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Continuation plans for employees wanting to transfer their coverage

From Facebook and Twitter to Netflix and beyond, 2022 has been rife with mass layoffs at big tech companies, and layoff anxieties have been a major issue faced by employees. With loss of a job comes loss of an income and identity, but did you know that your employer-provided health insurance policy doesn’t need to be one of them? A continuation plan can help you maintain medical coverage even when you’re no longer employed by the original policyholder. As there are a number of things to consider, this Pacific Prime Singapore article goes through your options so that you can be crystal clear before signing a contract. 


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What are continuation plans?

When you leave an employer and your previous insurer agrees to transfer your employer-provided policy to an individual one, you’ve got a continuation plan. What you need to understand is that not all plans can be continued. Some employers will have included an option for departing employees to carry on coverage post-employment, but you will have to check with your HR team or broker to see if that applies to you.

Watch: 4 ways to deal with layoff anxieties

Major insurers, such as Aetna, RHI & Bupa Global and Cigna, are more likely to accept transferring a company health insurance plan than local, smaller companies. What you should be aware of is that sometimes coverage, benefits, limits and even the premium can change in the transfer, and some (but not all) insurers may reject cover to people with certain pre-existing conditions.

Let’s take a closer look at a sample continuation plan from Bupa. The insurer’s Transfer Care medical insurance is exclusively for its group medical insurance members to continue their health cover after their group membership ends. Attractive features of the plan include:

  • Guaranteed cover for pre-existing conditions
  • Same room level transfer
  • Comprehensive mental health coverage
  • Guaranteed lifetime renewal
  • Higher surgical benefit
  • No waiting period 
  • Optional benefits to boost your cover
  • 24/7 medical professional support
  • 24/7 customer care help desk
  • And more. 

A word about COBRA for US-based employees

If you’re based in the US, then you’re in luck. You don’t need to be at the mercy of your employers’ policy because there’s a federal law called COBRA that allows you to keep your employee health plan even if you no longer work for your last employer. For those qualified to receive these benefits, you have up to 60 days after leaving your job to join COBRA coverage and can remain on the plan for up to 18 months in most cases. That being said, the costs can be quite high.

What to look out for when transferring an employer-provided policy

If you find your insurer is willing to transfer your company policy, then you’ll need to read the fine print and be clear with them just what your continuation policy will contain. Policies can end up with increased premiums due to companies being able to negotiate more attractive rates because they insure a group. Insuring individuals means increased risk which can result in higher premiums.

As mentioned above, pre-existing conditions can also be a concern for some insurers. These insurers might add a loading – an extra fee on top of your premium, to guarantee your coverage under a continuation plan. How much will depend on the insurer and your condition. However, it can sometimes be more expensive than negotiating a new policy. If your pre-existing condition is really serious, you might also be denied a transfer outright.

Getting a continuation plan before you leave your employer

Going to your company’s insurer directly is an option. But, of course, the best way to negotiate transferring your coverage is to use a broker. Intermediaries, like Pacific Prime Singapore, can work with you to ensure the continuation plan your insurer offers will still meet your needs once you leave your employment. They’re also impartial, meaning you are at the center of their decision making processes. This might include suggesting a new plan if necessary.

Transferring coverage or getting a new plan: what’s the best option?

Sometimes you might find that the costs of carrying on your employer-provided plan are too high, or the coverage and benefit restrictions make it less attractive. In these cases, often a new plan can be a better option. For those of you without pre-existing conditions, this can generally be a cheaper option. If you do have health issues covered under your employer’s plan but you’re concerned you’ll lose coverage with a new plan, talk to a broker to find out your options.

Get in touch with Pacific Prime Singapore today!

Our team of experts are well experienced in reviewing, renewing and negotiating insurance policies. Doing it yourself can be complex and time consuming, but with a broker like Pacific Prime Singapore, you can leave the hard work to us and we’ll get you the right coverage at an affordable rate. To discuss your options when it comes to leaving your current employer but staying covered health-wise, contact our team of advisers today!

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Senior Content Creator at Pacific Prime Singapore
Serena Fung is a Senior Content Creator at Pacific Prime, a global insurance brokerage and employee specialist serving over 1.5 million clients in 15 offices across the world. With 2+ years of experience writing about the subject, she aims to demystify the world of insurance for readers with the latest updates, guides and articles on the blog.

Serena earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University of British Columbia, Canada. As such, she is an avid advocate of mental health and is fascinated by all things psychology (especially if it’s cognitive psychology!).

Her previous work experience includes teaching toddlers to read, writing for a travel/wellness online magazine, and then a business news blog. These combined experiences give her the skills and insights she needs to explain complex ideas in a succinct way. Being the daughter of an immigrant and a traveler herself, she is passionate about educating expats and digital nomads on travel and international health insurance.
Serena Fung