Choosing between a Local or Global Health Insurance Plan as an Expat
Expatriates who are moving overseas will often opt into purchasing a local health plan from the government or a private insurer. Some countries, regardless of your own coverage, may require you to purchase the local coverage care. And it can be inadequate for your needs. Most local plans will be inexpensive and some can potentially be quite good.
Reasons to purchase a global health insurance over a local plan for expats
However, if you are moving overseas there are five reasons why we recommend expats to purchase global health insurance plan:
As an expatriate living abroad, opting into a local health plan may limit your portability. It also restricts access to medical care in cases of relocation. Are you moving to a new destination? Are you not consistently in one primary country? Then, you will want to have access to a health care plan that matches your requirements. A global health insurance plan may also include coverage for business travel and traveling for pleasure. Global health insurance plans are especially important for expat employers that employ mobile employees globally.
Local health plans may be deficient
Many expatriates find that local health care plans are not sufficient for their standards. One proven benefit for expats is the ability to get medical care with a large network of hospitals and clinics. Many local plans will have a small network, in which you have to receive your care. Global health care plans tend to have a much larger network. You have the ability to access medical care from outside network hospitals with approval from the insurer.
Local health facilities may be substandard and not up to western standards
The quality of medical care and facility capabilities vary greatly from one country to another. In some countries, the standards of medical facilities may be much lower than those in Western countries. If you are an expat located in a second or third world country, the medical standards may not be up to standards in which you are accustomed to. Medical care that is not up to your usual standards may be passable for check-ups and basic care. However, it will not be adequate for any procedures that require a specialist or any form of intensive care.
However, it is not only in third world countries that you will want to consider a global health plan. Even in developed countries, having a global health plan in place will help in a time of emergency, and explain how to deal with medical emergency coverage when times of need require it. It will also have the added benefit of providing you and your family with an accurate direction and alleviate panic at all times.
Local plans won’t cover you for treatment outside of that country
The difficulty with local plans is that once you have left the country, your local plan may be canceled out. While being an expat often encompasses a certain amount of international travel, you will want to ensure that you are covered upon leaving your main destination. Another difficulty that comes along with local health care coverage is if you do decide to relocate, there may be a lapse in coverage or necessary waiting periods for coverage between the two regions. This may become detrimental in your protection if you are traveling in high-risk zones.
You may need or want to seek treatment back home or regionally
Although local health plans may be tempting for expatriates, local health plans are not designed for expats, but in reality, are designed for local natives. If you are wanting to obtain medical coverage back in your home country, you will no longer be covered under your local health care plan. You may also require medical evacuation coverage in cases that local hospitals are not able to treat you adequately. Evacuation coverage is a crucial feature of any expatriate insurance plan.
Expats are often portable, so it is vital that you have a global health insurance plan that will cover you if you move from one country to another. It is important to note that most expat health providers are not able to renew their coverage should you move back to your home country or spend more than 6 months in your country of citizenship. It is important that you check your requirements and fine print when you apply online for a global health plan.
Expat Financial offers a variety of international insurance health insurance plans on a group or individual basis. To maximize your expat experience and avoid unforeseen risks and costs, please contact us today to discuss your international insurance needs and requirements. Toll-free number: 1-800-232-9415 or email [email protected]