Lack of standardisation of policies is the biggest challenge that health
insurance portability will face when it comes into effect on 1 October

A few years ago, there was a lot of hue and cry over the need for a new identity card if one were to invest in the stock markets.The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) had come up with an identity card called Mapin, stipulating that investors carrying out transactions of over `1 lakh need to have this unique identity and without it they would not be allowed to transact.

I had some clients rushing in, obviously in a state of panic, carrying forms and asking for details about where to get this identity card made. I adopted a simple, wait and- watch approach that paid off when you look at those who rushed to get the card made because the new card neither found any takers,
nor was it of any use. With health insurance portability around the corner, some of my clients have been rushing in, asking which insurer they should shift to. We are tuned to assume that something new is bound to be good, and rarely do we realise the old adage—a known devil is better than an unknown angel. While I have been an early
adopter of new products and services, I would wait before giving my verdict on health insurance portability. In its current form, it is like the Indian cricket team—very strong on paper. But,the English summer tells a very different tale. The biggest challenge that portability faces is the lack of standardisation in policies, which paves the way for transfer among unequals. Suppose a person who is insured with company X has a `2-lakh policy with `50,000 cumulative bonus and he decides to shift to insurer Y. Will he get a cover for `2.5 lakh or `2 lakh with `50,000 accrued bonus? What if insurer Y has no policy for a cover lower

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