Insurance renewals can feel like a lot to take in. A month before your policy expires you’ll be bamboozled by paperwork and packages from your usually silent insurer letting you know what’s instore should you continue working with them. Most people, regardless of their satisfaction levels, tend to recommit to their old insurer without considering their needs, how their current plan has benefited them, and whether it’s sensible to check if the grass is greener on the other side.
Before rushing to sign any contract, consider these 5 tips while flicking through your new insurance policy.
Healthcare is your responsibility
Firstly, it’s imperative you remember that despite offering a service, your insurer won’t chase you for your renewal like any other business – the onus of renewing your policy is on you. It’s your healthcare and your responsibility. With it becoming a government mandate, there is the potential for this one-sidedness to change with insurers becoming more involved with renewals. Nevertheless, for the meantime, if you want to capitalize on staying on with your insurer you’ve got to get in contact with your broker or insurer a month before your insurance expires.
Review your life
Renewal periods are a time of reflection where you can review your current benefits, the cost of your premium, as well as the doctors and clinics in your network. Before you proceed with a renewal, consider if this plan is still relevant for you. Has a new illness cropped up? Are you into sports – and therefore, more likely to see an injury? Have you moved outside your usual network for clinics? It’s important to look back on the past year and seriously consider if your current benefits and coverage are working for you.
Understand what your old insurer is offering
In most cases, your renewal notice has information about how your plan will work in the upcoming year. If you’ve been hit by a new illness, or find yourself filling out more claim forms than your insurer would like, there’s a good chance your premium will go up. You’ll also need to review changes in your co-payment – the fixed amount for a covered service, paid by a patient to the insurance company before patient receives service from physician – or whether your out-of-pocket max number has increased or decreased. Another factor that’s important to check (but certain to change month-to-month in the UAE) are the hospitals and clinics in your network.
If you’ve decided to reinsure with the same provider, chances are there are some added benefits or new ones added through strategic partnerships and the like. Be sure to check out if your plan covers things like gym discounts, weight loss programs, free annual physical exams, discounts on eyewear, or dental.
If you’re content with your plan renewal and think that there are definite benefits to sticking with what they offer, give the ok to your insurance broker to go ahead with the plan, or contact your insurance company to renew. In some circumstances, you may not need to do anything – the renewal is automatic once you call and confirm.
However, if you’re looking for a change, or want to shop around for a different plan, there are a couple of things you can do, the easiest of which being research. Check online for comparison sites that gives you quotes on your select insurance plans. This will give you an idea of what’s out there and what you can get for your money. If you want more concrete information about the current insurance landscape, consult an expert like an insurance broker who will be able to weigh in on your decision and connect you with a more apt policy should they find yours lacking.
There are plenty of options and dozens of insurers and plans to pick from. The most important part is enrolling in a new plan prior to the first month you want to start your insurance coverage. So, if you are toying with the idea of a move from your current insurer, be an early bird and do your research before your current insurance policy runs out.
Tarek Bayaa, Chief Commercial Officer at Bayzat