Are you sure you’ve picked the right health insurance plan? Here are some important things to consider…
Health has been on a lot of our minds lately and we all want to make sure that we’re covered if (knock on wood) we were to fall ill – but how do we make sure we’ve picked the right health insurance plan?
In an ideal world, we would all like to be able to walk into any clinic or hospital in the world, flash a card and be able to have all costs covered without having so much as a form to fill in. For many of us, this will never be more than a pipe dream. And even if you did come across such a plan, it would be terribly expensive!
Buying a health plan is certainly not a small investment, but it doesn’t have to be huge and you can get just what you need if you know what to look for. Here are some important things to consider when picking the best health insurance plan for you.
Area Of Cover
The geographical area of cover is generally worldwide, however, we recommend excluding any elective cover in the United States as a a good way to reduce the cost of your health insurance. Healthcare in America is ridiculously overpriced. By leaving it out of your plan, that doesn’t necessarily mean you wouldn’t be covered if you were in the States, rather, it just prevents you from going over to the US for surgery. Asia-only policies generally cover elective treatment done in Hong Kong and a number of Asian countries, this is a more budget-friendly option.
Inpatient And Outpatient
One thing worth looking at is whether your plan covers pre and post-op care. In the past, when I’ve had to have an operation, I needed to see specialists before and after for a check-up or to discuss my surgery. Make sure that these will still be covered even if they don’t take place in a hospital.
Deductibles And Excess
A deductible, or excess, is a predetermined amount that your insurance company will ask you to pay towards any claim that you make. In general, it would mean that you will be paying the lion’s share for day-to-day doctor visits and smaller operations, but when it comes to larger more expensive operations, it would be covered by your insurer. This is a way to get some insurance that tops up what your company may provide you. It’s important to note that many policies include an excess, but not every policy has the same level of excess.
Dental And Maternity
These are the major add-ons that can really rack up the cost of your health insurance plan. Dental cover for day-to-day cleaning and the odd filling is relatively affordable. It is unlikely that root canals or full braces would be covered by your health insurance, unless it is very comprehensive.
We are very lucky to have excellent public maternity cover in Hong Kong, and if you are happy to be treated and give birth at a public hospital, it can also be quite cheap. (We managed to pay for the birth of our son with our Octopus card!) When planning to start a family, a lot of people check and increase their coverage to ensure that any pregnancy complications are covered, on top of the the labour and delivery process. Be careful, though, as most policies require you to have had a maternity plan in place for at least 9 months or a year prior to falling pregnant.
Got You Covered
Health insurance can be complicated and intimidating, there is a whole range of plans to choose from and many companies will word their policies differently. If you need help finding the right plan for you, you could go to a private healthcare provider like BUPA, but they will only be able to sell you their own products.
Alternatively, you can seek the advice of an agent who can look at the whole market for you or speak to a holistic adviser like myself, who will consider your financial situation, determine your needs and recommend the best options for you.