Group Health Insurance Waiting Period

  • Author :
  • TATA AIG Team
  • Published on :
  • 14/03/2024

Individuals who are trying to strive for a modern yet healthy life balance turn to health insurance policies. When it comes to the uncertainty of one's future in terms of medical emergency and potential financial loss, one likes to be as prepared as possible. Medical insurance plans are one such step of preparation.

Most of the medical insurance policies- both individual as well group health insurance may have a waiting period before you take advantage of the coverages or the policy. The waiting period in health insurance is a temporary phase wherein, even while owning an insurance policy, the accessibility to the policy benefits, such as insurance claims, is limited.

The waiting period for your group health insurance can change the way you navigate through the policy, and hence, understanding the functioning of this concept is necessary.

About Group Health Insurance Policy

Group health insurance is a way to provide financial assistance during medical emergencies to a group of people, mostly employees. This insurance model is different from the individual insurance policies. In group health insurance, the employer is the policyholder and the employees are the ones who benefit from it. The policy may also extend benefits to the employees’ families, convalescence expenses, maternity costs, etc.

Waiting Period For Group Health Insurance

The waiting period in a health insurance policy refers to a specific time period starting from the day of the policy’s commencement to its activation. During this allotted time, the policyholder does not have the right to enjoy all or some of the benefits mentioned in their policy. These may include claims or cashless hospitalisation for medical requirements, specific treatments, or other such medical situations.

The duration of this waiting period differs based on the insurance provider and the type of plan selected. Usually, in the context of group health insurance, the waiting period ranges from 30 to 90 days after purchasing the insurance policy.

However, it is also important to note that many group health insurance policies do not require the insured (employee) to serve any waiting period. This means the employee gets coverage in a group health policy from day 1 of joining the organisation. Furthermore, if the employee leaves the organisation and converts the group plan into an individual health insurance plan, then the waiting period has to be served.

There are different types of waiting periods available for different cases. Let us understand these types!

Types Of Waiting Periods in Health Insurance

Initial Waiting Period in Health Insurance

When a person purchases an insurance policy, they have to wait until the policy is fully activated for them to access it. The amount of time they have to wait from the commencement of the policy in order to raise a claim or enjoy other benefits is called the initial waiting period.

This type of waiting period is applicable to most policies.

Pre-Existing Condition Waiting Period In Health Insurance

When an insured individual has a pre-existing condition, i.e., a health condition that the individual suffers before purchasing the insurance policy, a waiting period may be applicable. The pre-existing condition waiting period is usually longer than the other types of waiting periods since the chances of raising a claim are higher.

Many insurance providers offer add-ons that wave off waiting periods for pre-existing diseases. Hence, in such cases, health insurance for pre-existing conditions can have no waiting period.

Critical Illness Waiting Period in Health Insurance

Getting diagnosed with critical illness is not very rare these days. These illnesses include heart attacks, strokes, cancers, brain tumours, organ failure, etc. Every insurance company has a list of such critical illnesses, and the waiting period depends on various factors like your health condition, policy terms, etc.

Generally, the waiting period for critical illnesses is 90 days. This means, the policyholder can raise a claim for treatment only after 90 days of buying the policy.

Specific Waiting Period in Health Insurance

The specific waiting period refers to the waiting period that is applicable to individuals with a specific type of health condition. Most group health insurance policies have a different clause for such insured individuals.

There is a list of diseases or health conditions that need heavy compensation, and hence, to safeguard the financial well-being of the insurance company and the other employees from the group, the waiting period is usually long.

The waiting period for specific diseases or conditions is generally 2-4 years. The insured individual can raise a claim for treatment once this time period has passed.

Zero-Waiting Period in Health Insurance

As the name suggests, a zero-waiting period directly translates to no waiting period applicable. Many group health insurance policies do not require employees (or the insured) to serve any waiting period. This is one of the key advantages of group health insurance policies.

Importance Of A Waiting Period

The first and foremost reason for waiting periods is that it works as a risk management strategy for insurance providers.

The waiting period also balances the risk profile of the group’s insurance pool in order to maintain sustainability and balance.

It also helps the policyholders ensure distributed and mitigated usage of the coverage, preventing sudden surges of claims.

Apart from that, the waiting period strategy also encourages long-term commitment and a perspective that medical insurance is a continuous and ongoing arrangement.

Insurance companies have to maintain their financial health, and waiting periods help them do it with ease.

Tata AIG Group Health Insurance

Buy Tata AIG’s group insurance for employees and enjoy the facility to avail of the coverage from the 1st day of the policy. Yes! Tata AIG gives you an option of coverage from day 1. This means you can enjoy policy benefits without serving a waiting period.

Opting for insurance for your company under Tata AIG’s SME insurance offers various benefits. Apart from a high claim settlement ratio and a variety of insurance for corporations, it provides great coverage with valuable add-ons. All of this at an affordable premium!

Ending Note

The waiting period is the safety door for all the insurance providers, ensuring the long-term commitment to premiums and coverage. As a policyholder, you must strive to understand this concept of waiting period. That way, you can be aware of the waiting period of your policy and make the most of it while making decisions.


Do waiting periods apply to all types of medical treatments?

The initial waiting period is applicable according to the mentioned clauses in your policy, and it is usually present for all the policies. Apart from that, there are only specific illnesses and conditions that have excessive waiting periods.

Can waiting periods be reduced?

Yes, waiting periods can be reduced by paying an extra premium. Moreover, group health plans usually do not have waiting periods.

Disclaimer / TnC

Your policy is subjected to terms and conditions & inclusions and exclusions mentioned in your policy wording. Please go through the documents carefully.

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