Get 10 Vital Tips for Buying International Health Insurance Plans
When you are planning to live abroad, or you have already become a global citizen, one of the most vital products that you can buy is intangible – international health insurance. There are all sorts of medical plans for expats in the market, but as an expert and specialist in the market with 20 years of experience, I thought I would share ten quick tips for picking the right global medical insurance plan.
1. Pay Your Premium Annually
Most global medical plans will allow you to pay your premium monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, or annually. By paying your premium in one annual payment, you can save up to 10% over a monthly payment plan. So, if you have the premium available, pay upfront, and save.
2. Check the Medical Network
If you are buying a global medical plan, it makes sense to buy from a large and well known global insurance provider, which gives you access to a large medical network around the world, especially in your future country destination. Many facilities in that network will allow you to get reimbursed or claims paid directly with the insurance company.
3. Work with International Health Insurance Specialist
Like with most things, including doctors, lawyers, and accountants, it pays to work with a specialist. Most domestic insurance agents don’t know the first thing about international health insurance. They are not equipped to don’t have any global insurance contacts and no experience. Expat Financial is a specialist resource for global nomads, international citizens and expatriates who are living abroad or about to make their way overseas.
4. Get a Hospital Only Plan to Save Money
Many expatriates we talk to are living abroad in countries where out-patient expenses – such as seeing a doctor, tests, scans, and even medication are very inexpensive.Additionally, some expatriates will often just get base hospital coverage and self-insure out-patient care. This can save you a lot of money.
5. Buy the Medical Evacuation Option
This is important if you are going to be residing in a country where the local medical care is suspect or simply not up first-world standards. If you have a medical emergency that can be treated properly, having that medical evacuation coverage will not only save you many thousands, but it may just save your life!
6. Get Global Coverage Including the USA if you Reside Close to the USA
Most plans offer two area options for expatriates and global nomads – Worldwide Excluding the USA or including the United States. If you are residing in a country near America, it usually makes sense to get a plan that includes the ability to seek treatment in the USA. This is especially true for expats in the Caribbean, Mexico, Central America and some parts of South America. In a Caribbean country such as the Bahamas, the local treatment for more serious conditions may not be available, so your doctors may send you to the USA for treatment – so you will want to have that option before you get sick or injured.
7. Get an International Health Insurance Plan with a Large Deductible
If you are looking to save some money on your expat healthcare, it makes sense to offset the insurer’s risk and take it on yourself by getting a large deductible. The bigger the deductible, the lower your premium if you are prepared to pay those costs IF you have a claim.
8. Ask if your Insurer Can Cover Your Pre-existing Conditions
As you get older, it is common to have some pre-existing medical conditions. Some plans can cover many pre-existing medical conditions or the insurance provider may ask for an additional premium. It is also possible that they may decline to cover you or decline your application. Most people who buy global healthcare plans have some pre-existing conditions. An exclusion shouldn’t mean that you don’t proceed with a policy. Ask the insurer to reconsider and maybe they will say yes.
9. Buy the USA Coverage Option if You are an American
If you are an American citizen, it is highly likely that you will want to obtain medical treatment back home or at least have coverage when you spend a few months back in the USA visiting family or while on business. Expat health plans can’t cover Americans who spend more than six months back in the USA or move back there permanently. Your plan won’t be renewable, and you are expected to get local US health coverage from a domestic insurer.
10. Buy Your International Health Coverage Via Expat Financial
Expat Financial, a division of TFG Global Insurance Solutions, is a very experienced global insurance broker, and we don’t charge anything for our assistance and questions before and after your purchase. The same rates and services from the insurers we offer regardless. All your premiums and claims are direct with the global health insurance company as well. You can get a quote online, purchase, and we are there as your independent advocate in the future. You can ask us questions, call us, email, Skype, etc.… and we have a lot of clients with insurers like Cigna or Allianz, so this gives us a lot of pull.
We hope the above tips will help you in your global travels and live abroad. Securing global healthcare should be one of your top priorities when you decide to become a global citizen. Don’t get a cheap plan and don’t look at the price alone. You want to work with a reputable and capable international health insurance provider. Finally, at Expat Financial, it is easy to contact us and obtain a quote online. We are eager to discuss your requirements, budget, and get coverage in place.
Written by David Tompkins, President of TFG Global.