Tenzing pacific services

Making changes to an existing
health insurance policy

Geoffrey Mann By Geoffrey Mann – December 8, 2023

The general rule is that you will be able to modify your health insurance policy to align it with changes in your life. As with most things, however, there are some rules and restrictions that you’ll need to comply with. The following is a brief overview; you should consult with your agent or insurance company for the specifics of your policy. 

Changes at renewal only

Most of the possible changes can be made only at annual renewal, not during the policy year.

Some changes may require underwriting

When you ask for more benefits, you increase the insurer’s risk, so they typically require you to re-submit your application along with detailing any accidents or illnesses since you began the policy.

  • Expanding your coverage area. If you travel or move often, it might make sense to match your main coverage area to where you’ll actually be.
  • Increasing benefits, such as asking for a higher annual limit, adding outpatient or dental coverage.
  • Adding maternity coverage requires a bit more foresight because benefits don’t kick in until 10 months after you sign up.
  • Decreasing your deductible or copay. You might just want the added financial security after getting a raise, but the insurance company might be wondering if you’re expecting big medical bills for some reason.

Changes that don’t require underwriting 

When you ask for less in the way of benefits, you decrease the insurer’s risk, and they’re generally happy to facilitate the process. So, shrinking your coverage area, decreasing benefits or increasing a deductible or copay should be a simple matter.

Adding people to the policy

The general rule is that you can add people only at renewal, you’ll need to submit a new application, and they will be subject to underwriting.

Adding babies and spouses

Most policies also allow you to add a baby or spouse based on the birth or marriage. The most common provision gives you 30 days to report the birth or marriage, with coverage effective retroactively. Some policies don’t require underwriting for a newborn but they do require it for spouses.

Read more: Guide to Maternity Insurance

Maternity Insurance

So, if you want to make a change to your policy, think ahead. The application and underwriting process can take a week or more, so make your request early.

These articles are intended to give you enough information to make informed decisions, but health insurance is complicated. Whether you still have questions on this topic or feel ready to take the first steps toward getting a policy, our advisors can help. Just fill in this form.

Geoffrey Mann

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