Check the Fine Print When Shopping for Expat Health Insurance

Check the Fine Print When Shopping for Expat Health Insurance

Comparing the different expatriate health insurance plans can be very time consuming and confusing. There are many different plans offered by a variety of expatriate insurance providers. Many expatriates have the following questions: Do you have questions about shopping for expat health insurance?  Do you wonder why some plans seem the same in quality and price? Or why others have a much larger price and what the difference is? It’s easy to miss the finer details in the small print of some plans.

Here are some important tips on what to look out for and to make sure your international health insurance can cover:

Chronic Illnesses:

Usually these conditions will not be covered by insurers. If such conditions occur, later on, the prices for the level of coverage you previously purchased can fluctuate drastically, depending on your insurance carrier. It is vital that you are certain that you know what your coverage includes because prices can rise alarmingly.

Medical History:

Pre-existing conditions, current or past are usually not covered or reduced in coverage by most insurance companies. Your broker needs to know if you would like to see if specific conditions can be covered. They can then get to work on attempting to find an insurer and plan that can cover you. Expat Financial does offer some expat health plans which can cover a pre-existing medical condition if it is disclosed, underwritten and approved by the insurer. The carrier may decline to cover you, excluded the condition or cover it for little or no extra cost.

Areas of Coverage:

Make sure you know where you are covered. Many plans will not provide coverage in the United States or may include for a higher premium. Finer details need to be specified and will cost far more. Some emergency coverage can sometimes be granted in the US for a limited duration. If you plan to travel to the US, you need to know the specifics. Take some peace of mind in the knowledge of the locations and durations of where you are covered. Some insurers may only offer protection in certain areas of Europe and Asia, for example.

Policy Limits:

Some plans have low overall policy maximums while other plans offer an unlimited annual or lifetime maximum. Some of the benefits, especially for out-patient claims such as seeing a specialist MD, will have a maximum benefit amount. It is recommended that you obtain a plan with a large overall maximum if your budget allows.

Range of Benefits:

Overall, the benefits of annual plans can be great regardless of the insurer unless you have purchased a cheaper plan. Be warned, however, that some insurers do not give as much coverage in certain areas. They can differ in their coverage of Medical Aids, HIV/Aids treatment, Psychiatry, Physiotherapy, Alternative Medicine, Organ Transplants, Private Room/Semi-Private Room, Evacuation or Repatriation coverage and so forth. Some may not cover any of these, depending on your plan. Avoid misfortune by ensuring that you have all bases covered. Contact Expat Financial for more information on the range of benefits for your expatriate health plan.


In-Patient Only versus In-Patient & Out-Patient coverage. Depending on your choice, the costs can differ greatly. Selecting In-Patient only will usually cover you just for hospitalization that requires at least one overnight stay. Some expats who live in regions where out-patient costs are low will obtain an in-hospital only plan.


Some expat plans will offer optional coverage for dental, vision and travel related expenses. Expat Financial recommends that you obtain the evacuation rider, which may or may not be included in the policy. Evacuation expenses can be extremely high, especially from a remote region.

You will receive your insurance certification soon after having paid the premium for your plan. Make sure to check this documentation to ensure that you have been covered for all your specifications and no special exclusions have been tacked on. Certain insurers can be lax at outlining their specific policies during the application and underwriting phases of your plan. Be sure to go over your new plan certification and documents whenever it is renewed because insurers are free to amend changes during this time. This rarely happens, but you or your broker at Expat Financial can check. You can obtain quotes for several different global medical insurance plans online.

It pays to talk to an expatriate insurance specialist at Expat Financial to obtain a plan which meets your needs and budget. Obtaining a quote is both easy, and some plans are even offered online. Expat Financial offers plans from a variety of providers, including BUPA, Cigna, IMG, William Russell and Interglobal.