How to Downgrade Your China Expat Health Insurance Plan

As the world is currently in economic turmoil in the aftermath of COVID-19, everyone is feeling the financial pinch. We are all looking for ways to cut costs and become more pragmatic with our finances. But when it comes to your China expat health insurance, you have to be smart. Not gung-ho. It’s still essential to have expat health insurance, but can you save cash by downgrading or switching your plan?

You may be paying too much for your China health insurance coverage. And if so, did you know that you could save lots of money by utilizing the knowledge of a specialist health insurance broker?

Here are some things you need to consider post-COVID-19 to cut down the costs of your China Expat Health Insurance plan.

Are You Paying Too Much for Your China Expat Health Insurance?

Are you paying more for your health insurance coverage than you need to pay? It’s one of the most important questions to ask in a time of crisis. Health insurance is immensely important, but is there some wiggle room to save cash?

We would suggest that you do some research to compare your current China Expat Health Insurance plan to similar packages in the marketplace. However, if you do already have pre-existing medical conditions, you need to be extra-careful when switching or downgrading your current coverage plan. The best approach is to firstly compare your existing plan with other packages from your current health insurance provider. Changing insurance companies is tricky and might not be in your best interests.

Here are some things you need to take into consideration when deciding if you are currently paying for too much coverage:

  • If you only need coverage in Mainland China, you might want to check your current plan. If the plan is for worldwide coverage or the Asia coverage, you might want to switch to a plan that offers coverage in China only. That will save you some cash.
  • Have you looked into adding inpatient deductibles to your plan? That can help reduce the overall premium while keeping the same plan. We find that inpatient deductibles are popular as most people are not hospitalized on an annual basis. Adding a deductible can reduce your total cost by 25%-50%!
  • Make sure you check your existing health insurance plan because they might also cover ‘luxury’ hospitals in China, also known as high-cost providers. You could downgrade your current plan to cover regular international hospitals and clinics instead of luxury ones. This could save you a massive 25% to 35% per year on your payments! They are branded luxury, but don’t actually provide a better level of medical care compared with other international facilities, but it could be exceptional value-for-money to make the change.
  • Do you have a comprehensive China Expat Health Insurance plan that also covers dental work and wellness services? so, you can cut out the dental plan and save money. Although dental work is always important, in the vast majority of cases it’s not life-threatening. At times like this, you need to streamline your services to the bare essentials.
  • If you do have Wellness benefits in your current plan, you might want to check the small print. The Wellness benefits and annual check-up services in your current plan have a cash limit. You might be able to save cash by paying outside your coverage for those benefits instead of including those in your current coverage plan. The cost of an annual check up in an international medical facility is often less than the increase in insurance price by having the annual check ups covered under your plan.

By conducting the five recommendations above, you will already know if you are currently over-covered in your China Expat Health Insurance plan. This will give you a good idea of whether or not you can consider a switching or downgrading your current plan. It will also give you an insight into whether your current insurance company is doing a good job or not. This leads nicely into the next section.

Is Your Insurance Broker Doing a Good Job Renewing Your Plan?

Although it’s reassuring to switch or downgrade your current China Expat Health Insurance plan using your current broker, you should first ask yourself are they doing a good job? You know it could be a conflict of interest for your current insurance broker to offer you a downgraded plan that fundamentally suits your budget.

Here are a few tips for you to ensure that your current broker is going a good job renewing your insurance plan:

  • Are you still talking to the same health insurance expert as usual or have you been fobbed off to a member from their admin team? Are you being pushed in certain directions and are you concerns being dealt with? If you are being passed around the admin team instead of talking to an expert, it’s a telltale sign you are not being taken care of, and you need to do something about that.
  • Were you notified over a month in advance of your renewal ahead of time? Did they give you the time to plan and to renew or change your current plan? If the answer is ‘no’ to these questions, you are not being treated fairly.
  • Is your broker happily showing you the cheaper options to downgrade your current plan, or is it a struggle to even be shown cheaper options? A good broker will put your concerns and needs first. A bad broker will constantly try to make you keep your current plan.
  • A good broker will work together with you to negotiate renewal discounts. They will also make sure you get access to lower claims discounts and other things that benefit you both in terms of services and finances.
  • Did your current broker do a good job when dealing with any previous claims you made over the past year? Were they easy to deal with? Did they have your best interests at heart when you made any previous claims? This will tell you all you need to know about your current health insurance broker.

By asking yourself those questions, you will get a good insight into the attitude and real intentions of your current health insurance broker.

China Expat Health Insurance Brokers Vs Agents – What’s the Difference?

Generally speaking, both insurance brokers and agents act as an intermediary between you and insurers. Although that is probably oversimplifying it. One acts on behalf of the insurer, while the other acts on behalf of you, the potential insurance buyer. It’s essential to understand the differences between the two. Especially if you want to ensure your best interests are of paramount importance. Middle-men and intermediaries sometimes get a bad rap, but you need someone there who has your back and will give you honest advice that benefits you, and not the insurance company.

A good analogy would be the difference between a boxing promoter and a boxing manager. It’s the boxing manager’s job to get the boxer the best possible purse for a fight. He/she works for the boxer. It’s the promoter’s job to maximize the profits of the boxing card, not the purse of the boxer. It’s why the Muhammad Ali Act stops boxing promoters from being boxing managers. It’s about conflict of interest, and ensuring the boxer gets the best deal from the promoter via the manager.

China Expat Health Insurance Broker

In this scenario, the health insurance broker is similar to the boxing manager. It’s the broker’s job to find you the best deal that suits your budget. They are basically on your side and there to ensure you get a fair deal and are not overcharged or over-covered. This means that a broker is an ideal person to have in your corner when trying to downgrade or switch your China Expat Health Insurance policy. The broker is similar to an advisor with your best interests in mind, and vast knowledge of the health insurance marketplace.

Health Insurance Agent

The health insurance agent is the right-hand-man of the boxing promoter. They work in tandem with medical insurance companies to maximize their profits and gain more clients. Although it’s still in their best interests to offer you a good deal, it’s in their ‘best interest’. Not yours. The broker works on behalf of the insurance companies, not you. That’s just the way it is.

It only makes sense that you obtain the services of a reliable China Expat Health Insurance broker to help you downgrade your existing health insurance plan. Using a health insurance agent would be counterproductive if you are trying to save money by switching your coverage plan.

Are you currently feeling the pinch and want to save money during these trying times by downgrading your existing health insurance plan? We can make sure you compare your current plan with similar ones in the marketplace and look for ways to reduce your premium costs.