New India Assurance exempts diabetes, BP patients from paying extra premium …

Here is some good news for those who suffer from diabetes or hypertension. No, it is not about any wonder drug.

Individuals with these two conditions can now buy health insurance cover from New India Assurance without paying any extra premium.

The public sector insurance major, which dominates the health insurance space in the country, has decided to eliminate the 10-20 per cent premium loading — that is, extra premium charged — on these two conditions. Sure, many general insurance companies still charge a higher premium for offering health cover to individuals with such existing ailments at the time of issuing policies.

“In case an individual suffers from chronic conditions such as diabetes or hypertension, it is apparent that the health risk applicable on this particular individual is greater than a similar individual without such afflictions. This leads to the insurance company applying an additional loading on the premium of the latter,” adds Antony Jacob, CEO of Apollo Munich.

Also, some insurance companies continue to refuse offer covers to individuals with these conditions. “Some companies charge a loading of around 30-40 per cent while others insist on incorporating a co-pay clause, where, say, 30 per cent of the approved claim is payable by the insured,” says Divya Gandhi, principal officer and head — general insurance, Emkay Insurance Brokers. “There are some companies which simply do not extend cover to people with such pre-existing diseases,” she adds.

Slowly, insurance companies are rethinking on the practice of loading the premium for lifestyle diseases like hypertension and diabetes, which are afflicting many young insurance seekers these days. For instance, New India took the decision to stop loading the premium for diabetes and hypertension to simplify the process.

“There were problems in determining admissibility of claims for persons. Several questions arose: whether they had paid the loading or not; whether they had declared that they suffered from diabetes or hypertension at the time of buying the cover or whether they got afflicted later,” explains Segar Sampathkumar, general manager of New India Assurance.

Since these issues used to delay claim settlement and making the entire process tedious, the insurance company decided to do away with the practice of loading the premium. Since the loading of premium is not a short-term measure and it inflates your annual premium as long as the policy is in force, it should be one of the key determinants of your choice of insurer.