Top 10 common international health insurance mistakes for expats

If you are an expatriate and searching for global health insurance plans, it is critical that you select the right plan for you and your family. Without an appropriate health insurance plan, you may be putting your health and finances at risk. To help you make the best choices, in this article, we will discuss steps to avoid the common health insurance mistakes that expatriates sometimes make. The following mistakes and advice we provide below relate to both individual and corporate expat health plans.  Remember, we all make mistakes, but when it comes to expat healthcare, it makes sense to read the points below to help avoid the following:

Mistake #1: Not choosing a plan that can cover a pre-existing medical condition

If you or your family member suffer from a medical condition, one of the most important questions to ask of any health insurance plan is whether it would cover pre-existing medical conditions. Most of the insurers will exclude pre-existing medical conditions, however, some will charge an additional premium to approve the application, but this depends on the severity of the medical condition. For example, how serious the condition is, how long you have been treatment free and the potential costs of treatment. There is usually an exception for group plans because the risk is spread among healthy and unhealthy people – such group plans can often cover pre-existing medical conditions if the number of employees covered is large enough – usually 10 or 20 employees.

Expat Financial works with global medical insurance companies who can provide full coverage for pre-existing medical conditions on the medical coverage for both the employees and dependents if the employer has more than 25 or 30 global employees – including both expats and local nationals. These excellent insurance plans can even provide full coverage for an expat group of only two or three expat employees. This is a significant advantage for any expat employer as almost all employees or dependents, especially older ones, will have at least one medical condition. To learn more, please contact us or obtain a free quote online

Mistake #2: Obtaining a domestic policy

Some expatriates purchase health insurance plans that don’t provide them with adequate amount of coverage when living and traveling abroad. Domestic government health plans usually provide coverage to access to private medical facilities. These plans are usually basic and will not allow for treatment outside your home country and are also not portable if you move to a new country. Therefore, expatriates will want to purchase international health insurance plan that covers them locally, regionally and globally. Most international health insurance plans will provide in-patient medical care, out-patient medical care, specialists care, routine scans, etc. If you are relocating to a region with limited medical services, you can select the medical evacuation option. Most of the global medical plans will offer dental and vision options. Finally, don’t rely on your health policy back home, it probably doesn’t cover you abroad.

Mistake #3: Assuming you are young and healthy and don’t require cover

If you assume that you and your family are healthy and don’t need to obtain health insurance, you are definitely putting your health and finance at risk. This is especially true in situations such as maternity care, cancer, accidents and emergency evacuation. Medical expenses in both developing and developed nations can be extremely expensive and you don’t want to go bankrupt because of uninsured medical fees.

Mistake #4: Not obtaining maternity coverage

Maternity care in private hospitals among many countries can be very expensive. It is important to obtain maternity coverage if you are planning to become pregnant as an expatriate. Most plans have a 12 month waiting period before maternity related expenses will be covered. We often get calls from expatriates who are currently pregnant and want coverage for that birth, but for individual expatriates this is not possible as you would have to have obtained a global medical plan that covered pregnancy and new child at least 12 months prior to conception. If your child is born with health issues, the baby will have to medically underwritten as a new applicant if maternity coverage was not in force 12 months prior – this can be a huge liability. If you are planning to have children or if there is a possibility that you may become pregnant, it is vital that your global health plan include maternity care

Mistake #5: Not obtaining evacuation coverage

Emergency evacuation is another critical part of any expatriate’s medical coverage, especially if you are residing in a developing country where local medical facilities are not up to western standards. It will ensure you have access to high quality medical facilities in the event of an medical emergency. Ambulances, helicopters, planes and travelling medical care can be incredibly high if you are not properly insured. For many expats in the Caribbean for example, there are some excellent medical facilities, but an expat may have to obtain medical care in the USA for more serious medical conditions, such as obtaining treatment in Miami. 

Mistake #6: Obtaining the cheapest global medical plan

A very common mistake that expats sometime make is choosing a plan based on price alone. If it is a lot cheaper than most plans in the market, there is probably a good reason for this. We are all guilty of looking for a good deal, but try not to when it comes to global medical insurance. If you are living or working overseas, you want an insurance plan that is going to be there when you need it. Quality is extremely important. Our most comprehensive policy with excellent service is the Cigna Global plan we offer on our web site. We offer the same coverage and price and you get the benefit of our agency support both before and after you purchase – we are your advocate.

The premiums of expatriate health insurance plan depends on a variety of factors: age, gender, citizenship, geographic area of coverage, deductible level, etc. These factors help the international health insurer determine your initial and renewal premiums. Before picking an international health insurance plan, you should carefully consider co-pays, co-insurance or deductible level, depending on your health care needs. Don’t pick a plan just because of its low premiums. In fact, there are some ways to lower your health insurance premiums while still obtaining first class access to your desired coverage level. Please read blog article How to lower your global medical insurance premiums – Five tips for expats to learn more about it. Contact us to discuss your requirements and obtain quotes from the market.

Mistake #7: Not telling the truth on application

Some expats may suffer from a pre-existing medical condition and not disclose it to the insurer. This is a serious mistake as it will allow the insurer to invalidate all your claims and terminate your insurance policy. Insurers will find out eventually and it is vital that you provide full disclosure of your health when you complete the application online or offline. Insurers will often write your doctor to confirm your medical health before or after a policy is taken out, so make sure you tell the truth when applying. If you have a condition, disclose it and provide as much detail as possible along with reports, tests and it is possible that the condition will be covered, depending on the insurer and the condition.

Mistake #8: For Americans, not obtaining a plan that covers treatment in the USA

Some American expats do not obtain a plan that covers medical treatment back home. If you are an American expat, there is a good chance you will want a plan that will allow you medical treatment back in the USA where you have family, friends and other support groups. Yes adding US care to your policy will cost you more, but surprisingly for some plans that cost is quite minimal – especially the Cigna Global Health Options plan we offer online.

expat healthcare if critical

Mistake #9: Not purchasing a plan that covers drugs

If you are an expatriate taking prescription drugs for short term or under chronic medical conditions, it is vital to obtain prescription drug coverage. Many countries have very expensive drug costs, especially when taking major illness drugs or new drug. Many drugs, especially biologics, are extremely expensive so it is important to purchase a plan with prescription cover.

Mistake #10: Not checking the fine print

International health insurance is complex and can be confusing for expats who are living and working abroad. We are all guilty of not reading the fine print or policy coverage details. If is important when you are purchasing a global medical plan that you carefully read the fine print of the global medical policy. This can also include checking the medical network and administration details of the provider.

Expat Financial offers several global insurance plans that will provide excellent drug coverage for expatriates who living abroad. Some of the global medical plans we offer can even cover local nationals in select countries. The international health plans from providers such as CignaMSH and IMG can provide prescription drug coverage for most expatriates. You can get a quote online and apply for the individual expat health plans we offer.

 

expatriate employee insurance

Top seven global insurance considerations before sending expat employees overseas

More and more multinational companies are opening offices around the world, including in regions such as Asia, Africa, Europe, the Caribbean and South America. While working and living abroad can be a very exiting opportunity for expat employees, expat employers have a fiduciary responsibility to provide adequately protect their expat employees and achieve a successful expat assignment – this includes purchasing global medical coverage. In this article, we will discuss the top seven global insurance considerations you should consider before sending employees on overseas assignments.

Coverage – Local or International Coverage

In many countries with limited or no local health insurance coverage or health infrastructure, an expat employer should put their expat employees on an international expat group insurance plan. A local plan is designed for local coverage and does not provide the portability that most expat employees require. A proper international health benefit plan will provide medical coverage each time an expat employee is moved from one country to another without having to change plans, apply for new coverage or satisfy a new waiting period. Furthermore, in some nations where local health benefits coverage may be available, most expatriate employees will want to use a major stable currency instead of local currency when dealing with insurance claims. Therefore, obtaining an global international expat group insurance plan is very important prior to relocating to a new country or destination. Local plans are great for locals, not usually good for expats. 

Special Risk Insurance 

Many companies are exploring new markets and resources in areas with unstable local governments or conflicts, which are often considered to be high risk countriesThe potential damages and costs caused by acts of war, terrorism and kidnapping are quite tramatic and can be very high for employers. 

If your company or organization is operating in high risk zones, it is critical to source full coverage for war and terrorism risks, kidnap and ransom insurance for expatriate employees.

Medical Emergency Evacuation

Medical emergency evacuation insurance plan is also critical for any expat employees working abroad, especially if residing in a region with limited medical facilities or health clinics that are not up to western standards. However, even residing in a highly developed country, medical evacuation may also be required – for example, if they are residing in a remote region of the country or require an air ambulance.

When your employees are posted overseas and experience a medical emergency that can’t be addressed in the host country, it is critical that your organization have a comprehensive evacuation insurance planMost expatriate group health insurance plans will provide emergency evacuation and repatriation as an option or include it as a standard benefit. Note that a medical evacuation must be approved and coordinated by the health insurance company. Most group plans will include evacuation as an optional benefit. 

Will the Health Insurance Plan Cover Pre-existing Medical Conditions?

A pre-existing medical condition relates to a medical condition that existed prior to an insurance company taking on the risk of an insured, sometimes known or even unknown by the employee. If an expat develops an illness later on it may be recognized as a pre-existing condition when trying to obtain health coverage. For example, you may have an employee who has high blood pressure, diabetes or a skin disorder. 

Most expat employers may not aware of the cost of the treatment of chronic diseases for expatriate employees overseas can be very high. It usually requires medical treatment to cover ongoing health needs. Individual expat health and life insurance plans have to be medically underwritten and employees who are under separate individual plans may have restricted coverage, exclusions or even be declined when applying pre-existing medical coverage. Whereas a group international benefit plan can usually offer full coverage for pre-existing medical conditions because the risk is shared among healthy and unhealthy employees and their dependents. We will often recommend to our group clients that they purchase a plan that fully covers pre-existing medical conditions.

Health Insurance Plan Administration

A tailored international group insurance plan provides simple administration platform for your HR department. It can provide for the instant communication online between employees, insurance company and HR administrators. This is especially convenient for highly mobile expat employees. It is very important for your expat employees to move from one country to another without worrying to switch from one local health insurance plan to another. It is important that HR managers consider a plan that has excellent plan administration when choosing a global medical plan.

Seeking Advice from an Experienced Broker

It never makes sense to obtain global medical coverage for your employees on your own – your HR manager will not have the necessary experience, training, knowledge or global insurance contacts that are required for your expanding expat population. Expat Financial, a division of TFG Global Insurance Solutions Ltd., can source international group insurance plans from a variety of large and respected insurance companies for multinational companies, Non-government Organizations, non-profits, governments and international schools. We work on your behalf to source the best possible quotes and assist you once a plan is put in place – both at renewal and throughout the life of the policy.

In addition to medical and evac, we can source coverage for disability, AD&D, Life Insurance, EAP and dental. Our company is very used to working with companies and aid groups which operate in high risk countries such as Democratic Republic of CongoIraqAfghanistanNigeriaSouth SudanEritreaSomalia and Yemen. The plans that we can source can provide full coverage for war and terrorism risks

Individual Plans for your Expat Employees

For companies with less than 3 expatriate employees or individual expatriates, we can also source individual International Health Insurance Protection as well as individual expat life and disability plans. Note that individual plans have to be medically underwritten, so final coverage, rates and coverage will be subject to medical underwriters at the insurance company. To find out more, contact Expat Financial to discuss your organization’s requirements and obtain quotes from the market. Read more about our group expat insurance plans on our corporate page.

 

5 Tips for first time expatriates living abroad

For many first-time expatriates relocating abroad or doing an expat assignment, the first few months of living abroad could be either exciting or overwhelming. To help expatriates adjust to living in another culture, in this article, we will discuss 5 tips for your first months abroad so that you will overcome the negative feeling of culture shock and make your first move successful.

  • Go Out and Meet the Local People 

The most common feeling that expats will face in their first month is isolation. It is strongly encouraged that expats go out and engage locals and other expatriates alike. This kind of interaction will immerse yourself in local living, the earlier you start, the quicker you will eliminate the uncomfortable feeling about an unfamiliar country.

  • Eat Local Food

When you are in a new country, it is vital to maintain healthy eating habits, especially during your first few months. Try to eat local food that you’ve never had before will provide you with active thinking patterns, and building a new healthy patterns will give you the feeling of exploration. It is recommended that you try to give your body a few days to adjust to the new place, then you’re good to explore. From Cairo to Bangkok, there are lots of great food choices for expatriates.

  • Keep Your Own Pace When You Move Abroad

Lack of language skills, making mistakes when taking local public transit and getting lost are all common experiences for first time expats in your new country, so try not to feel embarrassed at the beginning. Things will gradually gets better , so we encourage expatriates to embrace all the imperfections during their first few months. It is a way to throw yourself out of your comfort zone and learn.

  • Try Something New

It is also suggested for expatriates to do something new in their destination country such as mountain hiking, dancing, dragon boating, etc. You will not only develop a new hobby, but you might meet amazing new friends. For expats will busy working schedules and don’t have time to attend these exercise classes, it is also encouraged to join gym during weekends.

  • Don’t Rush

Give yourself some time to settle in and don’t blame yourself on feeling lonely and missing home. It takes time to integrate in your new country. Accept your colleagues and neighbors’ invitation will help you ease the transition process. Many expat employers will have programs in place to help you and your expat spouse an children ease into your new life abroad.

Don’t Forget International Health Insurance 

Moving abroad for the first time is both exciting and sometime unnerving. Don’t let unexpected medical costs abroad worry you of your family when you make the big jump. It is important to choose a quality insurer when you live abroad for your global medical needs. Expat Financial offers many different international health insurance plans for expatriates across the world from large and respected insurers. We also offer excellent service before and after you purchase your international health insurance plan. Our firm is also very experienced in sourcing group plans for multinational firms with 2 or more expats.  If you have questions about our international medical insurance plans or you want to discuss your unique needs and produce a customized expat quote, please contact us or complete the quote form

global medical

When should you apply for international health insurance?

Moving abroad is one of the most important and exciting decisions you will ever make. Living abroad, either permanently or temporarily, can be a challenging and rewarding experience. To stay healthy and fit while living and working abroad, there are many health risks that you want to avoid. In fact, to better plan and prepare a safe journey before departure, one of the most important considerations would be an appropriate international health insurance plan. In this article, we will discuss steps that should be taken to apply for international health insurance before or after you have moved abroad.

Start Looking Early

Generally speaking, most insurance companies require health insurance application at least 30 to 45 days prior to departure. You should allow for a week or two for the health insurance underwriters to process your application, but also they need to check whether there is geographical exclusions that may apply depending on level of cover or due to a pre-existing medical condition. It is suggested future expatriates to start research your destination’s health care situation, and contact your employer and find out whether you are covered under employee benefit package.

Yes You Can Apply After You Move Abroad

Note that you can apply if you have already moved abroad – some people will purchase emergency travel medical insurance and then transition to a global health plan. Sometime you may simply want to move to another insurance company. Or you may be striking out on your own and have to leave your employer’s group expat benefit plan.

What to Look For in Global Medical Coverage?

International health insurance provides essential cover for inpatient, day patient care, accommodation costs, cancer care, mental health care, etc. The Cigna Gold and Platinum plans can also provide inpatient maternity care after a waiting period. The earlier you apply, the earlier that waiting period will be removed – which is key if you plan to have children when living abroad Some employee health insurance plans are focused on basic local coverage, and this is not applicable to expats who are internationally mobile. It is important for expatriates to obtain an appropriate international health insurance plan with flexible and comprehensive cover.

Doctor posing with a world globe.

What if You Have a Pre-existing Medical Condition?

There are many chronic medical conditions or pre-existing conditions that expats and their families may suffer from. The top 5 well-known chronic conditions are heart disease, arthritis, HIV, diabetes or depression. If expats with pre-existing medical conditions are travelling in a location where the healthcare facilities are substandard, it is all the more important to have full coverage. An untreated medical problem can quickly become serious. If you have a pre-existing medical condition, it is even more important that you apply as soon as possible. It will often take time to gather previous medical history and tests and the underwriters may have to write to your doctor to obtain additional information. This can all take a lot of time and you may not get a decision from the underwriter before you leave.

In many cases, pre-existing medical conditions should being placed on the group benefit plan prior to the effective date. Individual expatriate health insurance plans will either exclude previous medical condition, decline the application or raise the premium. However, we work global medical insurance companies who can provide full coverage for pre-existing medical conditions on the medical coverage for both the employees and dependents if the employer has more than 25 or 30 global employees – including both expats and local nationals. To learn more, please read our blog article “Expat Benefit Plans – Make sure pre-existing conditions are covered!

Talk to Expat Financial to Discuss Your Global Medical Insurance Needs

It makes sense to obtain a quote and apply as early as possible. It also is critical that you talk to an expatriate insurance expert that can discuss your requirements and provide quotes from a variety of global medical insurance providers based on your unique needs. We offer a variety of excellent global medical plans that can meet almost any need and budget. For more information and to review the plans that we offer, contact our office or visit our international health insurance page. If your organization has a group of two or more expatriate employees, our firm can source international group insurance plans.

How to obtain health insurance when teaching abroad

Teaching overseas is an exiting and rewarding journey for expat teachers around the world. There are many opportunities to teach English and other subjects in both public and private schools abroad. Many younger teachers will gain valuable work experience that will help their career when they come back to their home country. More experienced teachers may choose to work abroad to experience life abroad, especially in a more exotic country.

If you are teaching overseas for a year or more, it is important to consider adequate health insurance to cover both you and any dependents that may come with you. In this article, we will discuss health insurance options for expatriate teachers and introduce the differences between domestic health insurance and international medical coverage.

Why Should I get health insurance while teaching abroad?

Before teaching overseas, it is strongly recommended to do some research about your current health insurance plan and the healthcare situation in particular country where you are moving. Most local health insurance coverage in your destination country is designed to cover you locally it will not allow you to seek medical care overseas. Depending on which country you are going, in some less developed countries, the local medical facilities may not be up to the standard that you are used to. Therefore, obtaining appropriate medical coverage is very important.

 

Group or Personal Plans for Teachers

Many teachers will be offered to join a group plan offered by the school if one exists or is available. Expat Financial can source excellent group medical plans for schools and universities that provide both local and global medical coverage for the teaching and administration staff. Most teachers will naturally join the group plan that is offered. If your school is not offering a plan that you can join, then teachers should obtain an individual health plan to cover their emergency and out-patient medical needs.

Domestic Health Insurance V.S. International Medical Coverage

In most countries, the healthcare system is divided into two options: public medical care and private healthcare. If you are employed by an institution or an organization overseas, you are probably covered by adequate local healthcare system provided by your employer. However, to many expats living and working abroad, the local healthcare system is not the best choice. In Hong Kong, for example, health insurance is considered as part of expats’ benefit package. This is often referred to the public clinics and hospitals. Though the overall standard of public healthcare system is high in Hong Kong, the system is more focused on emergency care, not preventive healthcare. Also, the public medical system does not provide dental care. The private healthcare system is often chosen by many wealthy Hong Kong nationals and expatriates. This is not only because of its excellence in service and medical treatment, but also the flexibility of surgery bookings to many busy expatriates.

The cost of using private medical care is usually very high. Expat teachers living and working overseas who choose to opt for the private healthcare option should obtain international health insurance to cover emergency and/or out-patient medical costs. With an appropriate international medical plan, individual expats and their families are covered worldwide (except in the USA unless you add it as optional benefit). International health insurance plan provides day-patient care and full hospital coverage, extensive cancer coverage, maternity and baby care (conditions may apply), dental & vision care and international medical evacuation and repatriation. This is especially important for expats going to visit rural area in some less developed countries.

How do teachers lower your global medical premiums?

If expatriate teachers want to lower their health premiums, one can include a larger deductible or obtain a plan that will only cover in-patient expenses that are incurred in a hospital. Most global medical plans will offer three levels of coverage, such as Silver, Gold and Platinum with each plan offering a higher level of coverage and policy maximum. Some medical plans will include maternity care after a 12 month waiting period. 

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How to Obtain International Teacher Health Insurance?

Expat Financial can source global medical insurance plans for expatriate teachers that can provide excellent coverage and premiums. We have been offering teachers international health insurance coverage on an individual basis for many years. For more information, please check out our International Teacher Health Insurance page. 

If you are an international education institution and employing expatriates teachers, we can provide group medical plan quote for your teachers. Please click here for International School Insurance Solutions brochure. Contact us for plan details.

2017 Travel Destinations: Best of China for Expats & Visitors

Why international health insurance is critical in Beijing for expats

Beijing is the capital of China and is located in the northern China. It is a city that is well known for its cultural heritage sites such as the Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, Summer Palace, Ming Tombs and of course the Great Wall. Besides being the economic center in China, this fascinating city is home to many multinationals from abroad and local Chinese companies headquarters. Many firms are willing to bring in new expats from abroad with western education and experience. In this article, we will discuss healthcare in Beijing, why international health insurance is critical for expats and expatriate group insurance plans for international employers if wishing to open a market in Beijing.

Healthcare in Beijing

Generally speaking, the standard of healthcare system in Beijing is higher than in most cities within China. Since Beijing is the capital city of China with a large population, many well-known doctors and medical experts reside there. Many patients travel to Beijing just to see a well-known doctor in one of the many hospitals that are located there. Public hospitals in Beijing are not only serving local residents, but also patients come from all over the places in China. As a result, most public hospitals in Beijing are often overcrowded, with long waiting period and long line-ups. One should also note that the air pollution is a significant concern for both locals and expatriates in China. The health impacts of that pollution will impact the health of expatriates in Beijing and having medical coverage and preventative healthcare is critical.

Private hospitals and clinics are also available in Beijing. These private medical facilities usually have English speaking doctors and medical staff. Some of them are even expatriates from western countries. High end private international clinics such as Beijing United Family Hospital are one of the options for many foreigners. Such private medical firms are able to provide faster medical appointments and urgent medical treatment. Many private international clinics offer direct billing with global insurance companies, which is very convenient for expatriates living and working in Beijing. Therefore, most expats in Beijing would want to choose the city’s private medical centers.

The High Cost of Medical Care in Beijing & the Rest of China

Like most of China, private health treatment has become extremely expensive in Beijing, even rivaling the United States. Even at public hospitals with special foreign or VIP departments, medical costs are rising, according to recent reports. For example, an uncomplicated birthing procedure at private international clinics Beijing United Family Hospital costs between over $13,000 USD. The cost of one standard private hospital room can be thousands US dollar per night. In case of medical emergency, the costs are estimated to double or triple. Without an appropriate medical coverage plan, expatriates could end up with paying tens of thousands of US dollars or even more.

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Why International Health Insurance Is Critical For Expats In Beijing? 

Many expats working in Beijing may qualify for the local public health insurance system. However, the public health insurance plans does not meet most expat needs, especially if you want to get treated at a private facility or outside of China. As noted above, medical treatment fees in Beijing are relatively high and expats may find that they still need to pay a certain amount of co-payment when go to public hospitals.

For expats who prefer private hospitals and clinics, it is critical to obtain an international health insurance plan. A typical international health insurance plan will provide coverage options such as hospital coverageoutpatient treatment, medical emergency evacuation, routine health check-ups, dental & vision care and US coverage options. It will help you maintain your health and avoid financial risks while working and living in Beijing. It is also very important to have an international health insurance plan that provides international emergency evacuation and repatriation coverage. 

International Group Insurance Plans For Expatriate Employees in Beijing

While we can source individual medical plans for expats in Beijing and the rest of China, Expatriate group insurance plans are critical for international employers who wish to open an office in Beijing or already have expat employees there. An international group insurance plan for expats in Asia will usually include life insurance, health insurance, dental, evacuation and disability insurance to expatriate employees and even some key local nationals. It will not only protect expatriate employees in Beijing, but also will protect employer’s business as providing medical coverage is a key fiduciary responsibility. The international expat group insurance plans can be tailored to meet the needs of your employees working in Beijing so that your business objectives can be achieved. It is critical that that a global benefit plan cover pre-existing medical conditions and provide easy access and direct payment to the hospitals in the city and the rest of China. 

Get Insurance From Expat Financial for Beijing Expats

Expat Financial offers independent advice, solutions and ongoing service and support to clients around much of the world and we have extensive experience in sourcing medical cover for individual expats and expat employers in Beijing and the rest of China. We can source plans from large and secure global insurance companies with excellent global service and support. Our firm can offer a wide array of individual expat health insurance plans for expats China and even Chinese expatriates living overseas. If you have questions about our international medical insurance plans and expatriates group insurance plans or you want to discuss your needs and produce a customized quote, please contact us or complete the quote form. We look forward to hearing from you soon. 

Medical Insurance for trips to the USA is critical

Whether you are planning a short trip to the USA, an international student going for a summer course, or you are moving to the United States, it is vital to obtain medical insurance before departure. Medical costs in America are widely known to be the most expensive in the world. However, many visitors are to the USA will take the chance and not obtain travel medical coverage or simply forget. In this article, we will discuss the importance of visitor insurance and ways to obtain appropriate medical insurance when traveling to America.

The Importance of Visitor Health Insurance When in the USA

There is basically no universal or free healthcare in the United States. In March 2010, President Obama passed the Affordable Care Act (ACA), commonly referred to as “Obamacare”, intended to expand healthcare coverage in the USA. However, medical expenses are still about twice as much as many other developed countries. There are a variety of reasons, but is at least partially because of the high administrative costs, drug prices, mix of medical treatments, etc…

We have all heard stories of people who have traveled to the United States for a short trip and after suffering a major accident or illness been faced with a extremely large medical bill that is in the hundreds of thousands or even over a million. In fact, recently a Canadian couple were in California and were both hit by a car. Unfortunately the husband died at the scene and the wife suffered catastrophic injuries that exceeded her $500,000 travel medical insurance policy. Another reason to check if your policy has a large policy limit.

It is also important for international visitors and new immigrants to obtain health insurance before going to the USA for short or long trips.

Short Term Visitors to the USA

Travel medical insurance plans are often suitable for international visitors staying 5 days to 12 months in the USA and we do offer some excellent plans with a variety of policy maximums and several deductible choices. A typical travel medical plan for trips to the USA will often include medical benefits such as  hospital room stays, x-rays, ICU care, emergency drug cover, accidental dental,emergency evacuation & repatriation. Policy details and the web application are available online. If you want, you can obtain a quote and purchase coverage online. We recommend that you purchase a comprehensive travel medical plan with as high a policy maximum as you can obtain. More details on the policies we offer at our travel insurance page.  For companies sending employees abroad for business, it is their duty to make sure that their business travel medical plan fully covers their employees globally, especially when going to the USA. 

Long Term Stays in the USA

If you are a non-US citizen and you plan to reside in the United States, you will need to obtain an international health insurance plan that will provide comprehensive medical treatment including hospitals in-patient and out-patient coverage, international medical evacuation, vision and dental coverage in the USA. If you are an expatriate living or traveling to the USA, you should obtain adequate international health insurance coverage. If you become eligible for a local health plan in the United States, you should apply for it. Note that the local plans will most likely not cover treatment outside of the USA or when you travel abroad. If you are an American living overseas and you plan to go back to the USA for a short trip, make sure your expat health plan fully covers you for treatment and/or short trips in the United States. If you are an American who plans to permanently move back to the United States, you will have to obtain a local health plan in the USA.

travel insurance

Do You Have Questions? 

If you have questions about our international medical insurance plans or you want to discuss your needs and produce a customized quote, please contact us or complete the quote form  as you may want to make sure that you are indeed fully covered when visiting the USA for short or long term stays. 

 

How to find a doctor while living abroad

Before moving or traveling overseas, it is important to get to know more about the health services at your destination country. This especially important for people with chronic medical conditions or people who will stay in a foreign country for a long period of time. In this article, we will discuss how to find a doctor while living abroad and tips to prepare for medical care before and after departure.

Ways to Find Medical Facilities Abroad

Research Hospitals: We recommend that expats and travellers research destination country’s medical information and hospitals online and contact them if you require medical attention during your stay. Especially for expats who have pre-existing medical conditions such as heart disease, arthritis, HIV, diabetes and depression. When living abroad, most expats will want to use private hospitals and clinics, especially in countries where local government medical systems are underdeveloped or not available for expatriates. Expats also prefer private medical facilities because of their excellent treatment and high level of medical service. Compared to public hospitals’ long queues and waits, many private hospitals not only have English speaking staff and well-trained doctors, but also the flexibility treatment bookings to suit expats’ schedules. It should also be noted that most private medical facilities provide better accommodations and services for expatriates.

The cost of private medical treatment can vary significantly between country to country. In many nations, uninsured medical costs can cause a financial burden to many foreign patients. Therefore, it is vital for expats obtain an international health insurance plan that can cover both emergency and non-urgent medical costs.

Researching Doctors While Living Abroad: In addition to hospital search, it is suggested that expats research doctors online in their destination country as well. Please keep in mind that you will want to select doctors who can speak your language. Many embassy sites in your destination country will provide doctor services information. For example, many US embassy web sites in foreign countries will have a list of international physicians and doctors. It is also recommended that expat patients with medical needs should contact their embassy before they go abroad.

Aside from a web search, another great source for expatriates living abroad is to check with their international health insurance provider’s web site as it will often provide a list of medical doctors and hospitals that are in the insurer’s medical network. This may even allow for direct reimbursement of the costs without the expat having to pay out of pocket for medical claims. It is vital that expatriates and expat employers obtain medical coverage with an expat insurance company that has a large medical network that will provide fast and efficient payment of claims while living abroad.

How to Prepare in Advance

In case of medical emergency, some healthcare facilities may be unsatisfactory in underdeveloped countries or for expats working and living in rural areas. Expats and visitors can follow these simple points to make sure you and your family members are properly prepared while living abroad:

  • Bring any medications you may need while living abroad and make sure the bottles are properly labeled.
  • Always consult a doctor if you need to find a replacement medicine or prescription in your destination country.
  • Carry your global health insurance card with you, as well as your international health insurance company contacts and policy number.
  • Check if the local doctor can write and speak English or your native language.
  • A written document that identifies your blood type, any chronic illness and allergies in local language. This really helps in case of medical emergency.
  • Make sure your international health insurance plan has medial emergency evacuation coverage.
  • Wear your medical information bracelet if you have an underlying medical condition
  • Embassy contact information for your destination country.

Obtain International Health Insurance Before Departure

The cost of preventive healthcare at many private medical facilities is expensive, especially in more developed countries. Local healthcare packages for expats may include some very basic medical coverage, but those plans usually do not cover preventive healthcare expenses or give you access to advanced private care. With a tailored international health insurance from a company such as Cigna, expats can be covered internationally – including medical emergency evacuation and repatriation, preventive healthcare expenses, hospitalization and treatments and medicines. The peace of mind of knowing that you and your family access to the best healthcare is very important for individual expatriates and their employers. 

If you have questions about our international medical insurance plans or you want to discuss your needs and produce a customized quote, please contact us or complete the quote form

 

 

Hong Kong International Health Insurance Options

International health insurance in Hong Kong is very important to consider when moving to this city, which is one of the world’s most successful financial centers and offers an exiting array of culture and excitement for expatriates in this vibrant Asian city. In this article, we will discuss how Hong Kong international health insurance is vital for locals, travelers and expatriates in one of the most  prosperous international business areas in AsiaHong Kong is within a few hours’ flight from all major cities such as Beijing, Tokyo, Seoul and Singapore in Southeast Asia. Hong Kong has advanced medical care system, education, international cuisine and active lifestyle  that helps attract many expatriates of different countries from all over the world each year. When in Hong Kong it is important to keep healthy and active, so we will introduce the healthcare system in Hong Kong and health insurance options for locals, travelers and expats.

Healthcare in Hong Kong

Public System: The standard of healthcare in Hong Kong is generally considered as one of the best health systems in Asia. Most healthcare is government operated and managed by HK Health Authority. There are approximately 56 hospitals in Hong Kong, of which 12 are private and 44 are public. Public hospitals are equipped with advanced facilities and well-trained medical staff, while the cost to Hong Kong ID card holders are minimal and affordable. For the most part, the public system is more geared to emergency care, not preventive healthcare. There is also usually less choice, especially with regard to doctors. The one thing the public system does not provide is dental care. Therefore, expatriates seeking dental treatment must take out international health insurance plan to cover the medical cost.

Private System:  Private hospitals are often chosen by Hong Kong nationals and expatriates because of their high level of service and excellent treatment, without long waits and queues. Private facilities in the city will also provide flexible surgery bookings to suit expats’ s schedules along with more deluxe accomodations and services. You may have to pay more when a surgery is performed outside regular hours. However, the cost of using private medical facilities can be quite high. It is important that expats moving to Hong Kong should obtain international health insurance coverage before departure. Many expats in Hong Kong will add optional dental care for their family.

expat healthcare if critical

Health Cover for Visiting Hong Kong as a Traveler

A visa for Hong Kong is not required for tourists from more than 160 countries within staying from 7 to 180 days. Medical payments are usually using cash in public hospitals. As travelers don’t have Hong Kong ID card, they will need to pay private hospital rates when using public hospitals. For example, the cost for an emergency visit at public hospitals can be HK$120 with ID card, but could be HK$600 as a traveler without one. Many travelers tend to use private healthcare facilities for treatment under emergency situations. It is important to obtain emergency travel medical insurance with medical evacuation coverage if traveling to Hong Kong from another country that will provide payment for medical treatment via a large network of hospitals.

Global Health Insurance for People Living and Working in Hong Kong 

As a well established international financial center, many expatriates working in trade and finance related professions in Hong Kong. Some expat employers may provide health plan with basic coverage, but it probably won’t provide much coverage beyond HK or Asia. However, this is often inadequate when apply to private medical facilities. Additional private medical insurance plan is required to cover your stay. Many expats should also obtain global life and disability insurance coverage. Our most popular global medical plan for Hong Kong is the Cigna Global Health Options plan and it can be offered to both expatriates and local Hong Kong nationals. It offers coverage from a very large, secure and respected global insurance company with many hundreds of thousands of expatriates coverage around the world. You can choose in-patient only or add out-patient medical coverage to include items such as check-ups and tests done outside a hospital setting. 

International Health Insurance Solutions in Hong Kong 

Expat Financial offers several international health insurance plans for expatriates and even local nationals living and working in Hong Kong. We offer plans from several different international health insurance companies that are designed for foreign nationals living outside the country for which they hold a passport or some local national living outside US or Canada. We also offer excellent service before and after you purchase your international health insurance plan. If you have questions about our international medical insurance plans or you want to discuss your needs and produce a customized quote, please contact us or complete the quote form.

Road accidents in Thailand are a big risk for expats

Thailand is bustling and vibrant country at the heart of South-East Asia. There are many beautiful beaches and historic temples in Thailand. As a popular expat destination, Thailand has much to offer anyone when on the beach or traveling the country on many roads and highways. However, according to a recent article in the BBC news, 478 people lost their lives on the roads in just seven days over the New Year period in 2017. Unfortunately, like many developing countries, road accidents in Thailand are a big risk for expats. In this article, we will briefly review the high incidence of road accidents in Thailand, road safety tips for expats and how this higher risk highlights the importance of having global medical insurance in Thailand.

Road Accidents in Thailand 

According to a 2015 World Health Organization report, Thailand’s road death rate is one of the highest in the world. In fact, on Jan.2, 2017, a public van lost control and collided on a highway and 25 people were killed in the crash, as reported by many news organizations. Between December 29 and Jan. 3, 478 people died in 3,327 accidents according to by the Department of Land Transport. It has also been reported that road accidents involving tourists and expatriates in Thailand are quite common. In fact, the World Health Organization reports that there were 36 road related traffic deaths a year per 100,000 people in 2015. The British foreign office in 2013 even launched a road safety campaign to cut the number of UK expats injured and killed while living abroad, especially in countries such as Thailand.

As reported by the Vancouver Province, in January 2017, two Canadian women traveling in Thailand were involved in a car accident in Thailand. One died and the other suffered severe injuries and did not have any travel medical insurance. She is now faced with large medical bills.

One of the main reasons of road accidents in Thailand is speeding. However, other factors such as the rise of population, congestion in urban centers and highways, too many cars and vehicles in cities, etc. are all causes of road death. Luckily, the Thai government is implementing new road and safety projects and high-rise roads to improve the traffic conditions. In Thailand, many of the deaths and injuries involve scooters and motorcycles.

expat healthcare if critical

How to Increase Road Safety as an Expat in Thailand 

As a popular international destination, there are many expats choose to work and retire in Thailand. Just because there are more frequent road accidents doesn’t mean you should not enjoy life in Thailand. Here are some common sense road safely tips for expatriates in Thailand:

  • If you want to drive in Thailand, it is advised that always follow the legal speed limit.
  • Keep a certain distance with motorcycles – their speed is faster than you think.
  • When crossing road intersections, don’t rush to pass.
  • If you need to ride a motorbike or bicycle, wearing helmet is mandatory, but not usually enforced. However, it is well recommended as motorcycle accidents make up 70% of all road accidents in Thailand.
  • Expats living in Thailand should take extra care when walking in the city.
  • Your risks of a road accident increase when you ride or travel at night, so try to use the roads during the day.
  • Avoid riding quad bikes as they can be dangerous and illegal.
  • Check out the UK Foreign Office web site for Road Safety Overseas.
  • Before you enter Thailand and travel the roads, make sure you are covered for international health insurance. Make sure your health plan covers you if you are riding a motorcycle.

Railay beach, Krabi. Thailand

Medical Facilities in Thailand 

In major cities such as Bangkok of Thailand, the standard of medical facilities is generally quite good. Both public and private hospitals are available in Thailand. The public hospitals have good standard of medical care and used by the majority of Thai nationals. However, expats will want to skip the long queue of public hospitals and use private medical facilities with English speaking medical staff. If you are traveling the roads in more rural areas, the medical care you receive in the event of a road or pedestrian accident may be substandard. According to the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, many private hospitals in Thailand are equivalent to western standards. Although the cost of medical treatment is reasonable in Thailand, expats should obtain international health insurance with medical emergency coverage before departure in the case of emergencies.

Obtain International Health Insurance in Thailand 

As one of the most visited country in Southeast Asia, Thailand is popular destination for expat worldwide. In 2016, a man from BC was visiting Thailand and while traveling by scooter he was run over by a large truck. Barely clinging to life with severe injuries, he barely survived. The Canadian did not have adequate medical coverage and his hospital bills quickly ran up to over $170,000 USD. This is an unfortunate reminder of the importance of international health insurance for expats living in Thailand.

If you are planning to work, live and retire in Thailand, most expatriates will want to obtain an international health insurance plan that will cover medical treatment in Thailand, but also globally. A good plan should not only cover accidents, but also illnesses. Expatriates in Thailand should make sure that their plan includes medical evacuation and repatriation coverageExpat Financial can source international health insurance for expatriates in Thailand from large and respected international insurance companies. If you are traveling the roads and highways in Thailand, contact us today for a quote and to discuss your Thailand expatriate insurance requirements.