Recent medical advances continue apace, with the result that human kind is able to cure more diseases than ever before in history. On the flip side however, the costs of medical treatment continue to increase at such a rate that none of us can afford to be without health insurance. To buy health insurance or renewing health insurance, there are several things that you as a policy holder should keep in mind:
Renew health insurance on time:
A health policy takes care of illness and disease by paying for hospitalization and incidental expenses. That protection remains for the duration of the policy and ceases at the end of the policy. Insurance companies may offer grace period of a few days beyond the expiration date of the policy (10 to 15 days grace period is the norm). However, to continue to enjoy uninterrupted protection, experts advise renewing a health insurance policy about 10 to 15 days before the date of expiry.
Check out other options:
At the time of health insurance renewal you have the option of porting your policy. If you find a health insurance policy that is cheaper, more comprehensive or has better features for your requirements you are free to port your policy from one to another insurance provider without losing benefits accrued to your policy. You can also do this if you find that your insurance company’s service is sub-par in any way or if you find that another company has a better claim settlement ratio. The insurance company cannot refuse to do this as per the law.
Expired health insurance will cost you:
For each claim-free insurance term, insurance companies offer no-claim bonuses at the time of renewal. These may be in the form of a discount on the premium or some free/ discounted additional feature in the renewed policy. Letting a policy expire deprives policyholders of these accrued benefits. Buying a new insurance policy could mean higher premiums and a fresh waiting period (after the purchase and before the policyholder can make a claim).
Consider a long-term policy:
Though health policies are typically of one year duration, some companies do offer two year policies. These obviate the need to renew the policy each year and lower chances of the policy expiring before renewal.
Consider health insurance riders:
Check out the terms and conditions of your existing policy before you renew health insurance. Consider whether you have adequate coverage in terms of inclusions as well as the total sum assured. Re-examine whether you need to renegotiate terms and acquire additional protection in the form of riders.
Review the terms of Renewing Health Insurance:
Check out various online health insurance options and consider whether you need to upgrade your existing policy. Some polices may offer more attractive features than others. It is a good idea to read the policy document thoroughly at the time of renewal.
Remember the company is bound to renew a health insurance policy:
Regardless of the claim(s) a policyholder makes in a given policy term, the insurance company is bound to renew health insurance. By law, the company cannot refuse to renew insurance for reasons such as advanced age or serious medical conditions of the covered individuals.
Contact an agent or company representative:
The terms and conditions of insurance policies can be confusing and full of technical sounding jargon. If you are uncertain about the type of insurance policy to buy, feel free to get in touch with the insurance company representative or agent to clarify any doubts you may have. In fact it is a good idea to make a list of doubts and questions you may have at the time that you buy health insurance and clarify these before you purchase your policy. This way you do not encounter any unwelcome surprises at the time of making a claim.
From the forgoing, the importance of uninterrupted health insurance coverage becomes obvious. If you are apprehensive that you will miss the date of renewal, mark the date for renewal on your calendar or set an alert on your phone. The last thing you want is for something to go wrong, only to find that you have expired health insurance!