There’s a popular saying “Good things come to those who wait”. This surely holds true in the case of health insurance plans where people would need to wait for a certain period before certain benefits are made available. This kind of ruling in most cases is sometimes being misunderstood or being the less appreciated feature in a health insurance policy.
What are waiting periods?
This is basically a period before which certain benefits under your health insurance coverage can be activated. What this means is that waiting periods are applied to different elements of your health insurance plan, the most common ones being pre-existing conditions, specific ailments and/or optional benefits.
Pre-existing conditions: You may have past or present conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart diseases etc which are considered to be pre-existing conditions. The waiting periods for these could range anywhere from 1 to 2 years varying from insurer to insurer and some cases may be excluded altogether. This means you can be covered for these or any illness related to this after you have served the applicable waiting period.
Specific Ailments: Some insurers have a list of ailments that they would apply a waiting period on, examples of these would be HIV/AIDS, psychiatry or psychotherapy, congenital conditions etc.
Optional benefits: These refer to additional covers such as maternity, dental, optical etc which you can choose to include in your health insurance plan. Maternity waiting periods are usually between 10 months to a year whereas dental and optical range from 6 to 9 months usually.
Why do Health Insurance Plans have a waiting period?
An insurance company will suffer a financial loss should you, the insured person need to claim due to unforeseen circumstances. It is therefore in their best interests to avoid such losses when it comes to claims that can be predicted or expected. By the same rule of thumb, waiting periods are applied to certain benefits to ensure that pre-existing conditions or specific ailments are not claimable under the policy for that period.