Give forgetful senior citizens an option to renew medical insurance beyond 30 days.

Give forgetful senior citizens an option to renew medical insurance beyond 30 days.

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Udayachandran C P started this petition to National Human Rights Commission and

A medical insurance is an indispensable gear these days to protect one against spiralling medical costs. It is more an essential tool to seniors on the wrong side of age.

 


While taking a policy is itself a pain for people above the age of 50’s, it is all the more so if one is a known case of chronic or hereditary illnesses or a person with PED’s, as insurers put it. Though, ideally, insurance is better taken at a younger age when entry is smooth and easy, a large number of seniors take medical insurance only late in life due to ignorance or financial reasons. 

 


After taking a medical insurance, its unbroken renewal is of prime import. Unlike other insurance policies, a medial policy has certain specific entitlements once the policyholder crosses certain waiting periods, which is lost if the renewal is not done in time. One has to start from scratch all over again and cross those time barriers once more to be qualified to avail those entitlements called “PED benefits”.  Suffice to say that forgetting a renewal can be costly and painful. One is extended a window period of 30 days from expiry date to renew with continuity of all benefits, in case renewal is not done before policy expiry, by any chance. 

 


The insurer does not run any risk in not sending official reminders to an insured to renew a policy. The risk is purely that of the policyholder.  Non-renewal of medical insurance beyond thirty days will strip the insured of all benefits of continuity, if the policy holder approaches the insurer for similar cover after expiry of policy. S/he may have to undergo the trauma of all medical screening too for a fresh cover. 

 


Although it is not mandatory on the part of the insurer, a renewal notice could have been helpful, especially to senior customers. Memory lapses for persons on the wrong side of 60’s is a natural and normal fact of life.  No sensible soul, especially a senior, will leave out intentionally a medical insurance renewal, since getting a new one is impossible for seniors and a new one, if at all available, comes invariably with a lot of restrictions at least for the first few years and with loaded premium costs.

 


An extended window period for renewals is indeed called for here, as a missed out renewal can result in NO insurance protection ever being available to a senior citizen for the rest of their lives.

 


To compound the issues, the COVID-19 pandemic has triggered massive disorder and upheavals in human life. It has compounded the senior-specific issues with no opportunities for the geriatric population for social contact and activities. Inability to venture outdoors for fear of vulnerability is making a mess of them mentally, and leaves each one miserable and unsteady. While the frequent lockdowns and curfews caused a deep upset in normal lives, the seniors were left isolated and affected much sharper. 

 


Allow me to present a request for two important changes in the renewal of medical insurance:

A notice to the insured in the registered mail id or physical location by registered post must be a part of the protocol to follow by the insurance company. A follow up notice 14 days after expiry of the policy is essential  for the senior citizens. 
Draw out a plan for renewal of the lapsed medical insurance with standard protocols, at least up to period up to 180 days after expiry. Like, if it is renewed after 30 days but within 1/2/3/4/5/6 months, the policy may confer only 50% of benefit-limit for all  PEDs noted in the policy, for the first 2/4/6/8/10/12 months of the renewed policy period. Alternatively, a loading of 10%/20%/30% of premium be additionally charged for the delay up to 2/4/6 months respectively. 

 

Not allowing expired policies to continue will inflict a serious setback to normal life of policyholders, key among them the seniors, who missed out renewal unwittingly. Denying renewal of a medical policy within a reasonable period is tantamount to forcing an individual to live without any medical insurance protection and especially so for seniors at a wrong side of their age. 

 


Concessions and extended window periods are offered for many activities including IT returns and KYC compliances during the pandemic. But no such concession is thought of for medical insurance renewals missed out.   That this special dispensation is denied to such an important facet of protection is brutal and inhuman, especially in the background that government support for medical treatment is absent for a huge segment of population.

 


Denying renewal of medical policies after 30 days is a violation of human right to live with dignity, with medical insurance protection denied to policyholders who failed to renew with no intent to discontinue cover. If not for all, the provision to renew above 30 days’ break may at least be extended to the seniors. This will offer seniors a lot of comfort in their old age, which is when forgetfulness plays havocs in life. My appeal is to deem such denial as denial of human rights, especially a matter of such import to the seniors of the country.

 


This matter is placed for consideration of the National Human rights Commission and honourable Supreme Court  of India for fear that the Industry acting as a cartel may not heed to a request which is not not in their interests and the currently head-less Regulatory Body under the Department of Financial Services (Ministry of Finance) may not be in a position to act promptly.

0 have signed. Let’s get to 2,500!
At 2,500 signatures, this petition is more likely to get picked up by local news!