What is the Grace Period in Health Insurance Plans?

10 Aug 2021

Health Insurance Article

Nobody would like to fall sick, but that’s not in our hand. Most people need medical care at some point in life and have to fall back on health insurance covers. So, it is essential to stay insured all the time and renew your policy on or before the due date. 

Most health insurance policies are valid for one year, and the policyholder is required to renew them for another year at the end of the policy period. To those, who fail to renew their mediclaim or health insurance policy in time, the health insurance companies give a second chance, known as a grace period for renewal of health insurance. So, the mediclaim renewal grace period is the extra time policyholders get to pay the premium and continue enjoying the benefits of their health insurance coverage without a break. 

Grace period for health insurance renewal usually varies anywhere from a week to 30 days. The grace period for the health insurance policy is like a lifeline and must be used as such. If you fail to pay the premium within the grace period, your policy expires, and you lose all the benefits along with the privileges and loyalty points you must have earned over some time.

The health insurance grace period should not be confused with the waiting period. The waiting period is when new policyholders have to wait before getting benefits from the health insurance policy. The claims filed during this period are rejected. 

Benefits and privileges you could lose:

You are without cover

The most significant disadvantage of not renewing your health policy during the health insurance grace period is that you are without cover. The lapsed policy does not provide you with any insurance cover, and even if you apply for a new approach, it may take days before you get one. Given the costs of medical treatment and hospitalization, it is not wise to remain without an insurance policy even for a day.

You will lose a no-claim bonus

no-claim bonus is one of the most attractive features of health insurance policies. It is an incentive that the insurance companies give to their customers who do not claim in a year. It is given either as a cumulative bonus or a discount in premium. A cumulative bonus means your coverage amount for the next year will increase, depending on the bonus, while the premium will remain the same. If you have a health policy of Rs 4 lakh and your company gives you a bonus of 25,000 for not making any claim in a given year, your policy’s coverage amount will go up to Rs 4.25 lakh next year.

Alternatively, you could get a discount on the premium for the following year.

Portability of policy

If you allow your policy to lapse, you lose the facility of porting it to a new health insurer. You are required to request porting a plan at least 45-60 days before a policy’s expiry date.

The new policy is bound to be expensive

A new policy will cost you more because health insurance costs keep rising. Plus, you would be a year older, another factor that leads to higher premiums.

Longer waiting period

Health insurance plans have a waiting period of 24-48 months applicable to certain pre-existing conditions and maternity benefits. With the new plan, you will have to wait for another couple of years before you can start using these facilities.

Health check-up again

You may have to go for a detailed health check-up to get the new policy. This medical test is a time-consuming process; besides, what if you fail the medical examination? You are not required to go for a medical test for the renewal of a health policy. 

Lifelong renewability. Some insurance policies have a provision for life-long renewability, and if you allow your plan to lapse, you lose this privilege.

Conclusion:

Remaining uninsured is no option. It’s not prudent to remain without health insurance even for a day. Suppose you are not satisfied with your current health insurance plan or company. In that case, you have the option of switching over to a new health insurance company without losing the benefits, privileges or bonus points of your current policy or plan. According to the IRDA (Protection of Policyholders’ Interests) Regulations, your new insurer must ensure that the benefits you enjoyed and privileges you earned with your previous insurer are retained when you switch over. So, you keep the credit relating to the waiting period for pre-existing conditions whenever you port your policy.

You can even switch over from one plan to another with the same insurer. However, you have to follow certain conditions if you want to port your policy. You can port the policy only towards the closer to the renewal period so that by the time your next insurance period starts, you will have joined the new company. You have to write to your current insurer about your desire to shift your insurance plan at least 45 days before your renewal is due.

This way, you will be able to renew your policy without a break as you get a grace period in health insurance plans of 30 days if porting is under process

Tips for policyholders:

  • Read the fine print
  • Before you accept a health insurance plan, go through the terms and conditions and claims policy thoroughly. All insurance companies allow you a free look period to study the plan and make up your mind. During this period, the insurance company can terminate the policy, at your request, without penalties.

Looking for a health cover, Liberty General Insurance has a solution to all your needs.

Disclaimer: For more details on risk factors, terms & conditions please read sales brochure carefully before concluding a sale. *The discount amount will vary subject to vehicle specification and place of registration

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