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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Mediclaim Portability: Soon a Reality

Here’s some really good news coming for all the medical policyholders with IRDA saying that portability will soon be introduced. The customer will now have the opportunity to find an insurance carrier that better suits their needs and lifestyle. Policyholders who are not satisfied with their current provider will be able to switch to another health insurer without any change in the premium outgo.

The facility will be available to policyholders who are insured for a sum of 1,00,000 and above. Currently, the health cover given to any policyholder has to be renewed every year and if there’s no claim the policyholder is entitled to a bonus in the form of an increased sum and for every claim-free year this bonus gets accumulated.

The industry and the regulator are working on the minimum benefit that would be carried forward in case of change in the insurer as two insurers do not generally have the same mediclaim policies. The regulator is also considering portability for car insurance.

There are several benefits on the basis of which policyholders can compare different policies provided by various insurance players such as hospitalization expenses, day-care procedures, effects of cumulative bonus and various types of illnesses covered under critical illness domain. Besides the service factor, policyholders can also compare insurers on the basis of denial of their policy renewal and the increasing costs of their renewal premiums. Medical insurance portability will be most useful for the higher aged people, as currently they have problems in changing insurers even though they might be dissatisfied. This is primarily because the new insurance company treats the policy as completely fresh, and the diseases which might have been covered by the previous company are now treated as pre-existing.

So the policyholder can now switch their insurer if they are getting rude replies from their executives and are not satisfied with any of their services without any change in the premium.

In a country like India where medical insurance penetration is merely 6-7%, the new ruling when put into practice by the insurance regulator, would bring a big fillip to the industry as more competitive and customer friendly services are most likely to be provided to the policyholders.

We do hope that medical insurance portability in its basic form will be introduced shortly as we have been hearing about it for quite some time now.

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