Things to Consider When Buying International Health Insurance
Now that you have packed your bags to move abroad, what do you do next? If you are moving to a new country and you won’t have access to public or employer healthcare, you will need to opt for international health insurance that suits your lifestyle and budget. This glo[bal insurance plan should provide adequate coverage during your journey and extended stay overseas. In this article, we will explore what you need to know when buying international health insurance.
For first-time expats, moving and settling in a foreign country can be a big deal. However, you don’t have to worry much. Without getting too overwhelmed, you just need to do the required research and find the best possible global medical insurance coverage for you and your family. No matter where you intend to spend your expatriate days, here are three important steps you need to take before opting for a short-term or long-term international health insurance plan.
Step 1: Choose between Short-term and Long-term Coverage
There can be a big difference between short-term and long-term plans in terms of the benefits they offer. Usually, long-term insurance policies provide broader coverage that also includes dental and vision care. It is essential that you first identify whether you are going on a short-term assignment or stay that would last less than a year or multiple trips during an entire year. If you are planning to live abroad for less than one year and will maintain your domestic healthcare (don’t give up home country healthcare if you can keep it), then most will go with a travel insurance plan that will cover emergencies only. If you are planning for an extended stay abroad for more than a year, choosing comprehensive international medical insurance would be ideal for you because your domestic health plan won’t cover you abroad and you will need much more than emergency-only coverage. Also, note that travel insurance only covers emergencies and only while abroad – they are very basic.
Step 2: Check Out the Plan Benefits Carefully
Before you purchase international coverage, go through the benefits they offer thoroughly. It is important that you feel confident about a particular plan before you make the buying decision.
Here are some factors that you should consider when buying an international insurance plan:
Maximum Insured Limit
Before purchasing any plan, you must check out its optimum or maximum limit. This is the total amount which the insurance provider will pay as reimbursement for the claims on that policy. For your peace of mind, you can choose plans that offer maximum limit. For instance, you can go for a policy that offers a maximum limit of up to $2 million or more. Keep in mind that the chances of your going over $1 Million USD in claims in a policy year are extremely low. Note that the more basic health plans will have limits on certain procedures and medications – the more you pay, the better the coverage will be.
Evacuation during Medical Emergencies
If you are living an expatriate life, medical evacuation during unforeseen incidents is of prime importance. Your international health insurance should include this benefit so that you are not left stranded when you face any health emergency. If you are residing in a developing country with limited medical facilities and treatment options, medical evacuation coverage is vital.
Coverage for Adventure Sports
As an active expat, you may like to indulge in various adventure sports, including hiking, scuba diving, etc. in your chosen destination. So, read a policy’s documents carefully to know the scope of coverage offered for adventure sports that you participate in.
Do You Want Out-patient care?
Some global citizens will opt for an international medical plan that will only cover in-patient/hospital care. This may be because they want to save on premiums or out-patient care and medications are very inexpensive in their particular destination or region.
There may be certain exclusions in almost every international medical insurance policy. Review the policy documents carefully to ensure that the exclusions don’t apply for you and your current health condition. If you are still skeptical, you should contact us or download the plan terms and conditions to clear your doubts.
Step 3: Research on Insurance Plans you Intend to Purchase
These days, doing in-depth online research on insurance plans is quite easy. Also, visit various travel and ex-pat forums to know more about policies that would suit your needs. Yes, you can check reviews, but keep in mind that most people who complete reviews are unhappy – no insurer is perfect and they all have some unhappy customers. We find that going with a large, well-known and respected insurance company is usually your best bet – such as the Cigna and Allianz plans we offer online. Taking to an expat insurance expert for their view and experience is helpful. Always opt for one that suits your budget and lifestyle.
We also recommend that you learn as much as possible by downloading the new international health insurance guide!
Once You Are Ready to Buy International Health Insurance
Moving overseas for a new expatriate life can be an exciting idea, but being thoroughly prepared will certainly help you escape from all the last-minute hassles. Take your time and do careful research on various international health insurance plans available in advance. Purchase a policy only when you are very sure about the benefits it offers. Remember, a good insurance plan is flexible and works for your health needs.