If you're insured with Aviva for your medical insurance, headache and difficulties might be in store for you when your policy expires. Imagine that you've finally gone through a 30-page insurance booklet providing all the details on how to submit claims and which doctors you are allowed to consult with. You complete the lengthy required paperwork thinking this will be the last time that you ever need to go through the worst bedtime reading known to man (although it may help your insomnia). Unfortunately, it'¦sall about to start over again.
Following the end of their medical plans in Hong Kong, a statement from Aviva to their clients in Singapore confirms that they will be affected by cancellations as well. Both the IdealMedical and Global Health plans will be shut down as of February 1st. Existing members will not be offered renewal, and both plans are no longer available to new applicants as of November 2012.
The majority of members affected are expats working in Singapore and their families. However, unlike the situation in Hong Kong, members in Singapore are offered a chance to transition their current policy to a different insurer, RHI-Bupa.
Pacific Prime's Insurance Agents confirm that premiums for the continuation plan will be substantially higher, and sometimes about twice as much as member's current rates. Customers not willing to pay the higher rates will need to apply for a brand new plan and any existing medical conditions will most likely be excluded. This essentially leads to an ultimatum for current Aviva members to choose between much higher costs or a loss of coverage for existing medical conditions and treatments.
Chris Baehr of Pacific Prime recommends reviewing the continuation option with RHI-Bupa and then seeking alternatives. He states that, "Everyone affected should focus on making the best choices regarding the future of insurance for their family. It is important to get insurance through a reliable, knowledgeable and trustworthy source." Mr. Baehr and his colleagues have received many enquiries from worried Aviva members notified with a cancellation notice and looking for alternatives.
Aviva agents are reporting difficulties encountered by expats locally with some rather technical issues concerning the transfer and continuation option. One rather cumbersome situation has to do with newborns or unborn babies nearing birth. Since Aviva is no longer accepting new members, expecting parents cannot add their newborn onto their Aviva policy. RHI-Bupa, on the other hand, has inherent restrictions and waiting periods on the coverage of newborn children whose parents have not been insured with the company for over 10 months.
Expats involved may already be feeling a great deal of uncertainty. Combine this with the trend towards higher insurance premiums in Singapore, rising healthcare costs and the grueling experience of going through all the fine print inside insurance membership guides, and it's easy to see why guidance is needed.