If you are looking to live or reside abroad for a long time, then you should consider investing in premium quality international health insurance. When you are overseas or outside of your domestic country, an international health insurance plan will allow you to receive medical assistance in the event that something happens to you. Seeking health care anywhere that is not your home country can be very costly.
Having international health insurance allows you to have the security of knowing that you will be able to receive medical treatment abroad. Many countries around the world require that you have some sort of adequate international health coverage in order to obtain a visa to enter the country. Expatriates, global nomads and international citizens who travel abroad for the majority of the year benefit from international health insurance plans the most. If you fall into one of these categories or are considering international health insurance, then it is important to know exactly what international health insurance is and the different costs of different plans.
If you are living abroad for longer than a year and receive international health insurance, then you may be eligible to receive comprehensive worldwide coverage. There are comprehensive plans for individuals and families. This coverage should have benefits that include inpatient, outpatient, wellness, dental and vision care. These plans are eligible to be renewed yearly or until your decided termination date.
The Cost of International Insurance
A common question asked in respect to international health insurance involves its costs. The prices of these plans vary based on a few things about you, the policyholder. In order to get a quote on how much a plan could cost you, insurers will need to know some information about you. The information needed is similar to the same details needed to get any other type of health insurance. This includes your age, your medical history and more.
Once insurers have this information, they can offer you plans with two areas of coverage. You can choose either worldwide coverage or worldwide excluding the United States. The U.S. is not the only country you can exclude. When it comes to your coverage, you can also exclude other countries, such as Canada and Hong Kong. It is common to exclude countries with very expensive medical care. Any plan that includes the U.S. in its coverage will typically be more expensive. This is due to the fact that America has some of the most expensive medical care in the world. Many medical insurance providers like GeoBlue and Cigna will rank countries by medical costs and adjust your premiums accordingly.
International Insurance Benefits
If you are living away from your home country for a year or longer, then considering international health insurance is ideal because of the medical coverage and the benefits that come with the plans. Plans can offer you the freedom to pick any hospital, clinic or doctor to visit as needed. You may also receive 24-hour emergency assistance through medical helplines. Emergency evacuation, repatriation and hospitalization are more benefits that you should receive through international insurance. In many cases, you can expect home country coverage to also be included in your package.
There are additional benefits that are offered through specific plans. Some plans cover dental, vision, maternity and prescription drugs. These benefits can be covered in a base plan. Depending on your needs, there are some insurance companies that will allow you to choose specific benefits that you want to be covered in your plan. If you want a plan that just includes benefits related to dental, wellness and vision, then you can find a plan that allows you to just choose those three benefits.
If you are looking for an individual international medical insurance plan, then you can purchase one for yourself or your family. These plans are usually purchased when there is a known risk of an approaching medical issue. A common example of this is maternity leave. It is important to know that these plans will come with additional risks that your insurer will try to limit through underwriting. Underwriting is a process where liability is accepted and payment is guaranteed in the case of losses or damages occurring. Once you have applied for the insurance, there will be a group of underwriters that will review your application and consider any pre-existing conditions. You should keep a copy of your past medical records as they may be required.
After your application has been reviewed, the underwriters will do one of the following:
- Approve your application without interference
- Approve your application and add limitations or exclusions for your pre-existing condition
- Add a premium surcharge to counteract the additional risk of approving you for insurance with your condition
- Deny your application
Plan Exclusions and Limitations
No matter the plan you decide on, whether domestic or international, each plan will list exclusions for specific risks that cannot be insured. These exclusions include acts of war, nuclear explosions and the nuclear fallout that results. Hostilities, military actions, terrorist acts and other civil commotion all fall under the acts of war category. In the event that any of these acts of war takes place, they cannot be insured under any plan.
Depending on the provider you are insured through, you will typically receive specific exclusions along with the ones listed above. Whether it is the type of policy or the company determining these limitations, exclusions can differ drastically from one plan to another. You must decide which plans’ limitations are best suited for you. Reviewing a plan’s exclusions and limitations is critical in choosing an international health insurance plan.
It is suggested that you work with a licensed international health insurance broker during this process. An experienced broker will be able to help you go through a range of policies and explain the intricacies of each policy. You can also rely on your broker if you need your application processed quickly.
If you do not know a broker or do not want to use one, then there are several sites online that compare international health insurance plans for you. Researching the rates and benefits of each company will make finding the right plan for you easier and less stressful.