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Health Insurance Policy Switch: When and why to switch health insurance policy, understand port and migration, advantages and disadvantages

Health Insurance Policy Switch Benefits: Should you change your insurer or look for a new policy with your existing insurer to take advantage of the new features or service of the health insurance policy? Let us understand its advantages and disadvantages.

New Delhi: When Delhi resident Manish Awasthi was hospitalized last year, he chose a single AC room and the bill for three days came to Rs 88,000. Rest assured that his Rs 4 lakh insurance will take care of it. He waited for the insurer’s approval only to find out that he needed to pay Rs 33,000, as his policy had a sub-limit of 1 per cent of the room rent. After this he started looking for a new health policy. There are many others like Awasthi, who bought their policy a decade ago and are stuck with rent capping, resulting in exorbitant expenses. Others are bothered by claim settlement issues, high premiums, poor servicing and low accountability of the insurer. After Kovid, the insurance needs of the people have also been affected.

The cost of health care has not only increased due to rising medical inflation. Rising diseases due to changed lifestyles have increased OPD requirements, while people are spending more money on staying healthy. To meet the changing needs, insurers are constantly making improvements, introducing new features and making health policies more comprehensive. Should you change your insurer or look for a new policy with your existing insurer to avail new features or servicing? Let us understand its advantages and disadvantages.

What if porting or migrating
If you are satisfied with the service and overall experience provided by your existing insurer but are not happy with the product then you can migrate instead of porting your policy. Porting involves choosing a plan with the new insurer. Whereas, migrating involves shifting to a new policy with the existing insurer. As per the health insurance regulator, if a person has renewed his policy without a break for at least four years, then migration is allowed without any hindrance to the extent of the existing sum assured and benefits in the old policy.

Parthanil Ghosh, President, Retail Business, HDFC Ergo General Insurance, says that if you do not find a suitable or comprehensive policy according to your needs with your current insurer, or find a better product with higher value for money with other insurers You can consider porting.

Pros and Cons of Switching Policy
Ajay Shah, Head of Distribution, Care Health Insurance, says that it is easier to overcome the shortcomings resulting from porting when you intend to get rid of the problems with your existing policy. On the positive side, you can get a policy with wide coverage and affordable premiums. It may also give you access to new healthcare providers that were not available in your previous network.

Aftab Chaj, Associate Director and Business Head, Alliance Insurance Brokers, says you can get a better deal with good servicing, low premiums, comprehensive coverage, no time bound exclusions, low deductibles and co-payments. A major advantage is that you can carry forward the waiting period credit for pre-existing conditions from your old insurer. However, the new features may result in higher premiums and you may lose your loyalty rewards and discounts. The biggest drawback or disadvantage is that whether you port or migrate, you will have to go through the entire process of buying a policy, as the underwriting is considered afresh every time you shift.


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