You can now shift to a new insurer without losing the benefits of the existing policy with the health insurance portability.
Most people tolerate bad service from their health insurers because they don't want to lose out on the benefits of the existing policy if they move to another insurer. Switching insurers mean that you are considered a new customer and have to go through the waiting period of 1 to 4 years after buying the policy to cover your pre-existing diseases. However, from 1st October 2011, health insurance portability has come into effect, which allows you to switch insurers without losing the benefits of your existing policy.
So, if you have an illness that will be covered after 3 years and have already completed 2 years with an insurer, you will only have to wait for 1 year with the new insurer for your illness to be covered.
Portability is applicable only to health insurance policies issued by non-life insurance companies. If you are covered under a group mediclaim, you too can migrate to either an individual health insurance policy or a family floater plan, but only if you have been with the same insurer for at least a year. This feature will be beneficial for employees, who do not have any health plan other than the mediclaim provided by their employer. It will be especially handy when they change jobs.
You can apply for portability only 45 days before renewing your existing policy. You will have to submit a portability form along with the proposal form. Your details will be shared by your existing insurance company and the new one through a portal that the Insurance Regulatory Development Authority (IRDA) will be launching soon. Based on this, the new insurer will underwrite its proposal and inform you of its decision within 15 days. If the insurer crosses this deadline, it will have to accept the proposal submitted by you. However, the new insurer has the right to deny you the plan based on its underwriting policy.