Purchasing health insurance opens you to numerous terminologies and jargon that may seem complex. However, once you start understanding such terms, it does get easier to know the details of your insurance policy. One such terminology is the waiting period applicable to most types of health plans. To explain simply, a waiting period means exactly what it reads like, a period during which you must wait to file any insurance claims. In this article, let’s understand the waiting period in family health insurance plans.
So, What is a Waiting Period in Health Insurance?
In health insurance, a waiting period is the amount of time during which you cannot raise insurance claims to make use of the policy benefits. Usually, waiting periods are specified in your health plan which is why it is crucial to read the fine print.
To understand the waiting period in detail, let’s take an example. After you have purchased a health policy, there’s an initial period ranging between 30 – 90 days. Here, you cannot make any claims until the waiting period is over. But the initial waiting period does come with an exception wherein you can file claims resulting from accidental hospitalisation.
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Does Family Health Insurance Have a Waiting Period?
As we mentioned before, most health insurance policies have a waiting period. Similarly, family health insurance does have a waiting period as well. There will be an initial waiting period of at least 30 days based on your insurance provider. Furthermore, a waiting period might be applicable to certain treatments or benefits that you must complete to start availing them.
Types of Waiting Periods
There are different types of waiting periods that you must know about while purchasing health insurance plans for family:
Initial Waiting Period
The initial waiting period is the time that you will have to wait before using the insurance benefits. This duration begins from the policy inception and may range between 30 – 90 days, depending on your insurance provider. However, in the event of accidental injuries, you can raise an insurance claim!
Pre-Existing Disease Waiting Period
Policyholders are bound to have some pre-existing health conditions that were diagnosed before purchasing a health plan. Such ailments need to be disclosed to your insurance provider and might include hypertension, diabetes, asthma, etc.
If you suffer from any illnesses before buying insurance, you will have to wait for a pre-decided amount of time to seek any healthcare benefits under your policy. The insurer shall specify the waiting period for pre-existing conditions which may range between 1-4 years, so it is advised to avoid hiding your medical records from the insurance company.
Waiting Period for Specific Illnesses
Health insurance plans also have a waiting period for certain ailments or treatments that cannot be claimed before the duration is over. You shall find the extensive list of such diseases and treatments in your health policy document. This type of waiting period may range between 1-4 years.
Waiting Period for Maternity Benefit
Insurance providers offer a maternity benefit as an add-on cover while purchasing a health plan. Numerous pregnancy and childbirth expenses are included under the cover. But such an add-on also has a waiting period applicable and hence, you must plan accordingly. The waiting period for a maternity benefit may range between 1-3 years, so ensure you buy the cover when you are ready to start a family after a few years.
With this, we hope you have understood what the waiting period is in health insurance. Apart from the types of waiting periods mentioned above, there could be others as well. This is why it is recommended to thoroughly read your insurance policy documents. Most health plans come with a free-look period. So, make the most of it and compare various plans based on coverage, exclusions, benefits and applicable waiting period. Failing to do so may result in claims that fall under the exclusions of your policy and lead to unnecessary out-of-pocket expenses.