Global medical insurance or international health insurance coverage is a must for individuals and families planning to work, live, retire and study abroad. Global medical insurance premiums can be a significant expense for people living overseas, especially if you have a family. However, there are some ways to lower your premiums while still offering first class access to international medical care when you need it most. In this article, we’ll thoroughly provide five tips on how to keep your premiums as low as possible.

International Hospitals in the Middle East

What Does an International Health Insurance Policy Cover?

International health insurance is a type of insurance that is designed to cover the costs of private medical treatment for expatriates overseas. As a foreign national living and working abroad, expats will not be covered by free healthcare in the country where they are residing.

Comprehensive health insurance offers full coverage for all of your medical needs. Generally speaking, a standard international health insurance plan usually includes:

  • In-patient hospital coverage
  • Day-patient care
  • Emergency treatment
  • Extensive cancer coverage
  • Out-patient care
  • International medical evacuation & repatriation
  • Dental & vision (optional)
  • Maternity coverage (optional)

Global medical insurance plans come with different premiums that depend on a variety of factors.

Five Tips on Lowering Your Health Insurance Premiums When Living Abroad

Below are ways to keep your premium low while obtaining the most appropriate global coverage:

1. Increasing Deductibles & Coinsurance

The deductible is a specified amount of money that the insured must pay before an insurance company will pay a claim. If you agree to accept some of the expenses of your healthcare claims, you will be offered a discounted premium. For example, if your plan’s deductible is $1,500, you will pay for all your medical and pharmacy bills until the amount reaches $1,500. Some plans will also include the option to have coinsurance, which is where you pay 10 or 20% of the claim and the insurer pays the balance. Most plans will have a maximum out of pocket that you will pay in coinsurance costs during a policy year.

2. Choosing to Exclude Coverage in the US 

International health insurance offers medical coverage all around the globe. However, most plans will either include or exclude medical treatment in the USA, which is probably the most expensive place to obtain medical treatment. Choosing to exclude medical coverage in the US will lower your premium significantly. The Cigna global medical plan we offer will only charge a slight premium for USA coverage if you are a US citizen.

3. Payment Method

At some insurance companies, paying premiums quarterly or monthly are generally more expensive than paying full annual premium up front. For example, at Allianz Partners, premiums paid quarterly are typically 4% more expensive and can be 5% more if you choose to pay monthly.

4. Leaving out Extra Medical Options

Dental plans, maternity plans and out-patient plans are a number of extras added on to your plan to meet your family’s specific needs. For example, Cigna Global Health Options offer the flexibility of additional modules such as international outpatient, international vision & dental, international health & well being and medical evacuation to build your custom plan. Some plans will charge extra if you want maternity coverage, which has a 12 month waiting period. In some countries dental and out-patient medical costs can be very low, so you may wish to to self-insure these expenses.

5. Level of Medical Coverage

Generally speaking, health insurance plans can be organized into 3 to 4 coverage levels with increasing benefit maximums and coverage options. For instance, for the Cigna plan we offer, Platinum plans are suitable for those who will use a lot of health services, Gold for mid-level care and a Silver plan is a good option if you are regularly using healthcare services and taking medications.

It is important to choose a quality insurer when you live abroad for your global medical needs. As with most things, you get what you pay for. If you pay a higher premium, you will almost always get better coverage. It’s all about what level of risk you want to carry on your shoulders.

Our firm offers many different international health insurance plans for expatriates of any nationality across the world. 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.

For more information, please view our video “How to lower your health insurance premiums”: