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Helpful tips for renewing your medical insurance policy

Health insurance plans are almost always one-year contracts. Before the year is up, policyholders are generally contacted by the insurer, or broker, to remind them that their coverage is about to expire and begin discussions about renewing the plan. Missing the renewal deadline can see you without medical coverage, so it’s important to be mindful of your policy expiry date. This is also the best time for you to consider your benefits, plan, or insurer if you’ve had a change in circumstance.

Renewing your medical insurance policy is usually an easy process that can be handled by your insurer or broker, but the following tips in this Pacific Prime Hong Kong article can help you be better prepared when renewal time comes.

Individual Health Insurance Plans

What generally happens around renewal time?

There are two ways renewals can take place: You can opt for an auto-renewal or choose to review your coverage before you renew.


Auto-renewal is where you agree in advance to recommit to your health insurance plan at the end of the contract. This renewal method is easy and convenient: Your insurance provider or broker will simply issue you a letter of confirmation as proof that your coverage will continue for another annual period, and your selected method of payment (usually credit card) will be billed.

One important thing to be aware of here is that due to the nature of insurance, it’s highly likely that your insurance premium will increase upon renewal. It would therefore be a good idea to review your premium before your plan is automatically renewed.

Manual review at renewal time

If you opt to review your plan before renewing your medical insurance policy, you’ll be contacted ahead of the renewal date (the day at which your coverage will lapse) that your coverage is coming to an end. The exact length of time before the date that renewals must be submitted varies by insurer or broker, however Pacific Prime Hong Kong sends renewal notification at least one month before a plan’s renewal date to give you enough time to consider your options.

A manual review generally involves discussing your satisfaction with the plan and provider, your budget moving forward, and considering alternatives should your needs or wants call for a change. If you’re going direct through an insurer, you’ll need to be aware that they’ll only offer you advice and options for their own products – considering alternative providers will be something you’ll need to do on your own.

The renewals process

In a nutshell, here’s what you can expect when you opt not to auto-renew your policy:

  1. You’ll be notified in advance that your current health insurance coverage is about to end
  2. Your provider or broker will make direct contact to ask if you wish to renew your current plan
  3. If you opt to renew, you’ll have the plan benefits and new premium confirmed with you before you make payment
    1. If you wish to make changes to your plan or provider, you will go through a similar process to purchasing a new plan: Assessing needs, weighing up options, and negotiating the benefits and price of a new policy
  4. Once your plan is renewed, you’ll have your policy confirmation documents sent to you

How simple or complex the process ends up being largely depends upon you – if you’re happy to continue with your existing plan or only have some minor changes to make, it can be done quickly and easily. Where there are some significant issues or changes to be made, it may pay to begin the renewal process as quickly as possible to ensure that you have enough time to source a new plan or provider before your coverage lapses.

Handy tips to know before renewing your medical insurance policy

Whatever your decision will be when it comes to renewing your medical insurance policy, it is beneficial to think about how your past year has been and what your future needs are before you commit to another year. Here are some key questions that our own Pacific Prime Hong Kong advisors ask when we contact clients about renewals:

1. Are you happy with your current benefits?

When you sign up for a health insurance plan, you’re agreeing to exchange money for coverage of a set of benefits and annual limits. You might have a basic inpatient and outpatient plan, or you might have chosen a comprehensive insurance plan that includes vision, dental, and/or maternity benefits. Before you agree to renew a plan, you should always consider whether or not the types of benefits you have and the level to which they cover you for has been sufficient.

Some clients find that, after their first year, the level of coverage was too high (the amount of claims they made under a particular benefit might have been much lower than their annual limit allows for). This can be a place for introducing premium savings by reducing either benefits or the limits for the coming year. Others might have found that their plan was insufficient and may want to increase benefits for the coming year.

2. Is your current plan still within your budget?

Health insurance plans increase in cost year-on-year, as is evident in our yearly report on the rate of international insurance inflation. What’s a big concern for insurance consumers at renewal time is by just how much more their coverage will cost. Prices of health insurance policies can change for a number of reasons, and some or all of these might apply to your plan:

  • You’ve made a significant claim against your plan in the past
  • You’ve made a high number of claims against your plan in the past
  • Your personal circumstances have changed; e.g. you’ve moved up an age bracket
  • General consumer price inflation
  • Hospital and healthcare costs in your area/region have increased
  • Your insurer has had to make pricing adjustments to be more competitive in the market

With some plans, especially those that are cheaper in nature or offer lower levels of coverage, your own actions or circumstances can influence what you pay at renewal. Other drivers of premium increases, however, are completely out of your control. It’s important to understand why your prices have increased when renewing your medical insurance policy – especially if your budgeting circumstances have changed since you first bought the plan.

3. Do you have any changes in circumstances?

Renewal time is the right time to make changes to your health insurance plan, especially if your medical needs have changed. If you’ve recently identified that a medical condition runs in your family, including coverage for its treatment in your next policy might be a good idea. Or, perhaps you and your partner are thinking about starting a family. Adding maternity benefits early is always a sound plan to support not just a baby’s birth but also conception.

On the topic of new arrivals, it might be that you have recently married or had an elderly dependent move in with you. Adding people to your health insurance plan can be much easier when you do it at renewal time.

4. Are you happy with your current provider’s servicing levels?

People can sometimes be unhappy with their current provider for a number of reasons; it might be related to customer servicing and support, or due to issues around claims processing and timeliness. At renewal time, it’s important to consider whether or not you’ll be happy dealing with that provider or broker again for another year – or if you’d be better off finding a new one altogether.

If you are unsatisfied with the current service levels of your current provider, you will need to go through the process of finding a new one. If you have a broker you’re happy with but have been unimpressed with your insurance provider, your broker can help you find a new insurer that meets your medical and budget needs.

Why should you use a broker for your renewals process?

Auto-renewals and going direct to the insurer is fine, but a truly effective and useful renewals process means using an experienced broker like Pacific Prime Hong Kong. Why?

  • We can use our negotiating power to help you control costs and maintain coverage levels of an existing plan
  • We’ll happily search the market for better alternatives if your current insurer isn’t meeting your needs
  • Our extensive market knowledge can help you better determine what additional benefits you’ll need depending on your future plans or changing medical requirements
  • We have significant experience with the service offered by many insurance companies, and established relationships with many of the major, global players. This gives us leverage to help demand better service if need be.

We also have a dedicated Renewals team whose purpose is to ensure that you are supported when renewing your medical insurance policy. They’ll contact you in advance to let you know your renewal date, discuss with you any issues or changes you might need, and assist you throughout the process of renewing your existing plan or negotiating a new one.

Best of all, this service is completely free. Pacific Prime Hong Kong receives a commission only from the insurer for policies sold and renewed – you don’t need to pay us a thing to help you secure coverage again at renewal time. We do this as part of our commitment to simplifying insurance for our clients. Need help with your coming renewal? Contact the experts at Pacific Prime Hong Kong today!

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Content Strategist at Pacific Prime Hong Kong
Jessica Lindeman is a Content Strategist at Pacific Prime. She comes to work every day living and breathing the motto of "simplifying insurance", and injects her unbridled enthusiasm for health and insurance related topics into every article and piece of content she creates for Pacific Prime.

When she's not typing away on her keyboard, she's reading poetry, fueling her insatiable wanderlust, getting her coffee fix, and perpetually browsing animal Instagram accounts.
Jess Lindeman
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