Waiting Periods In Health Insurance

What are waiting periods?

A waiting period is the time you need to wait before you are allowed to make any claims through your health insurance. If you buy a new health insurance plan, you will need to serve a waiting period. If you already have health insurance, waiting periods will not apply when porting to the same or lower level of cover. Waiting periods will apply for any new or increased sum insured.

Types of waiting period

Almost every health insurance plan has this pre-determined period where you cannot file a claim. The most important types of waiting period in an individual or family health insurance policy would be:

1. Initial waiting period of 30 days

When you buy a new health insurance policy, generally, there will be a 30 days waiting period starting from the policy inception date, during which period any hospitalization charges will not be payable by the insurance companies. However, this is not applicable to any emergency hospitalization occurring due to an accident. This waiting period will not be applicable for subsequent policies under renewal.

2. Pre-existing Conditions Waiting Period

If you suffer from any medical condition before or at the time of availing the policy, treatment expenses for this will not be covered. The length of this type of waiting period can vary from 12 to 48 months for different insurers and plans. Thus pre-existing conditions will only be covered under the plan after the passage of the timeframe mentioned.

3. Disease specific waiting period

Hospitalization or medical expenditures arising due to pre-specified illnesses are not covered under a health plan for a certain period of time. Generally, your insurance company will provide you with a list of such conditions that are not covered under the policy till the specific waiting period expires. These are commonly referred to as first year/ second year exclusions.

4. Maternity waiting period

Maternity benefits are paid by certain health insurance policies. However most of them have a waiting period of 9 months to 48 months. It just means that health insurance plan needs to be purchased much ahead of planning your family.

Find out more about Domestic Health Insurance