached to unsatisfactory services for your life. With various guidelines offered by the regulatory bodies, you can easily port your mobile connection or DTH operator to another service provider within a few easy steps. Thankfully, you can now even choose to switch your health policy in case you are not happy with the services and features of your current health insurer. In the year 2011, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) allowed porting of health insurance policies in order to give them maximum benefit. However, the sad part is that many people are still uninformed of the nitty-gritty of porting a health insurance cover.

Need for Porting of Health Insurance Policy
Some of the common reasons why people feel the need for porting their health insurance cover include expensive policies, capping on room rent, limited coverage and extended delays in claim settlement. Better features in terms of services offered by different insurers are also some popular reasons for porting of health policies. The various features that traditional health policies lacked include OPD Cover, Automatic Restoration Cover, Hospital Cash, etc.

Portability in health insurance cover is allowed by IRDAI in all health insurance related products i.e. individual and floater covers. However, you are just allowed to shift the insurer between the two similar policy types. For example, if you have an individual health cover of Rs. 10 Lakh sum insured and you can wish to switch your insurer, you can do the same provided you switch to an individual health cover only. You cannot choose to change the policy type to a disease-specific cover or a critical illness cover. One important thing that one must remember while planning to port a health insurance cover is that porting is only permitted during the policy renewal. Though, some insurers even allow porting of the health insurance till the expiry date of the policy.

Benefits of Porting Your Health Cover
One of the prominent benefits for people who wish to port their health insurer is that they are allowed to enjoy the advantage of the waiting period (usually for pre-existing disease and maternity) as they can carry forward the time already associated with the previous insurer. For instance, say you have a health policy that has a waiting period of 24 months to avail maternity cover and with your existing insurer you have already passed 18 months. Now, when you port your policy to another insurer, the waiting period for availing maternity cover will be reduced to 6 months (provided the new policy also has a waiting period of 24 months for maternity cover) as you have already served 18 months waiting period with the previous insurer.

The waiting period for pre-existing diseases and maternity cover vary from one insurer to another. While porting a health policy, you may even port credits earned on no-claim bonus. Under this feature, assuming the sum insured of your existing policy was Rs. 5 Lakh and after two continuous annual renewals without any claims, the sum insured reaches Rs. 6 Lakh, thanks to NCB. Now, the next year when you port the policy with a new insurer, the total sum insured will remain Rs. 6 Lakh. But yes, the premium will also be calculated on the current sum insured i.e. Rs. 6 Lakh.

Process of Porting
In order to port an existing health insurance policy to another insurer, the policyholder needs to approach the new health insurer at least 45-60 days prior to the expiry date of the existing policy, though porting is even permitted till the last day of the policy. Once there, the policyholder needs to fill a proposal form for portability of the policy and furnish important details regarding the previous year policy copies and later apply for the portability. After the new insurer receives the porting request, the company approaches the existing insurer in order to verify the medical and claims history of the applicant. Bases on various checks, it is the prerogative of the new health insurer to accept or reject the proposal. Once the new health insurer receives all the required details, they have to take a decision on whether or not to accept porting of the policy within 15 days.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

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Amit Chhabra

The author is Head- Health Insurance,

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