Will you lose out if you change your plan?
As we age, and our interests and life circumstances change, it makes sense that our health insurance might need to change too. But is it that easy to switch a plan? There’s the issue of waiting periods and pre-existing conditions, for example. One common question is: Will I have to start all over? Or is there a way to change a plan without losing the level of coverage and the current benefits? The team at APRIL International tells us more.
Taking your group health insurance plan with you
If your employer currently covers the company through an international group health insurance plan, it’s possible that the plan offers portability for individuals. What that means is that it’s possible to transfer your policy from the group health plan to an individual one with the same benefits. This is especially helpful if you’re moving to a new country or even returning to your home country.
There is usually no break in coverage, offering two main benefits:
- You’re fully protected in between jobs or while moving.
- As the coverage is continuous, you won’t have any pre-existing condition exclusions like you would if you applied for a new policy. Any conditions you or your family may have developed will still be covered.
It’s important to double-check the kind of insurance plan your company has. Taking it with you could be a way to avoid losing your current benefits.
Can individuals change their insurance provider without losing coverage?
For individuals, it can be a bit more challenging. A time may come when a competing international health insurance plan offers you better benefits or pricing, but it may not cover health conditions you’ve developed while on your current plan.
However, there is a way to change your insurance provider without having your health conditions being considered as pre-existing conditions. Some insurance companies offer what is known as Continuous Personal Medical Exclusions (CPME). This means that the insurance company will allow you to switch from your current international health insurance policy while keeping the same overall coverage, which comes with the following benefits:
No break in cover
CPME allows you to schedule your change in plan so that as soon as your old plan ends, your new plan’s coverage starts. You’ll not be in any danger of having a period of time where you’re not covered.
Continued cover of pre-existing conditions
Even though you might be taking up a new policy, applying for CPME will allow you to carry over coverage of any existing conditions that you may have, regardless of whether or not your original plan was a full medical underwriting plan (FMU) or a moratorium plan.
No additional waiting periods
One aspect of an international health plan that can be frustrating to keep track of is the various waiting periods for certain benefits. Two such benefits that often carry waiting periods are maternity benefits and dental benefits. When carrying over your coverage to a new CPME plan, if you have already been insured longer than the waiting period on your previous plan, you won’t have to start the waiting period again. Some companies – APRIL International included – even give credit for partially completing the waiting period of your old plan. All you would have to do is complete your original waiting period to enjoy the benefits on your new plan.
No extra loading
Some insurance companies agree to cover certain pre-existing conditions by applying premium loadings. When changing insurance plans with CPME, you’ll maintain the same premium loadings you had on your old plan. This means you can maintain the same cover without a massive jump in price.