Portability And Migration

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We buy Health Insurance to afford good healthcare amidst the rising inflation. But with time, our needs change, and so do our expectations. Dissatisfaction is a common phenomenon, and sometimes, we aren’t happy with our existing policy and the services offered by them. We feel other insurers are doing better, and that we are missing out on the various new features and benefits offered by other plans.

If you feel this way, you are not alone. To ensure that common people aren’t taken for a ride by their insurance providers, IRDAI has introduced Migration and Portability.

What are these two options? Let’s find out!

Migration And Portability In Health Insurance

  • Migrating

    The process of moving your policy to another policy within the same insurance company.

  • Porting

    Changing your insurer and moving your policy to a plan with another insurance company.

    For example, Rhea has Niva Bupa’s ReAssure health plan and her colleague, Naveen, has Aditya Birla’s Activ Assure. They both are covered under two health insurance policies but they are not satisfied with them. They have recently heard about Niva Bupa’s Health Companion, and after going through its features, feel it’s the perfect match for them.

    Now since Rhea is transferring her policy to the same insurer, she’ll have to go through the migrating process. And since Naveen is changing his insurer altogether and transferring his health policy to another insurance company, he’ll have to go through insurance portability.

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When Can You Migrate Or Port Your Health Insurance Policy?

You can do them only at the time of policy renewal.

Please note -

  • To migrate your policy, you’ll have to inform the insurer 30 days prior to the renewal date.

  • To port your policy, you’ll have to inform the insurer 45 days before the renewal date.

Benefits Of Migration And Portability

Health insurance policy comes with waiting periods for a select list ailments, pre-existing diseases, etc. Only after waiting for that specified amount of time, will you be able to avail the policy benefits and get those illnesses covered.

Now if your existing policy isn’t working for you and you need to buy a new one, you’ll have to serve the waiting periods all over again. This is where migration or portability can come to your rescue. With these options, you can transfer your policy, while keeping the continuity benefits (of having exhausted the waiting periods you’ve already served) intact.

Let’s understand this better - by taking an example.

Suppose Gauri buys a health insurance policy in August, 2022. She states diabetes as a pre-existing disease. The insurer, thus, imposes a 2-year-long waiting period on diabetes as a pre existing disease. Hence, the waiting period will be completed in August, 2024 - and only then will she be able to make a claim related to diabetes.

Now in September 2025, Gauri undergoes hospitalisation for a treatment of nerve damage related to diabetes. During the claims process, she faces problems with the insurer, and decides to change her policy.

Since she has already served the waiting period for her old policy, let’s see how this situation affects it.

If Gauri buys a new policy from a new insurer If Gauri migrates or ports her policy
The new insurance company may apply a waiting period on diabetes. Hence, Gauri will have to serve it all over again. The waiting period and other continuity benefits will remain intact, and she will not have to serve another before making a claim.

Types Of Policies You Can Migrate Or Port

If you have a personal policy, you can migrate or port from one individual policy to another. And in case you are covered under a group policy, you can port or migrate to an individual policy. Here’s a list of policies you can migrate or port-

  • Indemnity-Based Policies

    The insurer covers the total hospitalisation expenses incurred up to the sum insured. Your regular health insurance policy, covering hospitalisation expenses, is an indemnity-based policy.

  • Critical Illness Insurance Policies

    Here, a fixed amount is paid to you if you are diagnosed with any critical illness listed in the policy document.

  • Hospital Cash Policies

    Here, you are paid a fixed sum insured for each day that you are hospitalised.

Things To Consider While Migrating Or Porting A Health Insurance Policy

  • Old Policy Shouldn’t Have Gaps

    Policy lapse is a situation where you can no longer avail the benefits and cover provided. A lapsed policy cannot be ported or migrated - so make sure there are no gaps in your old policy.

  • Benefits And Waiting Periods Can Be Transferred

    Before 2011, to migrate or port your policy, you had to start anew and serve another waiting period. But some insurance plans now allow you to move your policy to a new one along with -

    The waiting period credit (for pre-existing and other diseases)

    The sum insured

    The No Claim Bonus, if any

    This makes the transfer a lot easier. However, this may differ across insurers.

  • Provide Correct And Complete Details

    When porting or migrating to another policy, disclose your medical history to the new insurer. Let them know about the diseases or medical conditions that existed before purchasing the original policy, along with the ones that were diagnosed and treated during the original policy term. Be as transparent as you can to experience a smooth migration/portability process.

  • Waiting Period For Newly-Diagnosed Diseases

    As mentioned above, you need to provide details of any new illness/condition diagnosed and treated while your old policy was in force. Based on the type and severity of the disease, the insurer can either exclude the newly-diagnosed diseases or apply a waiting period. In case a waiting period is imposed, you will have to serve it before making any claims for anything related to that disease.

  • Porting Is Not Assured

    Keep in mind that the insurer is not obligated to port your policy into a new one of your choice. This is applicable for both group and personal health insurance policies.

    The approval depends on your risk profile and your claims history. If the insurer finds you too risky to be covered, based on your age, health, lifestyle choices, and other declarations, or if you have claimed multiple times under your old policy - they can decline your migration/portability application. Exclusions or additional charges can also be imposed.

  • If Approved, Ensure Portability Is Clearly Mentioned

    After you port your policy, you will receive a copy of the ported policy from the insurer. Ensure the portability is on record and clearly stated in the policy document - to avoid any hassles in the future.

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How To Apply for Health Insurance Portability?

Here are the steps involved -

Step 1: Inform the insurer

The first and foremost step in the process is informing the insurance company about your decision to port your policy. Do this at least 45 days prior to your policy renewal date.

Step 2: Fill forms and submit documents

After notifying the insurer, you will receive a few documents, like the portability form, proposal form, etc. - which you will have to fill up. Give thorough details of the pre-existing and other diseases, health and lifestyle conditions that existed before and while the old policy was in force. Mention the claims you have made, if any.

A general list of documents you’ll need to submit while porting your health insurance plan
  • Identity Proof
  • Address Proof
  • IRDAI Portability Form
  • Proposal Form
  • Insurance Policy
  • Claim History (if applicable)
  • Documents Related To Medical History

Only after you have submitted all the necessary documents to the new insurer, will they take the next step. They will get in touch with your old insurer for your past health record, your claim history, etc.

Step 3: Insurer will evaluate your application

After the new insurer has received all the required details, they will evaluate your proposal. There will be an underwriting team who will evaluate your risk profile. Based on the underwriting, the insurer will decide whether to approve or decline your application.

Important: The new insurer will have to underwrite your policy and respond within 15 days of receiving all your documents. If they fail to respond within the given time, they will lose their right to reject your portability application. This means, you will automatically be considered covered under the new insurance policy.

Limitations Of Migration/Portability -

While migration and portability open new doors and help you get better features in a new policy, they also have their own negative consequences, like -

You might end up paying a much larger premium for the new policy.

Waiting periods might be imposed on certain diseases.

Other limitations/exclusions might be attached with the new policy.

There's always a possibility of your application being declined.

You deserve the best - from people, jobs to insurance policies. If you are not happy with something, there’s always an option of moving on to something better. Migrating and porting your health insurance policy are the best ways to change your policy without losing the continuity benefits earned under your previous one. We advise you to do this well before your existing health insurance plan expires. This way, if you realise you made a mistake, you can choose to stay covered under your existing one. Hope you take a good call, and get the best of everything in life.