What is the waiting period on a health insurance policy?
The waiting period on a health insurance policy is the amount of time indicated in a health insurance policy before health care benefits begin after the enrollment date. When you take out a health insurance policy, you may have to wait a period of time before certain or all benefits are covered. For example, you might enroll on January 9th, but your benefits don’t begin until March 1st. The time between January 9th and March 1st is the waiting period. This means benefits will not be paid out for health care during this period of time.
The waiting period is used to protect insurance companies from people who might file a large claim just after enrolling, and then cancel their health insurance coverage immediately after the claim is filed.
Each insurance company and each policy has varying waiting periods. Normally, the standard waiting period is a few weeks to three months. However, if there is a pre-existing condition or you are considered high-risk, then the waiting period is longer.
A pre-existing condition is defined as having a medical condition for which you have received medical advice, diagnosis, care or treatment before you signed up for health insurance coverage. The standard length of medical history insurance companies consider is six months prior to your enrollment, but again, each company and policy has different requirements. This means you may have limited health insurance benefits or not any benefits during the waiting period. The waiting period for a pre-existing conditions can vary from one to eighteen months.
It is important with any health insurance policy to understand the waiting period restrictions. If you have had previous uninterrupted health insurance coverage, sometimes the waiting period can be reduced or eliminated depending on the previous coverage and the terms of the new health insurance policy.