When it comes to renewing your health policy, there will be a lot to think about. There will be paperwork involved, renewal deadlines and plenty of other things that you’ll need to make a decision on. To help you understand what to consider before the renewal date approaches, we’ve prepared this article to help explain what you’ll need to know and the tips you should follow to help you get the best renewal of your global health policy.
Here are 5 top tips for renewing your global health policy:
1- Research what cover you will be receiving
So to start off with an easy one, the first point to remember is that you must do your research. Remember to compare and consider all of the costs involved in your renewal and be sure to ask the right questions before making a decision on which plan to go with.
The health insurance provider will need to show you exactly what is covered by your plan when you are renewing your policy. At renewal, this is a good time to reflect on your plan and consider what is included in your cover.
Typically, your international health insurance plan will include:
• The ability to select which medical facility or hospital you visit
• Access to 24-hour emergency support
• Emergency evacuation support
• Prescription benefits if you purchased out-patient care
How it works is that you’ll be given the option to add selected add ons to your plan for extra money. Different companies offer different ones, but they could usually include things such as:
• Vision care
• Dental care
• Repatriation & evacuation
• Maternity coverage with a standard 12-month waiting period – if you plan to get pregnant, see if you can add this coverage as an uninsured maternity can be quite expensive.
Think about whether or not you need any of these before you complete your renewal. If you need them, then go for it. But remember you’ll be charged more for them.
Likewise, you might also decide that your current policy doesn’t include enough coverage and you might want to include additional benefits instead.
2- Consider the process involved
The good news is that the process involved in renewing your global health policy can be relatively straightforward. Nowadays, a lot of it is done online and most global health insurance companies will have this option.
For example, many companies will provide automatic renewals. This means that if you decide to stick with your plan you won’t have to do anything, and your cover will be renewed automatically for another 12 months. But remember to update your information with the insurance company as many insured nomads lose their coverage because they forgot to update their credit card or email information.
Typically, the process will start off with the health insurance company letting you know when your renewal date and then they’ll let you know what the process will involve. The policy is renewed once all parties are involved and, happy and in agreement & payment is made. Note that you are responsible for providing prompt payment for your policy.
3- Review any changes to your policy
It is worth bearing in mind that your health insurance policy might change during the year, and the coverage that is included in your policy might now be different. The medical benefits you have one year might not always be the same the next year.
For example, you might decide that some of the benefits you are paying for are no longer necessary. During the past year, if you were lucky, you may not have made any claims on your insurance plan. The number of claims you’ve made on your policy will have an impact on the price you pay on your renewal. So, it is always worth checking this when it comes to your renewal.
4- Think about any changes in your circumstances
It is very important for policyholders to reflect on their personal circumstances. Perhaps in the past year, you have moved to a new country, got married or maybe had a baby, and all of these things will have an impact on your policy. Yes, it is possible to add your new partner to your individual global medical plan, but like most plans, there will be medical underwriting to add them to your policy. Note that in our experience global medical providers will allow a spouse or partner who is the same gender as their partner – as they should.
If you plan to have a child in the near future, make sure you add maternity coverage if you don’t have it already and remember that individual plans have a 12 month waiting period for pregnancy if the policy covers pregnancy – this can’t be waived. Only a group policy can cover existing pregnancies.
Another point to consider is that if you’ve had a serious accident or health condition in the past 12 months – if you have developed a pre-existing medical condition covered by your existing expat health plan, be very careful about moving to another insurer as that provider will require medical underwriting and there is a very good chance you may be declined or have an exclusion.
Be sure to check with your insurer in advance of your renewal date. Another thing that might change is your financial situation. You could end up paying extra money that might now be out of your budget, so it is best to consider this when you are going through your renewal.
You should also make sure you advise the insurer of a change in residence as this has a big impact on your premium and coverage – your country of residence is where you live abroad the most during the year or plan to live abroad. Note that if you return to your home country, almost all ex-pat policies are no longer renewable.
5. Get support to make an informed decision
Remember if you are not sure what to do, it is best to ask for help. Seek the assistance of your health insurance company during the renewal process if you aren’t sure of what to do. But also feel free to contact us to discuss your renewal & ask for a revised renewal if the increase is above what you might expect. Note that insurance premiums increase as you age, and health insurance inflation is around 9 to 12% year in and year out. Asking the insurer for a concession doesn’t cost you anything, as the worst they can do is refuse.
Remember to plan ahead of time and don’t leave it too late. You should proactively contact your health insurer, don’t wait until they get in touch with you.
If you leave it too late, it might mean that you miss out on the chance to explore a change of provider. It is always worth making a comparison of the plans that are available to you. There’s no harm in shopping around, BUT if you have developed a pre-existing condition that is covered by your existing policy, we would not recommend changing insurers as the new provider will probably rate your premium, decline to cover you and exclude this medical condition.
How Can Expat Financial help Global Citizens become Insured Nomads?
Expat Financial is a division of TFG Global Insurance Solutions Ltd., which is an insurance brokerage that specializes in providing global insurance plans for people who live abroad as global nomads or expats. We have helped many of our clients with their renewal process and have been able to advocate for them with the insurer, sometimes obtaining discounts. There’s no charge for having us on your side and as your agent – same premium and coverage regardless. It is our valued added support pre and post-policy that really sets us apart – this includes assisting in a claims dispute.
Also note there is no cost to having us act as your agent or broker of record for your international health plan – the cost is the same regardless and we can also often obtain significant discounts from the insurance providers because of the large block of business that we have in this space. All your premiums and claims are still direct with the insurance provider.
If you are an expat and want excellent service before and after you purchase your international health insurance plan at no cost to the you!