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When to Change Health Insurance Plans

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A health insurance plan is like a good winter coat. It offers protection and is something that just about every Canadian should have. But sometimes winter coats can shrink in the wash and no longer fit you properly, or they just don’t suit you anymore. Likewise, health insurance can be outgrown.

Sometimes life takes us in different directions and we have to adapt. Our needs change over time. The insurance plan you bought ten years ago may have been perfect for you at the time, but now you may need something different.

If you’re thinking of updating your existing health insurance plan, there are several things to consider.

Adding or Removing a Spouse

Let’s say you already have a health benefit plan for yourself and you get married. You would only have single coverage, but adding a spouse would require a couple plan. This new plan will likely cost more per month, but then your spouse would have the same coverage as you.

One thing to consider is that if your spouse has a group plan of their own, it might improve your coverage. Where applicable, you may be able to claim expenses under your spouse’s plan and later claim the remaining amount on your own plan. This process is called “coordination of benefits” and may allow you to have full coverage for services that are covered under both plans.

Group plans always pay first, then the individual plan will reimburse afterwards. Remember, as soon as you marry, be sure to inform your insurance provider of the change in marital status.

Going in an opposite direction, if you divorce, you will need to remove your spouse from your plan, unless their coverage is part of the agreement. Once you remove your spouse, you can either keep your dependent plan for your children, or switch to a single plan for yourself only.

Health insurance can be flexible and tailored to your particular needs. There’s no reason to buy one plan and consider yourself stuck with it forever. Adding or removing dependents from an insurance plan are some of the most common reasons to change coverage, but there are others.

Having Children

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When you have kids, it should be a priority to have them added to your plan right away. Even babies get sick, so make sure they get coverage immediately. Most plans will cover dependent children up to the age of 21. After that, they may need proof of enrollment in a recognized college or university in order to be covered as a dependent. Group plans will typically cover dependent, full time students until they are 25.

If your child does not attend post-secondary school, or has graduated college or university, they will no longer be eligible under your plan. Depending on whether or not you have any younger children or a spouse, you may need to switch from a family plan to couple or single coverage.

Changing Jobs or Moving to Another Province

A lot of people have health insurance coverage through their employer, but over time, they may decide to change careers, or employers. If you had an existing plan, it’s recommended that you get a new plan within 60 to 90 days to ensure automatic eligibility.

What happens though, when you move to another province? Contact your insurance broker to bridge any gaps or to see how the move will affect your plan.

When Your Health Needs Change

Over the years you can find that your health insurance coverage slowly becomes inadequate. As you age, you may feel like you need more massages than before, and perhaps your coverage for paramedical services isn’t very robust.

You can always contact an insurance broker to go over your options with you. There are many plans to choose from, with different levels of coverage. If you are someone who relies on massage therapy or chiropractic care, you may want to find coverage with high maximums for those services.

No one intentionally becomes sick or gets injured, but having a health insurance plan in place can greatly reduce stress and headaches. If, all of a sudden, you find yourself in need of medication or a lot of expensive therapy, you won’t suffer financially, at least.

Maybe you’re quite healthy, and feel that you may not need quite as much coverage as you have. You may decide to switch to a plan with fewer benefits. (This may not be the most recommended course of action, but you do have the choice.)

If you find that the premiums you’re paying are too high, you can certainly discuss it with an insurance broker. You’d be surprised at what they can do! They may be able to help you find a comparable plan at a more affordable rate.

How to Change Plans

Before you make your decision, contact an insurance broker. They will be able to give you some advice on whether or not you should change your plan. They’ll go over your options with you and determine what type of coverage would suit your needs the best.

This isn’t territory that you want to traverse alone. There are many different things to consider when you decide to update your health insurance. How much coverage do you need? What services do you want coverage for? Are there services you don’t need?

An insurance broker can also help you find a great plan within your price range. They may even be able to find something better than you had envisioned. The point is, they are there to help you, and you should take full advantage of their expertise.

It’s not easy making choices on your own, so why worry? Give our office a call today and we can help you switch to a plan that will fit your needs better and won’t cost you an arm and a leg. Get in touch, and begin the process of improving your health insurance today!

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