Health insurance is a very important tool. It keeps you safe from the ever-increasing cost of healthcare in India. However, the protection of a health insurance policy does not necessarily begin immediately from the date of purchase. Rather, certain waiting periods need to be negated before you can enjoy the benefits of your medical insurance policy. This article will highlight 3 such waiting periods to ensure you are fully informed about the coverage of your policy.
Initial waiting period:
Often referred to as the cooling period, the initial waiting period of a health insurance policy starts from the date of purchase and can last for 30 to 90 days. The exact length of the initial waiting period can differ from one insurance policy to the next. During this period, no claims can be made against your policy, except for those related to accidental hospitalization.
Waiting period for pre-existing illnesses:
As per IRDAI definition, a pre-existing disease is any condition, injury, ailment or illness that you have been diagnosed with, up to 48 months before buying a medical insurance plan. If you have any such condition, then you have to declare the same when buying a policy.
Now, there will be a waiting period until the medical expenses from this condition can be covered by health insurance. This period can last for 3-4 years, depending on the insurance provider,the type of condition you have, and its severity.
Fortunately, you can reduce the length of your waiting period. This is because some health insurance providers also offer the option of premium loading. It is a feature wherein you can pay extra premiums to reduce the waiting periods related to your pre-existing illness.
Waiting period for named illnesses:
Some conditions have their own waiting period. These conditions include ENT disorders, tumours, pancreatitis, cirrhosis of the liver, hernia, and so on. Usually, there is a waiting period between 2 and 4 years for such a condition. However, the length of the waiting period & the ailments that require such waiting periods will differ from one insurer to the next.
What is the need for waiting periods?
Waiting periods protect the insurance provider from unscrupulous claims. Without a waiting period, one can buy a policy only after being diagnosed with a condition and the insurance provider would be liable to cover the medical costs. Waiting periods exist to safeguard insurance companies from such unethical claims.
How to avoid these waiting periods?
Well, the best way to bypass the waiting periods of health insurance is to buy a policy when you are young. You are hail & hearty allowing you to breeze through the waiting periods with ease! This is one of the main reasons why financial experts always constantly advise buyers to purchase medical insurance at a young age, preferably when you are in your 20s.
We hope this article has been helpful for you. Remember to take care of your health, good luck and all the best!