Backdating refers to the process of marking an important document with a date that has already occurred; in other words, inputting a date that is earlier than the date that a document was drafted or signed. In many cases, backdating is completely legal and totally acceptable; however, in some cases, it isn’t legal.
Is Backdating Allowed for Health Insurance?
Like all questions related to health insurance, the answer is “it depends”; backdating may be permitted by some insurance companies, but others may not allow it. In other words, it depends on your specific health insurance company and the rules that they have in place. Additionally, it also depends on your specific policy and the reason for backdating.
To find out if inputting a date earlier than the date the policy was drafted, contact your health insurance company. A representative will be able to tell you whether or not this practice is permitted, and if so, what rules pertain to the backdating policies that they have in place.
If your health insurance does not allow backdating, do not, under any circumstances, attempt to proceed with doing so anyway. Unapproved backdating can result in nullifying your health insurance coverage; additionally, you could end up having to pay very expensive fees. Remember that just because your insurance company may permit backdating, it doesn’t mean you can or should backdate your specific plan.
Reasons to Backdate a Health Insurance Plan
Why would someone consider backdating a health insurance plan? What’ the purpose? Generally, people elect to backdate a health insurance policy so that they can use an earlier date as the date that the policy went into effect, which could enable you to receive lower premiums. For example, if you are applying for a policy at a certain age, you may end up paying more than you would if you were younger. By backdating your insurance policy, you would, in effect, have been younger when the policy went into effect, and therefore, you’d have to pay a lower premium. Of course, paying lower premiums is always a good thing; however, it doesn’t always work in the insured’s favor.
Another scenario in which backdating a health insurance policy may occur involves when you are able to make your first payment toward your premium. For example, if you have applied for a policy and the insurance company has accepted your application, the carrier usually won’t consider your policy effective until your first premium payment has been made. If you were to decide to visit a doctor before the date you made your first payment, you might be expecting to have your visit covered. However, since the policy isn’t effective until you make a payment, your appointment won’t be covered, which could leave you responsible for the entire cost of the services you received. In this case, backdating would make your policy effective the date that it was accepted instead of the date that you made your first payment toward your premium, which could prevent you from having to cover the entire cost of the aforementioned described medical care.
For example, if you end up getting divorced and you backdated your health insurance policy so that your ex-spouse can still retain coverage under your health care plan, it could actually end up that your ex-husband or wife could end up having to pay back the amount that they were charged for any claims that they made from the date of the divorce and on. Also, if you lose your job, it is illegal for your previous employer to backdate the date your health insurance terminates. These two things are considered illegal, as they are deemed fraudulent, and you could ultimately end up getting into serious trouble, or the individual that backdated the insurance document could get in serious legal trouble.
Should You Backdate Your Health Insurance?
In all honesty, there really isn’t any viable reason to backdate a health insurance document. Even if your health insurance company does permit the practice, it doesn’t offer any specific benefit that would be valuable enough to make a huge difference in your coverage or premiums.
With that said, if you decide that backdating is something that you are interested in pursuing for any reason at all, speaking to your health insurance company in advance is always advisable. As stated, if the practice is permitted, make sure you find out exactly what the terms and conditions are, and how to go about properly inputting an earlier date on your health insurance documents.
Summing It Up
If you are interested in backdating your health insurance plan, always speak to your carrier to find out what the terms and conditions are. Typically, health insurance companies are very clear about the possibility of backdating. If the company does not discuss the effective date or their stance on backdating, make sure to ask them so that you know what your options are before you sign up for coverage.