IRDAI scraps age limit on health insurance purchase

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New Delhi: The insurance regulator IRDAI has removed the age limit of 65 years for individuals buying health insurance policies to widen the market and foster adequate protection from healthcare expenses. This marks a significant departure from the conventional constraints that limited individuals in securing comprehensive coverage.

By abolishing the maximum age restriction on purchasing health insurance plans, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) aims to foster a more inclusive and accessible healthcare ecosystem, ensuring adequate protection against unforeseen medical expenses.

As per the earlier guidelines, individuals were allowed to purchase a new insurance policy only till the age of 65. However, with the recent amendment, which has been effective from April 1, anyone, regardless of age, is eligible to buy a new health insurance policy.

In a recent gazette notification, IRDAI said, "insurers shall ensure that they offer health insurance products to cater to all age groups. Insurers may design products specifically for senior citizens, students, children, maternity, and any other group as specified by the Competent Authority."

Besides, insurers have been mandated to offer health policies to individuals with pre-existing medical conditions of any kind. Consequently, insurers are prohibited from refusing to issue policies to individuals with severe medical conditions like cancer, heart or renal failure, and AIDS.

According to the notification, insurers are allowed to offer premium payment in instalments for the convenience of policyholders. Travel policies can only be offered by general and health insurers, it said.

There is no limit on AYUSH treatment coverage. Treatments under systems like Ayurveda, Yoga, Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, and Homeopathy will receive coverage up to the sum insured without any cap, it said.

Policyholders with benefit-based policies can file multiple claims with various insurers, enhancing flexibility and options, it said. The proposed regulation seeks to handle the complaints and claims of senior citizens via a specialised channel, ensuring a more tailored and responsive approach to their requirements, it added. 

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