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What to Do When your Health Insurance Lapses? read

Mar 16 2020

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Insurance policies generally come with a fixed renewal tenure, usually spanning across a year. The insurers handling health plans are quite strict when it comes to policy renewal and the suspension of benefits if it is not renewed in time.

That said, there are times when the insured misses the renewal window, which results in termination of the health insurance policy. In this article, we shall try to understand the concept of insurance lapse and the steps which need to be followed, if and when the policy gets terminated.

Why does a Health insurance policy lapse?

The concept behind a policy lapse is simple. If the insured fails to pay the premium or the renewal amount before the expiry date, the policy gets terminated and the person isn’t eligible for medical cover. The benefits will cease even if the insured still has a cover amount or bonus amount that has not been utilized. This is because what the premium in effect buys, is an agreement from the company to honour bills within a stipulated period. The renewal date signifies the end of that agreement. If the agreement is not renewed at the end of the policy year, the benefits automatically stop.

What is a Grace Period?

The health insurance lapse grace period is a tentative date before which the insured can revive the lapsed policy, even if the renewal date has been missed. A majority of health plans offer a 30-day window as the grace period, before which the policy can be reinstated. However, during the grace period, the insured isn’t eligible for medical coverage. What this means is, within the grace period, you can renew the policy you had based on the original/previous cost and terms. This saves you from the hassle of having to apply for a new policy, going through medical checks and all other activities that are a part of the insurance purchase process. It also reinstates the current status of the waiting period terms that the policy held – whether finished or reduced. This is one of the biggest benefits of the grace period.

Although the health insurance lapse grace period offers some time to the insured for renewing or reviving the policy, it is always advisable to avoid getting into a similar situation. Firstly, even if health insurance is in the grace period, the insurance company isn’t eligible to offer any coverage, regardless of the diagnosed ailments. Another problem that comes from letting a policy fall into the grace period is that it looses it’s plan portability option. The reason behind this is that any portability request needs to be raised almost 45 to 60 days before policy expiration and not after it lapses.

Renewing a policy is essential even if it’s done during the grace period. However, reviving a lapsed health insurance policy during the grace period minimizes the scope of coverage, iradicates the lifelong renewability option, dissolves the waiting period continuity perks, and even negates the no claim bonuses associated with an action plan.
Therefore, it is advisable to stay vigilant, keep checking for the renewal period, and also turn on the automatic renewal scheme for avoiding hassles.

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