No age restriction for health insurance now — what this means for premiums and waiting periods

In a landmark move, IRDAI has removed the age limit of 65 years for individuals buying health insurance policies. This marks a departure from the conventional constraints that limited individuals in securing comprehensive coverage. CNBC TV18 spoke to several experts for their take on the policy shift and its implications.

The recent decision by the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) to eliminate age restrictions on health insurance policies marks a shift in the nation's insurance landscape.

While this move promises increased accessibility to comprehensive healthcare coverage for individuals of all ages, it prompts questions regarding implications on premiums and waiting periods.

Rupinderjit Singh, Vice President, Retail Health, ACKO, shed light on the impact of this decision on old-age policyholders.

While existing policyholders remain unaffected, Singh emphasised the emergence of more options for customers looking to port from their current covers to more comprehensive ones.

However, concerns arise regarding waiting periods, with Singh noting IRDAI's mandate to cap waiting periods at a maximum of three years from the current four years.

"This adjustment is expected to prompt most insurers to increase the cost of insurance by 10-15% across the board," Singh told

Regarding considerations for senior citizens purchasing policies post-age limit removal, Singh advised a careful evaluation of policy details.

Customers should opt for comprehensive coverage with minimal or no waiting periods, particularly if they have no existing medical conditions.

For those with pre-existing health issues, Singh recommended comparing offerings from multiple insurers to optimise coverage and insurance costs.

Anuj Parekh, Co-Founder and CEO at Bharatsure, highlighted insurers' perspective on catering to the 65+ age bracket.

While IRDAI's move fosters inclusivity, Parekh acknowledged potential challenges for insurers in offering favourable terms to older demographics.

"Pre-existing conditions prevalent in this age group prompt insurers to evaluate policy profitability and sustainability meticulously," he said.

He suggested that individuals may find it advantageous to retain employer-offered health insurance, where competitive premiums and favourable policy conditions are more likely.

Sumit Bohra, President of Insurance Brokers Association of India (IBAI), emphasised the need for insurers to innovate and penetrate the underserved senior citizen health insurance market.

He suggested product modifications such as reduced waiting periods for pre-existing conditions or graded claim payouts to enhance coverage adequacy for this demographic.

Sharad Mathur, Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer, Universal Sompo General Insurance Company, anticipated improved access to healthcare services.

Siddharth Singhal, Business Head — Health Insurance,, emphasised that the removal of age restrictions paves the way for more senior citizens to obtain comprehensive health coverage.

Singhal reassured that standard terms and conditions, such as waiting periods, remain consistent for all policyholders.

However, he urged individuals to carefully review policy details, including factors like room rent capping, co-payment requirements, and sub-limits on specific treatments.

Rakesh Jain, CEO of Reliance General Insurance, echoed Singhal's sentiment.

He anticipated that this decision would stimulate innovation in insurance products tailored to diverse age groups' needs.

However, Jain cautioned that insurers must adapt their underwriting practices to effectively manage the increased risks associated with insuring older demographics.