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Waiting Period In Health Insurance Explained

Published On Oct 15, 2020, Updated On Oct 15, 2020

What is the Waiting Period in Health Insurance ?

Choosing an appropriate health insurance policy is a savior in times of crisis. With the rising cost of healthcare, it can at times become difficult to afford the huge amount of hospital bills, especially in cases of critical or sudden ailments. Thus, health insurance at such times makes it a little easier.  While owning a health insurance plan makes the process of claiming insurance easy and hassle-free. It is wise to know about the waiting period of a particular health insurance policy before purchasing that. The amount of time you must before the entire coverage of the policy is in effect varies from company to company. Therefore, you must check if you are comfortable with the waiting period of an insurance plan before buying it. 

What is The Waiting Period In a Health Insurance Plan? 

It is not possible to buy a health insurance policy and claim benefits on the following day. You’ll have to wait for a certain period to claim the insurance benefits from the company. Every insurance policy comes with a waiting period which forms a very important and significant aspect of it. This is the reason, the terms and conditions of a particular policy are important and advised to be read. 

The term ‘waiting period’ refers to the time period after you purchase a policy when the insurance company won’t be able to process any claim. Even if there is any medical emergency in the waiting period, the insurer reimburse you anything because the policy coverage will take effect after the waiting period. In simple words, the company will give you coverage and the policy benefit after the waiting period has been over.    
There are different types of waiting periods for different cases. You must know that your insurer is the last one to determine the waiting period for claim settlement. Let’s know about different types of waiting periods. 

Types of Waiting Period

There are more than one type of waiting period in the health insurance domain and they are listed below:

1. Initial Waiting Period

Every insurance policy comes with an initial waiting period which ranges from 30 to 90 days. During this period, no insurance cover is provided for hospitalization charges or medical bills. The duration of the initial waiting period is different for each insurance company.

2. Pre-Existing Diseases

Generally, every health insurance company acquires its clients about their pre-existing diseases before selling a policy. In case if you have a pre-existing disease like- diabetes or high blood pressure, the company will ask you for undergoing medical tests. Afterward, the company will set a waiting period based on your medical reports. If you get diagnosed with any disease in that waiting period and get hospitalized, you won’t get any reimbursement. 

3. Disease-Specific Waiting Period

Almost every health insurance company has set waiting periods of 1-2 years for some specific diseases. The list of these diseases generally include diseases are- tumor, hernia, osteoporosis, ENT disorders and many more. An insured can check the list of such specific diseases and waiting periods in the terms and conditions paper. It is highly advisable to get information about the disease-specific waiting periods before having a contract with your insurer. 

4. Maternity Waiting Periods 

Maternity covers generally come with a waiting period of 2-3 years..  As the waiting period of a maternity insurance policy is longer than other ones, people are advised to buy that as soon as possible. 

5. No Waiting Period for Life-Threatening Diseases

In case of sudden life-threatening diseases like- heart attack, stroke or accidental injury, there is no waiting period. These conditions are regarded as emergency conditions and the insured will be able to claim the benefits as soon as possible. Unlike other waiting periods, there is no waiting period in such an emergency condition. 


The waiting period is very crucial for each consumer in terms of getting a claim. Before you buy a particular policy, you must know about the waiting period to get your claims. It is crucial in helping you to get the most out of your insurance policy.

Disclaimer: This article is issued in the general public interest and meant for general information purposes only. Readers are advised not to rely on the contents of the article as conclusive in nature and should research further or consult an expert in this regard.

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