Considering Switching Health Insurance Plans? Here’s What You Need To Know

By Krista DeKuyper | May 9, 2024 | Health Insurance

There comes a time for every Canadian where reevaluating your current health plan is crucial. An individual’s personal health is an ocean of never-ending shifts and changes. As such, it’s no surprise that health insurance plans will constantly need to adapt to changes in your medical needs. Sometimes, this will call for adjustments to your current plan, other times, it will call for a new insurance company to take over entirely. If you are one of the many Canadians that consider switching health insurance plans every year, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we will explore all the vital considerations that come with switching insurance plans, so that you can choose the perfect plan every time. 

Key Considerations Before Switching Health Insurance Plans

There’s many key considerations you will need to take into account when it comes time to switch your health insurance plan. 

Cancellation Fees: When you are signing for an insurance policy, you are entering a contract with the insurance company. In this contract, your insurance company is agreeing to provide coverage for a certain period of time and in return, you are agreeing to pay them a certain amount. If you cancel your insurance policy early, you will fail to pay the full premium amount outlined in the contract, and be charged a fee. The cost of this cancellation penalty varies, but will be written into the original contract you signed with the insurance. If you want to avoid paying the cancellation fee, you need to wait until the end of your contract before switching insurance plans. 

Evaluating Coverage Requirements: Health needs can change due to various factors including age, lifestyle, or chronic conditions. Review if your current plan covers essential health services, such as prescription medications, dental care, or vision care, which are not typically covered by Ontario’s provincial health plan (OHIP).

Financial Implications: Analyze the financial elements of your existing policy and any new policy you consider. This includes premiums, co-insurance rates, and caps on coverage. For supplemental plans, which often cover what OHIP does not, understanding the specifics of these costs is essential.

Policy Restrictions and Benefits: Different plans offer varying degrees of flexibility. For instance, some might provide broader international coverage or superior mental health support. Consider whether your current plan is limiting your access to necessary healthcare services and if another plan could potentially offer better benefits.

Provider Networks: If you have established relationships with healthcare providers, check whether they would still be accessible under a new plan. In Ontario, while OHIP covers many basic healthcare services, most supplemental plans have specific networks and limitations regarding where and how you can receive covered services.

How to Compare and Choose the Right Plan for You

getting ready to switch health insurance plans

Selecting the right health insurance plan for you can be daunting. With so many different options, comparing plans can be time consuming. Here’s a few tips to help you figure out how to compare plans sufficiently:

Utilize Quick Quotes: HealthQuotes has built an easy to use insurance comparison tool, Quick Quotes. With Quick Quotes, you can select specific coverage options and then be connected with various health insurance products that meet your criteria. The tool will also provide you with instant free health insurance quotes. To learn more about how to use Quick Quotes, you can read our article “Free Online Health Insurance Quotes”

Detailed Benefit Analysis: Beyond just looking at the premiums, delve deep into what each plan covers. Essential coverage in areas such as prescription drugs, dental care, and extended health services like massage therapy or physiotherapy should be closely examined. 

Consider Reviews and Insurer Reputation: Assess the reputation of the insurance provider for customer service and claims processing. This can often be gleaned from online reviews or through consultations with insurance brokers at HealthQuotes who have experience with various insurers. You can reach a HealthQuotes broker at 800 474 4474 to receive more guidance on your health insurance options. 

Navigating the Transition: Steps to Ensure Smooth Coverage

Switching health insurance plans requires careful timing and coordination to avoid any interruption in your coverage.

Ideally, aim to initialize a new insurance plan as your current plan expires. Most private health insurance plans in Ontario coordinate with renewal periods, often aligning with the calendar or fiscal year. If you are not covered during the transition period, you will need to rely on the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) or pay out-of-pocket if a medical emergency arises.

Before switching, you also will need to inform your current insurer. Even if your policy period is coming to an end, your insurer may auto-enroll you into your old plan once you reach the renewal period.

Once your new policy is active, promptly update your information with your healthcare providers to facilitate smooth processing of future health services claims.

Conclusion: Empowering Your Decision on switching Health Insurance Plans

Switching your health insurance plan is a serious decision that requires thoughtful consideration and thorough planning. Especially in Ontario, where residents have basic coverage through OHIP, determining the need for additional private insurance and choosing the right provider is crucial. By understanding the process thoroughly, you will be able to avoid ramifications such as cancellation fees and coverage gaps. Empower yourself with the knowledge you need to make the best decision for your health and financial well-being.

Still feeling a little uncertain? Contact us at HealthQuotes to receive an expert opinion on switching health insurance plans.