Health premiums maybe paid in instalments: Regulator tells insurers

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Health insurance companies can collect premiums in several parts, the industry regulator said on Tuesday as he sought to help people during the country’s coronavirus epidemic.

Irdai, in September, allowed companies offering health products to accept premium payments in installments, which are otherwise collected each year.

Companies can offer health premiums in installments on a permanent basis or as temporary relief to policyholders for twelve months for all policies that need to be renewed until March 31, 2021. In doing so, the regulator has relaxed the guidelines which prescribe a twelve month gap to make minor changes in products.

Premium payments can be monthly, quarterly or semi-annual, but without change in the basic premium table and billing structure.

“While the regulator had authorized insurers to collect health premiums in circular payments in September of last year, but insurers have had to re-deposit the products but given the current scenario, the regulator said that the insurers can start this functionality immediately without recharging the product to ease the pressure on policyholders, ”said Amit Chhabra, business manager, Policybazaar.com.

The issue of the availability of the premium payment facility in several installments and the conditions relating to it will be properly published on the website of each insurance company, the regulator said.

When the possibility of paying premiums by installments is offered for any product, this must be offered to all policyholders without discrimination and policyholders must also be informed of the applicable conditions, he added.

In addition, the insurance company must obtain the consent of the insured on all conditions to give the possibility of paying the premium in several installments. The names of the products which benefit from the possibility of paying premiums by installments by the insurers are published on the websites of the insurers for the information of the insured and the insurers must provide the details of the products when such an installation is authorized by the regulator.

Irdai asked insurers to rule on health insurance claims within two hours, in an effort to ease the pressure on the country’s healthcare infrastructure struggling with the coronavirus epidemic.

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