Health Insurance portability to become reality soon

There are lots of issues which are being sorted out by IRDA and General Insurance Council, insurance regulator J Hari Narayan said.

"We have suggested to industry and hopefully it will happen soon," he said, adding, there would be no change in the premia if a switch over happens.

The General Insurance Council is an association of non-life insurers.

Narayan further said, "There are lots of issues (relating to portability) for example exchange of data and bonus transfer."

"The earlier policy may not be exactly similar to this (new) policy. Each policy is slightly different. So in which case when you switch what happens to these kind of liabilities," he added.

It's not always like to like all the time, he said, adding, "what we have done, however, is that IRDA and General Insurance Council has designed sort of basic health plan which can be completely portable.

Under the present dispensation, a policy holder is given health cover for a year and the same has to be renewed every 12 months.

If there is no claim, the policy holder is entitled to a bonus in the form of increased sum and for every claim-free year, this bonus gets accumulated.

After the expiry of the term, if one intends to switch over to a new company, the accumulated bonus is not carried forward and one has to start all over again.

For senior citizens it becomes all the more difficult because companies are reluctant to sell new mediclaim policies to the elderly.

Two insurers do not generally have identical mediclaim policy and so both the industry and the regulator are working out a minimum benefit that would be carried forward in case of change of insurer.

The industry also expected to set the guaranteed minimum covers as agreed by companies which can be carried along to a new company. This will allow the insured to know the facilities he can carry to the new company.

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