Health insurance is an essential part of any individual’s financial planning. It provides financial protection against unexpected medical expenses and ensures timely access to quality healthcare services.
Group health insurance is employer-provided health insurance for employees. This is offered as an employee benefit and after the Covid-19 pandemic, it is mandatory to offer group health insurance for the employees.
However, what happens when you leave your job or your employer stops providing health insurance? How will you cover your medical expenses?
In such cases, you may have to shift from a group health insurance policy to an individual policy. This process is known as group health insurance portability.
What is Group Health Insurance Portability?
Group health insurance portability is the process of transferring your health insurance policy from a group policy to an individual policy. This option is available when you leave your job, retire, or your employer discontinues the group health insurance policy.
Porting your policy allows you to continue the health insurance coverage without any interruption. Additionally, it gives you the freedom to choose a policy that is customized to your specific healthcare needs.
How to Port from Group Health Insurance to Individual Policy?
The process of porting from a group health insurance policy to an individual policy may seem daunting, but it is relatively simple. Here are the steps to follow:
1. Check the Policy Terms and Conditions:
Before you start the porting process, check the terms and conditions of your group health insurance policy. Most group policies have a portability clause that allows you to port the policy. The clause specifies the conditions and procedures to follow when porting the policy.
2. Notify the Insurer:
Inform the insurer at least 30-45 days before your last day of employment (in the respective company) of your intention to port the policy. This step is crucial as it helps the insurer initiate the porting process and provides you with the necessary information and guidance. In case, you fail to inform the insurer, you can inform the insurer within 5 days of leaving the previous job.
3. Apply for an Individual Policy:
Once you have informed the insurer, apply for an individual health insurance policy. Make sure to compare various policies, benefits, and premiums to choose a policy that best suits your healthcare needs.
4. Submit Documents:
Submit the necessary documents, such as the group health insurance portability form, proposal form, identity proof, address proof, and age proof, to the insurer. The insurer may also require your medical history, including previous health insurance policies, to assess the risk and offer a premium. Submit the above documents before 45 days of your current policy renewal.
5. Waiting Period:
Once the insurer approves your application, there is a waiting period before the policy becomes effective. The waiting period varies from insurer to insurer and may range from 15 to 90 days.
6. Cancel Group Policy:
Once your individual policy becomes effective, cancel the group health insurance policy. Make sure to follow the cancellation procedure specified by the insurer to avoid any complications.
Benefits of Group Health Insurance Portability
Group health insurance portability offers several benefits to the policyholder, including:
1. Continuous Coverage:
Porting your policy ensures that you have continuous health insurance coverage without any interruption. This is particularly beneficial if you have a pre-existing medical condition that requires regular medical attention.
2. Customized Policy:
Shifting to an individual policy gives you the freedom to choose a policy that is tailored to your specific healthcare needs. You can select a policy with higher coverage, additional benefits, and lower premiums.
3. No Loss of Accumulated Benefits:
If you have accumulated benefits under the group health insurance policy, such as a no-claim bonus or cumulative bonus, porting the policy allows you to retain these benefits.
4. Tax Benefits:
Premiums paid towards individual health insurance policies are eligible for tax benefits under Section 80D of the Income Tax Act, 1961. This means that you can claim a deduction for the premiums paid towards the policy.
5. Increase the sum insured:
Your employers may only offer you a limited sum insured. Or the sum insured coverage may not be sufficient for you. By porting your group health insurance to an individual policy, the sum insured coverage can be increased.
Group health insurance portability is a useful feature that allows you to continue your health insurance coverage without interruption. The process of porting from a group policy to an individual policy is relatively simple, provided you follow the necessary steps and fulfil the requirements specified by the insurer.
By porting your policy, you can enjoy the benefits of a customized health insurance policy that meets your specific healthcare needs.
So, if you find yourself in a situation where you need to switch from a group health insurance policy, consider portability as a viable option for uninterrupted coverage and peace of mind.