Moving overseas can be challenging for expat couples. However, if you are planning to have a baby and start a family abroad, you are adding a huge financial and emotional commitment to the complications. And in most countries, the expenses of labour and delivery for expats can be incredibly high. In this article, we will discuss the importance of maternity insurance coverage to minimize this financial risk with our top 5 tips for pregnant expats.
1. Obtain Maternity Coverage Before Getting Pregnant
According to research from The Telegraph, a cesarean section would cost around $14,000 in many hospitals around the world. Normal childbirth in North America would cost $15,000, and in Singapore, the cost will be well over $10,000. If you include hospital stay, medicine, and anesthetic, the bill will most likely be a lot higher.
What many expatriate couples may not know is that individual expat health insurance plans will almost never cover existing pregnancy. Besides the high expenses of delivery, routine tests and prenatal care can also be very expensive. Due to the high cost of maternity overseas, it is critical that you obtain maternity coverage if you plan to become pregnant. Most individual plans have a 10 – 12 month waiting period for pregnancy and generally only the upper tier plans will offer any maternity coverage.
Maternity can often be included in a plan or purchased as an optional benefit. Our most popular global health insurance plan is offered by Cigna and both their Gold and Platinum plans have maternity coverage with the standard waiting period on their contract. Most group expat health plans that are set up by your employer will cover a pregnancy without a waiting period.
2. Find a Doctor & Hospital
Most expats would want to use private hospitals while getting pregnant overseas. These private hospitals can offer the best medical care possible, with English speaking doctors that cater to foreigners. Many international health insurance providers offer a list of medical doctors and hospitals that are in the insurer’s network.
There are also many routine checkups during pregnancy to reduce your risks for potential diseases. It is advisable to research the birth facilities and the doctor’s experience and qualifications before settling in on a hospital and doctor. You will want to make sure that the hospital is both recommended and able to deliver your baby safely. Regular check-ups with the doctor in your new home country will also be vital.
3. Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle
- It is important for pregnant expats to eat healthily and on time.
- A balanced diet and moderate exercise will help you keep your body healthy.
- Try to cook healthy instead of eating out.
- Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and smoking.
- Make sure that your pregnancy diet is nutritious. Always include protein, vitamin C, calcium, fruits, and vegetables. Ask your doctor about prenatal vitamins that you should take before and during your pregnancy.
- Many medicines are not recommended during pregnancy. Always talk to your doctor about medical treatment for any illnesses during pregnancy.
It all involves common sense measures that your primary care doctor can discuss with you.
4. Make Sure Your Baby will be Insured at Birth?
Some international health insurance policies can provide coverage for newborn babies from birth, while others cannot. It may depend on whether you satisfied the 9 or 12 months waiting period for pregnancy coverage. It is essential to check with your insurance provider or employer for the new baby enrolment.
5. Bring A Copy of Your Medical History With You
In case of emergency, your hospital in your new country may not be familiar with your medical history or latest prescriptions. Therefore, it is recommended to carry all medical records with a list of allergies in the local language to facilitate emergency diagnosis and treatment.
Obtaining Maternity Coverage Via Expat Financial
As international health insurance expert, Expat Financial is often contacted by expats who are already pregnant and require international health insurance; however, our experience is that there are neither individual expat health plans nor travel medical plans that will cover an existing pregnancy. Only a large group expat benefit plan will potentially cover an existing pregnancy. Also, your home country may provide public government-funded coverage that will cover the existing pregnancy. It is very important to include maternity coverage in individual expat health insurance plans.
Advanced maternity insurance for expats usually covers:
- Newborn care
- Fertility car
- Birth defect care
Most regular expat health plans with maternity insurance will cover:
- Pre-natal and post-natal care and examination
- Mandatory caesarian
- Home and hospital delivery expenses
Contact Expat Financial for more information on which international health insurance plan will meet your family’s requirements and budget. We hope that your expat pregnency will be a health, happy and safe experience in your new home country and look forward to discussing your requirements. We can also discuss expat life insurance.