What is Waiting period in Health insurance plans?

Waiting period in Health insurance plansWhat is Waiting period in Health insurance plans?

Once you buy health insurance plans, such insurance plan may not be active immediately. There is, waiting period to become active and even it takes a few years to cover pre-existing diseases and maternity coverage. Many of the insured individuals who are buying health insurance plans are not aware of the waiting period in health insurance plan. In this article, I would detail about factors which would influence waiting period and various types of waiting periods.

What are the factors that would influence waiting period in a health insurance plan?

A waiting period in health insurance is influenced by several factors like Insurance type (Group health insurance, family floater insurance or individual health insurance, etc.), medical history of the insurer and insured age.

Also Read: How to pick-up a best health insurance policy in India?

What is waiting period in the health insurance plan?

There are three types of waiting periods in a health insurance plan. One is the waiting period where policy becomes active after you buy health insurance and second one is, waiting period for coverage of pre-existing diseases, third one is waiting period for maternity coverage.

1) Commencement of health insurance plan

Once you buy a health insurance plan, they would be effective only after 30 to 90 day period. This is called an initial waiting period. The period depends on an insurance company offering health insurance policy.  Some health insurance plans offer coverage of external injuries due to accident and hospitalization for a minimum of 24 hours during that period. Buying health insurance policies that have less waiting period from commencement date would be good.

2) Pre-existing disease coverage

Health insurance plans would cover pre-existing diseases after 2 years. Some insurance companies extend this to a minimum of 4 years. Means in case of pre-existing diseases the coverage would be only after 4 years of waiting period. You cannot claim any amount for treatment during such waiting period. This is common when a health insurance plan is offered for Senior Citizen. The pre-existing disease includes ENT problems, diabetes, hernia, hypertension, etc. which requires waiting period.

One of the example having less waiting period for coverage of pre-existing diseases is Star Health Senior Citizen Red Carpet covers pre-exisiting diseases from first year itself.

3) Maternity waiting period

Some of the health insurance plans covers maternity benefits. However they have waiting period of 9 months to 4 years period. If you are planning for child, you should consider taking maternity covered health insurance plan ahead of the time and not after conceiving.

Do you know that Religare Joy Health insurance covers maternity benefits with low waiting period of 9 months only.

How do you know about such waiting period?

In case you are planning to buy a health insurance plan, you can request insurance company for such details. If you already purchased a health insurance plan, you can refer the health insurance policy documents issued to you.

Also Read: LIC Launched new ULIP Plan – Should you invest?

How you can benefit from such waiting period in health insurance?

Choose a good health insurance plan and stick to the same insurance company for the long term to get coverage for any pre-existing diseases. Taking health insurance at an early stage can help you to stay longer with such insurance companies with lower premiums.

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What is Waiting period in Health insurance plans


  • Joseph

    Hi Suresh,

    Thanks for this article.

    My parents are both diabetic. My mother has chronic renal failure and is undergoing dialysis for the past 1 year. I had my employer’s health insurance (United India Insurance Co. Ltd) which covers all the medical expenses (Dialysis costs included).

    Are there any Retail Health insurance policies which both my parents can take?


  • b.k.vaghela

    thank you for such valuable and useful information.

  • Rajiv

    Dear Suresh,
    I always look forward to your honest and insightful analysis. May you please suggest a few of small cap shares that –in your opinion– we should consider to invest for 3-4 years horizon. Thanks in advance, Rajiv

  • Ramakrishna

    It is enlightening.Nobody/no analyst/advisor had till now told the Policy Holders about this.It surely is an eye-opener.

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