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An essential step to lifelong health: long-term medical insurance

Thanks to technological advances and nutrient-rich diets, the average life expectancy of our generation is getting much longer. Yet, longer lifespans do not necessarily guarantee a better quality of life. This is especially true for those who have encountered serious accidents, or have developed a chronic condition that requires long term medical treatment. The last thing anyone wants is having to battle a disease and deal with hefty medical bills later in life.

The beauty of insurance is that it can transcend time and protect you from such financial difficulties – provided that you’ve secured a proper insurance policy early enough. It is no exaggeration to say that a stable long term health insurance policy is the best investment you can make when you are young.

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However, not necessarily all health insurance policies in the market can stand the test of time. While the right insurance plan can serve you for the rest of your life, an ill-fitting, unstable plan can leave you stranded with more problems.

With this in mind, Pacific Prime has released their latest Guide to Obtaining Long Term Health Insurance – 2018 to answer some commonly asked questions on this subject, such as:

  • Why should you purchase long term health insurance?
  • What is the downside of purchasing insurance policies in old age?
  • How do I identify long term health insurance that suits my needs?
  • How important is portability when considering long term health insurance?
  • Where do I find an insurer’s history of premium increases?

What is long term health insurance?

We define long term health insurance as the act of securing coverage with the view of maintaining it for a long period of time. Most insurers renew their policies annually, and policyholders can switch companies at the end of the policy year.

However, staying with the same insurer is usually the most cost-effective approach. This is because switching insurers frequently will in most cases cost you more as a policyholder in the long run.

Pre-existing conditions coverage

As mentioned above, the major downside to switching insurers too frequently is that any health conditions you have developed with the previous insurer will most likely be regarded as pre-existing by the new insurer, and thus excluded from coverage. Consequently, the policyholder will not be eligible to receive any reimbursement.

And even if you manage to find an insurer lenient enough to cover you, the plan will come with a loading, which means a higher premium. Moreover, you might need to devote extra time and money, and suffer from mental pressure in your quest of finding an insurer that will cover those conditions.

Ten criteria for finding the best long term health insurance

We’ve covered the importance of getting insured as early as possible, but there are also a number of other points worth noting as well. For example, in some cases, insurers might reject the policyholder’s renewal request due to expensive claims or new conditions developed during the policy period. This brings us to another important point – how to select quality long term health insurance.

  1. Benefits vs. price

Price should not be your sole concern as the cheapest plan is not necessarily the most cost-effective one. In fact, cheap health plans tend to be lacking in many areas, such as limited provider networks, low benefit limits, and many exclusions, in order to compensate for the ‘affordable’ premiums.

  1. Quality of customer service

While the scope of coverage is written in black and white in the policy terms and conditions, customer service is something you can experience only after joining the plan. Nevertheless, it is these tangible details that can make a world of difference, especially when it comes time to submitting a claim or requiring emergency support. Larger insurers are more resourceful, and are therefore more likely to provide better customer service.

3.  Is the insurance provider well recognized by hospitals?

If you are admitted to hospital, your insurer will issue a Guarantee of Payment (GoP) to ensure that they will settle your payment. But the hospital may reject the GoP if they deem the insurer untrustworthy.

4.  Who is the underwriter?

Underwriters evaluate the risks of potential clients and determine whether to insure them or not. Check to see who the underwriter is. A reputable underwriter can help you avoid problems further down the line, such as inability to renew your policy.

5. How long has the insurer been in the market?

Insurers with a longer history tend to be more sizeable and stable, and thus are less likely to run into profit issues.

6. Number of insured members

A large number of insured members can indicate that the insurer is more stable. This is because there is a larger pool to share the risks and defray the medical costs of the less healthy.

7. Portability of plans

Most international plans allow you to receive treatment in literally anywhere on the planet. Policyholders can also opt for higher quality medical facilities.

8. Premium increases at renewal

Some insurers might impose sudden, erratic premium hikes. Therefore, it is important to check out our recently released International Private Medical Insurance Inflation – 2018 report.

9. How does the insurer increase premiums?

While premium increases during policy renewal is somewhat inevitable, you should figure out what factors insurers will consider when increasing premiums. For instance, some less stable insurers might do so simply owing to the number of claims you have made previously.

10. How is the broker-insurer-customer relationship?

Bigger brokers, like Pacific Prime, can take advantage of their influence with insurers to streamline the claims process for their clients.

Download your guide to Long Term Health Insurance

As medical costs continue to rise, it stands to reason that you should secure a long term health insurance plan as early as possible. If you are also concerned about your future health and want to dig deeper into the subject, look no further. Our Guide to Obtaining Long Term Health Insurance – 2018 is your perfect read. It encompasses a wealth of useful information in an exhaustive, yet easy-to-digest way.

If you have any further questions, our team of specialists at Pacific Prime are always on hand to answer them. We possess 18+ years of experience in matching clients’ specific needs with the best insurance policies. Contact us today, and get a free quote and plan comparison!

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Anthony Chan

Content Creator at Pacific Prime
Anthony Chan is a content writer at Pacific Prime. He’s responsible for writing, translating, and editing articles, guides, infographics, leaflets, as well as other resources for Pacific Prime and Kwiksure.

When he’s not working, he’s usually on the hunt for great restaurants, playing badminton, and writing screenplays.
Anthony Chan