Porting health insurance? Waiting period for higher cover

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There are times when you outgrow your current health insurance policy and you need to take another one. That is when you decide on porting health insurance.

A higher sum assured and / or more benefits with a similar premium are primary drivers of this decision.

The key benefit of porting health insurance is that you get to carry your current policy life to the next policy. This means that if you have spent 2 years in the current policy, then the next policy will treat the 2 years lived under the new policy too.

Suppose your current health cover is Rs. 5 lakhs and you wish to increase this to Rs. 10 lakhs. You have got a better offer from another company to do so.

Since you have already spent 2 years in the existing policy, the waiting period for certain pre existing diseases will be reduced by 2 years in the new policy too.

However, there is a catch and this is important.

The waiver is only applicable to the sum insured you had in your previous policy. In this case, Rs. 5 lakhs.

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For the balance Rs. 5 lakhs, you will have to start fresh waiting period as prescribed under policy terms and conditions.

Now, if by any chance you are porting your health cover (with a higher sum insured) for your elderly parents, then it becomes a double whammy.

On the one hand, you will be paying a much larger premium and on the other hand, any immediate hospitalisation will have to be paid out of your pocket.

Let me mention again some key points when dealing with your health insurance cover (based on my personal experience).

  • Go for a health insurance at a younger age with a base policy.
  • Use super top ups to increase your overall health cover. That comes at a much cheaper cost.
  • The downside is that super top ups may not be eligible for porting benefits.
  • Never forget to port your existing health cover and carry forward the benefits.
  • If and when you port, clearly understand what is going to be covered and not covered, specially about pre existing diseases.
  • Sometimes, you tend to port because of the recharge/restore benefit. However, there are certain limitations to it such as it is not allowed for the same disease/same person in one policy year.
  • Always disclose existing diseases, else your claims will be under fire.
  • As parents grow older and if there is an age difference between the two, try and take separate individual policies for them. It could turn out cheaper in terms of premium.
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Between you and me: What has been your experience with health insurance? Do share for everyone’s benefit.

Read more: A c0mparison of health insurance policies

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Vipin Khandelwal
Vipin is a SEBI Registered Investment Adviser. He works with investors to make better decisions and create behaviour alpha.
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