Medical Insurance Application
There are various ways to purchase a Voluntary Health Insurance Scheme (VHIS) policy. Traditional methods include going through insurance intermediates, such as agents, brokers, and banks. Commissions and administrative work, and long process time are usually required.
From quoting to filing insurance, some companies offer online underwriting systems that allow you to save time by completing the entire application online. Moreover, some do not involve intermediaries and hence, reduce premium expenses.
Bowtie pioneered the online underwriting system that allows you to know if you could be covered, and premiums anytime, anywhere. Bowtie even provides a future 5-year premium for your references.
When you purchase Bowtie’s VHIS, you will know the premium for the first 5 years right after completing underwriting. If you choose the policies from other companies, you can request the same information from insurance agents, brokers, or companies. If the premium significantly increases in the first 2 years, you can consider switching the policy to another company.
According to Bowtie’s internal records, you can complete the application in just 4-10 minutes!
Common questions to ask before purchasing insurance
Do you know how to choose an insurance that fits you? Regardless of the type of policy you choose, the insured should first understand their (1) personal needs and (2) expectation of medical services, such as the desired ward level, coverage and budget for premium, and then choose the most suitable and affordable medical policy for yourself.
So, what should you pay attention to before purchasing insurance? Let’s take a look together.
1. Is it more cost-effective to buy medical insurance earlier?
If possible, it’s better to buy medical insurance when you are younger.
If you wait until you have symptoms to purchase insurance, additional premiums, and exclusions may be added to your policy during application.
If the health condition is severe, the application may even be rejected.
If family finances do not permit, you may consider buying insurance for the bread-feeder of the family first, as their health being protected will more likely ensure the well-being of other family members.
2. Will you waste money to buy insurance early since you have to pay the premium and it’s not needed?
No one can predict the future. Buying insurance when young does not mean that you can only enjoy the coverage when it comes to your retirement age.
Especially given that the lifestyle and habits of people nowadays have changed a lot, the number of younger generations suffering from diseases such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and even cancer is showing a rising trend.
As mentioned earlier, it may be too late to buy medical insurance when health deteriorates or symptoms appear. You have to understand, most policies on the market have “pre-existing condition” exclusion. If you are already sick, insurance companies would not provide coverage for the “pre-existing conditions” and the related diseases.
3. If the group medical insurance is already comprehensive, do you still need to purchase personal medical insurance?
Group medical insurance is provided by employers for employees, including coverage for hospitalization, surgery, outpatient, and some even extend to dental care and critical illness coverage.
When employees leave or retire, they will lose coverage. Retired employees may find it even harder to purchase personal medical insurance due to age and health issues.
Therefore, even if you are protected by group medical, you should not overlook the importance of having personal medical insurance.
Given today’s high medical expenses, group and personal medical insurance can complement each other, to increase overall coverage.
If you are protected by group medical insurance, you can consider purchasing high-end VHIS with a deductible. This type of insurance provides a more comprehensive coverage than other plans on the market, but is a lot more expensive. That’s why deductibles are created to keep the premiums affordable.
Coverage of group medical insurance can indeed offset the VHIS deductible, in other words, indirectly reduced monthly premium expenses.
In this way, you can get the “maximum coverage at the lowest premium without overlapping coverage”!
- ^Monthly Premium of a 30-year old man purchasing Bowtie Pink (Ward) - HK$80k deductibles plan
4. When purchasing insurance, in addition to health, you also need to declare habits such as smoking and drinking, and provide family medical history. Why do you need to declare so much personal information?
During the underwriting, insurance companies require applicants to disclose information related to their health and lifestyle habits (such as smoking and drinking) for risk assessment and decide whether to accept the application.
If the applicant’s risk is higher than standard, the insurance company may need to add ‘loadings’, or ‘exclusions’ to the policy before it becomes effective. So applicants have a responsibility to uphold the principle of “utmost good faith” and disclose their health status, medical history, and other information accurately and completely to minimize disputes during future claims.
Bowtie only requires applicants to provide relevant personal information, such as name and email address during underwriting. Until you are officially a Bowtie customer, we will not ask you to provide identification document information.
5. What information is considered “material facts” when filling out the application form after deciding to purchase insurance?
Insurance is based on the principle of “utmost good faith.” Applicants should fully and accurately disclose their health status and personal information, or “material facts,” in the application.
‘Material facts’ refer to information that affects the decision of the insurance company to approve the policy. This information is often disclosed by the applicant during application.
Currently, most applications insert a “health declaration form” that requires applicants to declare their health status, listing various diseases, conditions, examinations, and surgeries they have undergone. Applicants should carefully fill out this written questionnaire after reading every detail of it, as insurance companies assess applications based on the information declared on the application.
6. If you have been hospitalized, claimed, and compensated, will the insurance company increase the premiums?
Premiums of personal medical insurance generally do not increase due to the claim records of individual policyholders.
There are two main reasons for premium increases. First, age can affect premiums significantly. In most medical insurance policies on the market, premiums increase with age, reflecting the increased risk associated with aging. Another reason is medical cost inflation, such as increased fees for private hospitals, doctors’ surgical fees, etc.
According to Willis Tower Watson’s “2023 Global Medical Trends Survey Report,” global average medical costs are expected to rise by 10%, with Hong Kong’s medical inflation rising to 8.8% (an increase of over 0.6% compared to the previous year). As a result, many insurance companies may adjust coverage and premiums to ensure the insured persons have sufficient medical coverage.
In recent years, some medical insurance plans offer no-claim discounts or bonuses. If policyholders do not claim from the insurance company for a consecutive period, they can receive a discount on the premium for the next policy year or a rebate of a certain percentage of the paid premium during the period. This encourages policyholders to focus on health and relieve the burden on the medical system.
7. Why is my policy in effect and paid for a month, a claim is still rejected?
This is because of the ‘waiting period’. The “waiting period” refers to a specified time after the policy comes into effect, during which diseases or symptoms that the insured has developed are not covered. This reduces the risk of applicants with pre-existing conditions purchasing insurance and helps insurance companies avoid paying reimbursement beyond the original underwriting risk, also protecting the interests of the insured person who disclose “material facts.”
However, if the insured person is hospitalized due to an accident during the “waiting period,” since it does not involve a latency period, the claim is not subject to the “waiting period” restrictions. The length of the “waiting period” varies among different insurance plans. Most medical insurance plans have a 30-day waiting period, while some targeting specific diseases, such as gynecological diseases and hernias, may have waiting periods of 6 to 12 months.
A few medical insurance plans do not have a “waiting period”, providing coverage as soon as the application is approved. However, during claim application, insurance companies will examine whether the condition is a “pre-existing condition” and will not reimburse the expenses if it is.
8.If the original insurance agent transfers to another insurance company and can no longer follow up on your policy, should you switch to a new policy?
Whether renewing or upgrading an old policy, most insurance companies require re-underwriting.
Therefore, applicants must weigh the pros and cons, especially older applicants who may experience increased premiums or specific diseases not being covered due to changes in their health.
During the transfer process, applicants should also be aware of the risk of the “window period”. If the old policy is discontinued while the new policy is still in the “waiting period,” the policyholder will have to bear the medical expenses if they need hospitalization due to illness or injury during this period. Therefore, you must understand all the details before taking action.
Notes to Keep In Mind After Purchasing Insurance
Does purchasing insurance mean “once you have a policy, you have nothing to worry about?” Not necessarily! Even though the medical insurance market in Hong Kong is mature, policyholders should still pay attention to the following “four-step process” after purchasing insurance.
1. Read the Policy Carefully
Each policy comes with “terms and conditions” that explain the definitions, benefit details, exclusions, and claims clauses related to the policy. By reading the policy terms, policyholders can deepen their understanding of the policy and better understand their own protection rights.
2. Keep Policy carefully and Notify Family Members
In case of unexpected events, if the insured person is unable to inform family members of the policy content due to unconsciousness or loss of consciousness, they may miss the opportunity for urgent medical treatment!
Therefore, after purchasing insurance, policyholders should notify family members as soon as possible and keep the policy safely for future use.
3. Pay Attention to the Changes in Your Health Condition
When young and earning little income, many may neglect the importance of purchasing medical insurance.
However, more and more younger generations are getting serious illnesses, and as people age, their physical conditions may also change. Therefore, policyholders should regularly check for changes in their health condition, be more aware of their health, and purchase other health insurance (such as accident/critical illness) or even life insurance early. Waiting until the onset of an illness to purchase insurance may be too late.
4. Regularly Review the Policy
Insurance needs vary at different stages of life, especially when there is a rapid development of medical technology, the medical insurance purchased in your youth may not meet your current needs. Therefore, regularly reviewing the policy to ensure it is still in use can ensure that one is always in a state of sufficient protection.
Bowtie VHIS Switching Offer available now!
New customers who successfully enroll in the first Bowtie VHIS using the promo code “SWITCH24” with any non-Bowtie in-force medical insurance policy can enjoy a 50% discount on the first-year premium!
Bowtie reserves the right to require customers to present a non-Bowtie medical insurance policy in force at the time of application or claim as proof.