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What you need to know about the Waiting Period

Wait periods in health insurance

Mr. Abiola bought a health insurance plan for himself and his pregnant wife and was very happy with his decision. Considering the cost of antenatal, maternal care, and delivery, he believed that buying a health insurance plan would help him save money.

However, little did he know that every health insurance plan comes with a defined ‘waiting period’. Three months after he bought the plan, his wife was about to give birth. Unaware of the waiting period in his family’s health insurance plan, his wife was admitted to the hospital and she gave birth to a baby boy.

He was shocked and disappointed when he was informed that his health insurer would not cover the cost of maternal care for his wife and had to bear all the medical expenses.

What is a waiting period?

As the name implies, the waiting period is the amount of time you need to wait before you can use a service. In health insurance, it refers to the amount of time you need to wait, from the start of your plan, to be able to use all its benefits. Think of it as ordering an uber taxi; it takes a while to arrive. Similarly, once you buy a health insurance plan, you need to wait for a while before the coverage kicks in. Your wait period varies depending on your chosen plan type, the level of coverage, etc. It can range from a few days to over a year to unlock some benefits.

Why Is There A Waiting Period For Health Insurance?

Health plans have waiting periods because insurance companies want to make sure there are no malpractices by other subscribers. For example, a subscriber might buy a plan just hours before making a claim and expect their health plan to pay for all their medical expenses. Health plans include a waiting period to prevent such malpractices. If measures like this are not put in place, one subscriber may use up the pool of funds meant for all subscribers.


When you calculate the premium you pay and the claim payouts done, the premium is always a lot lesser. So, either way, a health insurance plan is always bound to save you money, even with the waiting periods present.

We hope you understand the concept of the waiting period in health insurance. This would also guide you in choosing the best health insurance plan for you, your family, and your staff.

If you have any questions about wait periods or any other clause on any of our health plans that needs clarification please check out our Frequently Asked Questions or send us a Whatsapp message. We are always happy to help

Dr Chris Agape

Dr Chris Agape

Hi, I'm Chris Agape. I help health-tech startups leverage clinical principles for success. I help NGOs run successful programs. I’m a medical Doctor with a focus on using technology as a tool to achieve SDGs around health access and universal coverage I specialize in model and system development, growth and smooth roll out of equitable and innovative health services including technology-driven and traditional public health programs I have certifications in Health Management, development, and policy from the University of Washington and Havard University amongst others, and am a member of the young professionals in public health and an alumnus of the West African Academy of Public Health. Current interests are in health technology and health policy development across the African continent I am skilled in Public Speaking, Leadership, and Management

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