In a big relief to dissatisfied health insurance policyholders, Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) on Thursday allowed them portability — shifting policies from one insurer to another on same terms — from July 1.

“The authority has examined various issues involved in the portability of the health insurance plan and has issued the necessary orders for effecting portability which will be implemented from July 1,” IRDA says in a statement.

The portability facility will allow policyholders to switch over to another insurance company with the same conditions.

“The accepting insurer shall provide cover, at least up to the sum assured in the previous insurance policy,” the regulator said.

The new facility will help those policy holders who stick to one insurer throughout life for fear of losing the cover for Pre Existing Diseases (PED).

“It is essential to protect the policyholders against discontinuity and consequential loss of PED cover by making the health insurance plans portable across the insurance companies,” IRDA says the release.

In general, health insurance policies have specific exclusions for PED for a specified period of cover during the initial year, and policyholders do not get this cover in the event of changing insurance firm. It was considered ‘detrimental to competition'. — PTI