Your Health Coverage is Safe When you Change Jobs or Insurance Plans



Health insurance is important; it provides financial security in the event of serious illness or an accident that can, unfortunately, happen to anyone at any time. With annual spending on health in Bermuda at $11,102 per person1– almost double the average of the 34 countries participating in the OECD2 – this security is important.


The Government of Bermuda mandates that every employed person in Bermuda, including those who are self-employed, have health insurance coverage. The Standard Health Benefit (SHB) is the minimum requirement for any health insurance policy in Bermuda. The SHB covers inpatient hospital care, services provided in emergency and outpatient departments including diagnostic and laboratory tests, the ambulance service and care at Agape House and Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute.

 

Most employers offer more coverage than that outlined in the SHB. Working with an insurer, like Argus, companies offer coverage from the first day of employment to the employee, the employee’s spouse and dependent children.

 

But life can change. Maybe you have accepted a new job, or are required to change your coverage for other reasons. What does this mean for the few months during which you are in transition?

 

It is important to have health insurance at every stage of your life, whether you are transitioning to a new job, are between jobs or become unemployed. And ensuring that you have coverage is very easy.

 

In the event that you are leaving a job for some reason, your group benefits end when your employment terminates. Coverage for the SHB, however, is extended, without premium payment, for an additional four weeks past the end of the month, provided you do not begin a new job or you are not covered by your working spouse during that time.

 

If you are not moving into a new job within a month of terminating your previous job, consider converting coverage from your group to an individual policy. You will need to do this within 31 days of the date of terminating your previous job. An individual policy may not offer the same benefits that you previously held; however, it will provide at least basic health coverage at a premium based on current age and gender rates.

 

If you have a total disability, Argus continues to cover eligible expenses without premium payment for up to three months after your employments ends, as long as your former employer’s group policy remains in place.

 

If you are beginning a new job, you will need to enroll in the company’s policy within 31 days of being eligible to ensure your insurance coverage begins immediately on the date you commence work. If you miss the 31-day deadline, entry in the programme might depend on submitting proof of good health.

 

It’s important to be aware of the coverage you have and to ensure you are enrolled in the right policy for you. Health problems can, unfortunately, happen at any time. And while you hope that they don’t happen to you, health coverage is financial security that you want to have, in case they do.

 

1 - according to the National Health Accounts Report 2016
http://www.bhec.bm/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/2016-NHA-Report-20170208.pdf
2 – OECD stands for the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development