While out-patient coverage is not always covered in a plan, every health insurance plan covers in-patient overseas treatment and the insured person having inpatient coverage can select any hospital and doctor or surgeon they want. If you require out-patient, dental or maternity care, make sure you are covered as it will likely require additional costs.

What is inpatient care for expats & global nomads?

Inpatient care often refers to medical services that require admission into a hospital setting. Generally such treatment will involve an overnight stay or treatment in the hospital for more serious matters that can’t be treated on an out-patient setting or at your doctor’s office. More often these are serious conditions of an urgent nature that require the significant resources of a hospital setting. Most hospital admissions will come through the emergency department, but often complex surgeries have to be done at a hospital and will necessitate using your in-patient hospital coverage.

Inpatient care is broken into two parts: the facility fee and costs related to the surgeon or physician. Note that hospital stays in many private or even public hospitals will be quite expensive, especially in countries such as the UK, Hong Kong, China and of course, the United States.

Benefits of Hospital Coverage for Insured Nomads?

Buying excellent international medical coverage with hospital coverage will help provide the following benefits:

  • Peace of mind
  • Financial protection from a large hospital bill in the event of a medical emergency
  • Access to private medical care in emergencies

We find that having hospital coverage when living abroad can provide a lot of relief for global nomads.

Can I Choose Any Hospital I Want?

Generally yes for most global medical plans. You can choose any hospital you wish, but in some cases in the USA you may have to pay a higher coinsurance maximum or deductible if you go outside the insurer’s medical network. If you are getting hospital care abroad outside of the USA and that facility is outside the insurer’s network, you or the hospital can often request a guarantee of payment letter by calling the 24/7 emergency line of the insurance company you purchased your coverage with. You can view a list of hospitals in various countries via our Regional Hospital Page.

What Should I do if I Need InPatient Care?

Well if you need urgent medical attention it is vital that you seek it ASAP. Delaying medical treatment can have serious consequences and you should go to the nearest hospital possible. If you are able to go to a hospital that is in the expat health provider’s network, that would be advisable. As noted above, if you are outside their network, you should be able to get a GOP (guarantee of payment) for an eligible treatment. It is important to advise the health insurer of your treatment and have a good line of communication between the hospital and the insurance company. You may also receive valuable advice, treatment support and even a second opinion from the insurer along with direct reimbursement if required. If you can’t be adequately treated at the hospital, then a medical evacuation or transfer may be necessary, which is why we advise many expats to get medical evacuation coverage.

Is Hospital In-Patient Coverage Necessary?

Yes inpatient medical coverage is often the base coverage that expats and global nomads need to purchase as a base coverage. We find that many expats will get in-patient medical plans only because that is where the highest medical costs are often incurred and they may choose to pay out-patient expenses on their own.

Inpatient coverage usually includes:Inpatient coverage

  • Ambulance fare
  • Doctors hospital fees
  • In-patient medicine
  • Private hospital room
  • Intensive care facilities
  • Medical tools and prostheses
  • Surgery and anesthesia
  • In-patient x-rays, MRI and other medical tests
  • Out-patient treatment in the hospital

The level of hospital coverage will depend on the policy. Some expat health plans have two or three levels of coverage, such as the Cigna Global Health Options plan, which has Silver, Gold and Platinum levels. Other plans will include out-patient care as an add-on or include it in their base policy. In general, most out-patient expenses are a lot lower than inpatient care.