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10 Things to Consider When Buying Global Health Insurance

Ten Things to Consider When Buying Global Health Insurance

Purchasing global health insurance is a big decision and choosing the right coverage and the insurance company is both difficult and daunting for most expatriates. There are lots of insurance terms that you may not be familiar with and of course the fine print. Global healthcare is quite different from domestic policies and some expats come from countries with universal healthcare or they were covered by their parents or employer’s plans, so they may not have purchased individual health insurance before. That is why we have put together a list of seven things you should consider when buying global health insurance coverage:

1. Do You Require Portable Coverage?

Most expatriates will move from one country to another so it is crucial that your global health plan allows you to move from one region or country to another. Note that you need to advise the insurance provider of the move as the country of residence impacts your renewal rates.

2. Does the Insurer Have a Large Medical Network?

It is important for expats to choose a global health insurance provider with an extensive medical network so you don’t have to pay out of pocket when you need claim. The convenience and speed of showing your card to a hospital are invaluable. Note that you will need to check via the insurer’s website to find a provider that is in their network. If outside the network, you can call the insurance company and ask for a guarantee of payment (GOP) letter to be faxed or emailed to the hospital OR simply pay out of pocket

3. Does the Provider Have a 24/7 Support Line?

Your global health plan is useless if you don’t have a provider who can service it for you. A 24/7 emergency line is a must for any global health plan. You should also be able to access their online customer portal to access policy information and submit claims.

Health Insurance Worldwide

4. Are You Working With an Expat Insurance Expert?

Understanding and discussing your global healthcare needs with an experienced global health insurance broker is critical in deciding which plan & options to pick. Your local broker or agent will have no understanding or contacts so it makes sense to work with a specialist firm such as Expat Financial, a division of TFG Global Insurance Solutions Ltd.. We work with all the large and well-known providers and the rates, coverage and direct service from the insurer are the same regardless. We don’t charge a fee as we are compensated by the insurer and you have an independent advocate on your site. Learn more about the advantages HERE.

5. What is the Reputation of the Global Insurer?

It also makes sense to ask your expat insurance broker about the reputation and capabilities of the global health insurance company. Are they good at paying claims and dealing with clients? Will they be around when you need it?

6. Do You Need Coverage for Life?

Some plans will only cover you until age 65  or 75, so if you plan to live abroad for life or you are retiring abroad, it is crucial that you obtain a global health plan that can cover you for life as long as you remain an expatriate. Both the Cigna and Allianz plans are great for this purpose.

Medical Insurance

7. Do You Only Require Hospital Coverage?

Some expats we talk to just want hospital only coverage that will just cover claims incurred at a hospital. They only want emergency-only coverage, but also covering claims that need a hospital stay. Expats often wish to save money by self-insuring out-patient claims, especially in countries where such costs are minimal. We do recommend that you get medical evacuation option, especially in developing countries. Some people purchase travel medical insurance if they are keeping their healthcare back home and only going abroad for a short period of time.

8. Is USA Coverage Needed?

If you are an American expat, you will almost certainly want to be able to obtain medical care in the United States. Also, if you are residing in a country near the USA and local health services are lacking, it makes sense to consider including the USA coverage option. An expat residing in the USA will be required to include USA coverage for obvious reasons. Including coverage for the USA will increase your premiums.

9. How Much Will Premiums Increase?

The cost of insurance increases with age so consider this when buying global health insurance. Also, the inflation rate for global healthcare often runs around 8% per year depending on the insurer and their pool of clients.

10. Will My Pre-existing Medical Conditions Be Covered?

Many expatriates will have a pre-existing medical or chronic condition and these have to be declared when applying for your global health plan. Failure to disclose may lead to your claim and policy being canceled. Individual expat health plans are individually underwritten and if you have a pre-existing medical condition, the insurer will either decline to cover you outright, exclude the condition or ask for a premium loading. Sometimes you can ask to have the rating or exclusion removed after a few years depending on your condition. A broker such as our firm can provide assistance on this.

A Final Word About Buying International Health Insurance Plans

Global health insurance is vital if you will be moving abroad, so make sure sure you buy global healthcare when you live abroad. Most expats will have lots of questions. We can provide our unbiases advice and support so please contact us to learn more.

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Global Nomads

9 Questions To Ask Before You Become An Expat

9 Important Questions To Ask Before You Become An Expat

Planning to kick-start your journey as an expatriate? Still confused about deciding to settle abroad? Moving to a foreign country on a short-term or long-term basis is in no way an easy choice to make. Your international assignment is a big step in your career, life or even retirement. You may even be going abroad for a few years for extended travel. To make the most of your days on foreign soil, asking yourself a few questions will certainly help. Here are 9 questions to ask before you become an expat living abroad, or even if you have already moved offshore to your dream destination:

1. Where do you want to move to?

Similar to purchasing property, location is a major factor when you are planning to move abroad. Your research about a particular place should help you ascertain whether your expectations as an expat are reasonable. Check out various expat guides online or read what the expats have to say about a particular destination in the bulletin boards. Embracing a career opportunity in a place that doesn’t suit your lifestyle or health may pose several challenges during your stay there.

2. What is motivating you to go abroad?

Some of the reasons why you are motivated to move abroad may include career and financial growth, better lifestyle, lower cost of living, suitable weather, etc. As an expat, you would be investing a lot of time and money, so make sure that you get good returns on all your efforts.

Leaving Abroad

3. Can you communicate in the local language?

If you can’t speak in the local language, learning a few key phrases to at least exchange pleasantries in first-time interactions before you reach your destination can be helpful. After arriving, you can go the whole hog for language classes. Imagine mingling with the locals by speaking their native language. You will surely feel accepted in a new location which you can call your second home once you learn that language well enough.

4. What will be your tax liabilities when living abroad?

Knowing the accurate taxation policies of your expat destination will help you to be better prepared to manage your finances. For instance, a professional in Japan have to pay up to 45% of his salary as tax. Taxation policies may vary from country to country. However, US citizens will have to pay tax no matter where they live and work. It is important to talk to an expat tax advisor if you are moving abroad to discuss your global tax requirements.

Health Insurance

5. Did you purchase International Health Insurance?

OK, we are a bit biased when it comes to the importance of international health insurance. We can’t overstate how critical it is to get global healthcare if you are living abroad. The news and internet are littered with stories about people who moved or traveling abroad without health coverage and were stuck with large medical expenses. You can get a quote for global healthcare quite easily and you can even apply online.

6. Are you capable of handling any emergency, including a sudden move back home?

Your stay abroad should be planned carefully and wisely. Having sufficient money during your overseas visit will help you enjoy a hassle-free time in a foreign country. You can leave some cash in your native place and use it as a financial lifeline to fall back on if required. You can also rent or lease out your property until you are sure about settling abroad forever.

7. How do you motivate your partner and/or children to migrate?

Living life as an expat may be exciting and fruitful for you. However, your family members may not share the same enthusiasm and be motivated enough to relocate. Let them know the positives of being an expat and help them strike a rapport with diverse communities that suit their interests. Learn more about expat kids.

8. Are local healthcare services reliable or do you need private insurance?

Many countries offer excellent healthcare to expatriates, while others offer nothing at all. You would need international health insurance to ensure that you are fit and healthy in a foreign land. Check out the cost of obtaining a new global health insurance plan and see whether it is affordable after your new salary package.

 

9. How will you deal with common obstacles to moving abroad?

There can be many obstacles in your path of being a global nomad. Obvious obstacles include money crunch, work permits, visa, certifications, etc. The hurdles may seem tough to overcome, but proper planning will help you handle every challenging situation. Reach out to people who you feel can bail you out of difficult times.

Next Steps for Expats

After going through these 9 Questions to ask before you become an expat and if you have convincing answers to the questions above, you can plan a nomadic lifestyle in your dream destination. Expat life may not be glamorous for everyone. However, basic steps like going for international health insurance may ensure a happy expat life. Expat Financial can help you make your experience memorable as an expat.

Couple Abroad

6 Challenges for Expatriates Living Abroad

 Six Challenges for Expatriates Living Abroad

Living on foreign soil with unknown faces around may pose many challenges to an expat, especially those who have left behind the luxury of family support and a convenient lifestyle. No matter how mentally strong you are, the challenges that you face while living abroad can make life difficult. Everyone thinks that you won’t get at least some “culture shock”, but it happens to everyone.

If you cope with the issues with utmost determination and will, living overseas can be an enjoyable experience that you can cherish forever. Here are the top 6 challenges that you may face during your overseas stay:

1. Inadequate Personal Support

Leaving behind friends and family for greener pastures can turn out to be a curse. If you are moving abroad, you need to take the initiative of sharing news, being in touch, and asking your loved ones for mental support. In today’s fast-paced world, even social networking can’t replace one-on-one interactions with people who really matter. Despite the distance, messenger services like Viber, WhatsApp, and Skype can be used to enjoy some face-to-face time with those who you really care for. Check out our Social page for more info.

2. Worries About Future Finances

Tensions regarding future finances can dampen your mood and desire to settle in a foreign land. Before you decide to start an expat life, it is important that you plan your future finances well in advance. Keeping yourself secure through adequate bank balance will assist you in living a stress-free expat life. If you are still unprepared, it would be better to revisit your plan and make the move when you have sufficient resources for those rainy days. Anxieties about future finances will lead you nowhere. If you are an expat, make sure you adequate life and disability insurance coverage.

3. Building Relationships Can be Difficult

It is a reality that living abroad without a partner can be difficult for various reasons. Being single, you may have the freedom to do whatever you desire, but you are bound to feel lonely at some point in time. We all need someone with whom we can share our deepest feelings. If you are a career woman or man who is very new to a city or country, finding the right person to build a lasting relationship may not be easy. You will have to play the waiting game and see if you are lucky enough to find the love of your life.

4. Adjusting to Different Business Cultures Difficult

As an expat, don’t expect local businesses to adjust with your style of working. For an expatriate, understanding and learning a new business culture can be quite challenging. It is always better to be flexible and have an open mind. Instead of being judgmental, learn to make decisions that are appropriate and work best for your business. Ask the people within your network to assist you in setting up your business in a particular location. And don’t be shy to ask for references or introductions.

5. Making New Friends Abroad Can be Difficult

For any expatriate, making friends is unfortunately not easy. Expats usually lament the fact that people move to expat destinations for two or three years and then leave. So, the friendships built during these years come to a halt when they depart. This is the reason why many expats don’t even think of making new friends as they would eventually leave. Don’t get down, you will meet people if you join a club, association, religious organization or socialize with your new co-workers.

6. Language Barriers Can Make Expat Difficult

If you are moving to a place where English is not widely used, communicating with natives can be a big issue. So, learning the common language of that particular location before you leave will definitely help. There are many language learning tools online to help you out if you are not too keen about hiring a language tutor. Remember that culture shock is temporary. With time, everything will become normal for you.

Being an expat has its advantages as well as disadvantages. There is no doubt that it can be very stressful for new expats. However, don’t let anxiety and stress overwhelm you. Being mentally prepared to face various challenges at the outset will help you overcome these woes with a cool head. A positive attitude is vital for enjoying every moment as an expat. If you take the right steps, your stint as an expatriate may turn out to be very fruitful too.

Importance of International Health Insurance

Before you pack your bag and baggage for expat life, having an international health insurance policy is paramount. Being prepared for the unexpected in terms of health and well-being will help you stay relaxed and secure. Grab one of the global health plans offered by Expat Financial and lead a tension-free expat life in your chosen destination. It is not difficult to get a quote and apply online.

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Health Insurance for Canadians in the USA

Health Insurance Options for Canadian Expats in the USA

Our company is contacted almost every day by Canadians living in the USA or about to live in the United States who are not eligible for local healthcare. More often than not, it is the parent of a student living in the USA who is calling us to find a high-quality expat health plan for their Canadian son or daughter. They all know the cost of medical care in the USA is extremely expensive – some expenses can easily reach into the hundreds of thousands. For example, here are some sample medical conditions and the expected claims costs in USD:

  • Pancreatic Cancer – $100K to $150K
  • Valve Repair – $60K
  • Complicated Pregnancy: Hundreds of thousands
  • MS – $80K
  • ICU Stay – Such a claim could be huge depending on the condition and length of stay.

Health Insurance

That is why it makes sense for Canadians in the USA to purchase a global health plan if they are not eligible for local coverage by themselves or through an employer. If a Canadian is maintaining provincial coverage and will be spending a few months in the USA, then most will obtain emergency only travel medical insurance coverage from one of our Canadian suppliers such as Tugo. However, if the Canadian is becoming an expatriate in the USA by spending a lot of time living, retiring or working in the USA and most likely losing their provincial medical coverage, an international health plan for the USA is vital.

Most Canadians are not aware of the true cost of their provincial medical plan because they pay little or nothing towards it as the costs are all paid by general tax revenue. We have all heard the stories of how expensive medical care is in the USA, especially in the news where someone forgets to purchase travel medical insurance when traveling abroad. If you are a Canadian expat in the USA and not eligible for local plans, then you will have to purchase an international health plan. Note that when you apply, there will be some medical questions and you may or may not be approved or there may be an exclusion. Also remember that individual expat health plans are not HIPAA, COBRA or PPACA compliant.

Most global health plans for expats in the USA will offer in-patient care with options to add wellness, out-patient medical and evacuation insurance. Dental and visioncare is also available. Some will choose a large deductible, but this is a personal choice. Most Americans are used to having very large deductibles and co-insurance while the Canucks are not.

For more information, give us a call or email today as we are very experienced in covering expats around the world. The best plan we can offer expats in the USA is the Cigna Global Health Options plan. You can even get a quote and apply online. Another potential option is the GeoBlue plan.

 

Costa Rica Culture

Top 5 reasons expatriates are choosing to live in Costa Rica

You’ve taken the plunge and decided to move to a foreign land to pursue your dreams of living an expatriate life. Countless days have been spent trying to decide on the perfect new place to call home, and the decision has finally been made: Costa Rica.

There will surely be obstacles along the way; learning a new language, adapting to new cultures and customs, and developing new social networks. However, these obstacles are no match to the numerous benefits that will come from making the move.

Whether you want to surround yourself with a vast array of volcanoes and waterfalls in the Central Valley, prefer the quiet life on the beach in Tamarindo, or want to live an exciting life of adventures and activities in the Arenal Region, Costa Rica offers a diverse and exciting profile for everyone.

For English speakers looking for work in Costa Rica, available industries are wide-ranging for an expatriate: varying between hospitality, tourism, the arts, sales, sports, and education. With Costa Rica calling your name, read through the top 5 reasons to make the move to this beautiful country.

1. Low Cost of Living

The cost of living in the Costa Rican regions is relatively stable throughout the entire country. Costa Rica is relatively affordable in comparison to most Canadian & American cities, and therefore, more advantageous for incoming expatriates.

On average, a furnished 900sqft apartment will cost ~$750USD per month, and in a more luxurious region can cost up to $1,500/month. Groceries range from $5 for an lb of chicken, $6 for 500gr or cheese, $2 for 2lbs of potatoes and $0.75 for bread. If you are living in a region where transportation is necessary, a bus pass will cost you $ 62/month.

Being an expatriate in a new city, you’ll surely want to explore the town with a few nights out. An average dinner for 2 will cost you about $40, drinks at a downtown bar will be $8 and if you’re in the mood for a fancier night out, a high-end restaurant will be ~$68 for 2.

2. Culture

 Costa Rica Culture

“The happiest country in the world” – Costa Rica has long been given this reputation. Through its energetic and friendly locals, Costa Rica is a sophisticated and proud country. It prides itself on its strong cultural values, which stems from freedom and equality for all, with a rich history incorporating many diverse influences. Costa Rican citizens are very friendly and it is a great country to explore culturally.

3. Safety and Stability

As an expatriate, it is important to know that you will be living in an area that prospers in safety and wellbeing. As one of the longest reigning democratic states in Central America, Costa Rica is known for its safe and stable environment and functional government. While you will want to take normal precautions that you would take while living abroad, most expats will agree that this beautiful country is a safe destination for living abroad.

Costa Rica is also one of the leading Central American counties for a stable and prospering economy. Although deciding to make the move to Costa Rica is one that shouldn’t be taken lightly, you will be able to rest comfortably knowing that you are making the move to a financially stable country.

4. Weather and Environment

Costa Rica Environment

If versatility is what you’re looking for, Costa Rica is the best place for you. You can enjoy the beautiful sandy beaches in 30-degree weather, to going off exploring the rainforest and jungle region of the country. With dry and wet seasons, you will still experience the changes of weather, while also enjoying a constant 12 hours of sun a day, all year round.

5. Established Healthcare System

Costa Rica has one of the leading healthcare systems in the region. Most expats will want private healthcare provided by a large global insurance provider. As an expatriate, Costa Rica has the added benefit of offering English Speakers at nearly every major hospital and clinic. However, when making the decision to relocate, it is very important to obtain an international health insurance coverage plan for your extra protection.

At Expat Financial, we provide international healthlifedisability, and travel insurance to expats moving abroad or already living the expat life overseas. Our firm has extensive experience in working with expatriates in need of global health insurance while living in Costa Rica and other Central American countries. Contact us with any questions and obtain a quote online today!

 

 

Expat Tokyo - Why you need international health insurance?

10 tips on how to keep your expat kids healthy & happy overseas

Here are Some Tips for Expatriate Parents on How to Keep Your Kids Happy and Healthy Overseas

Moving abroad is often a difficult transition for expatriates and their spouses, but often even more so for their children. You want to make sure that the transition to life abroad is as effortless as possible. One of the most important considerations for expat parents is how to keep their expat kids healthy and happy abroad. We have noted several steps that expatriates can take before and after they move overseas to make sure the little ones and even teen expatriates will maintain their emotional and physical health.

1. Adjusting to their new school abroad

While you are trying to welcome your new environment, don’t forget to help your children to choose a school. Picking the right school requires you to do adequate research before moving abroad. It can be vital to the health and happiness of your children. For most children, the transition to a new environment can require sufficient counseling to help them integrate.

2. Make sure they are vaccinated

Obtaining the necessary vaccinations is important if you are moving overseas, but especially for children. Talk to your doctor and make sure they are up to date on their vaccination schedule and also make sure that they are properly vaccinated for diseases that may exist in your new home country abroad. When it comes to vaccinations, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

3. Encourage them to pack their things

Another step you can take to help your children to stay positive is to include them in the packing process. Encourage them to pack their belongings, and choose what they want to take on the plane and what gets shipped. Of course, also make sure they don’t forget their favorite toy or blanket!

Portrait of happy mother and baby girl on street overlooking rooftops of rome on sunset

4. Be mindful of their mental health and adjustment abroad

Moving abroad is a big deal for adults, but even more so for your children. They are moving away from all what they are familiar with – home, friends, cousins etc… Don’t try to avoid their questions and anxieties. As soon as you know there’s going to be a relocation, include your kids in the conversation. Listen properly to their questions and concerns. They have to make new connections in a brand new culture. While they may be excited, it can be quite daunting. If you can see assistance both before and after you go and be very mindful of their mental well-being after you move abroad. Think about having them join a team or club while abroad. Also, maybe include your kids in the process of decorating their rooms. Let them choose their furniture, paint colour and bedsheets.

5. Keep copies of your kids’ medical records

One of the biggest challenges when relocating with children is looking for high-quality medical care. It is always suggested to bring your children’s medical records wherever you go, as well as vaccination updates, and allergy history

6. Research destination illness and health warnings

Many countries are providing diseases and health warnings on their travel websites. Expats should consult these sites before moving abroad. In most cases, children are more vulnerable to infectious diseases. Through adequate research, you should be able to identify the signs and symptoms of some common local diseases. It also helps to take preventive actions such as vaccinations and checkups for your kids before you move.

Expatriate Life Insurance

7. Help your children to keep in touch with home country

Moving abroad will be a landmark event in your children’s lives. It is suggested that you help your children collect all of their friends’ contact information, put them in an address book. Another helpful step would be to create photo albums to preserve their memories from their home country. It will also be a good idea to host an unforgettable goodbye party to celebrate this life-changing decision.

8. Find local expat kids groups

There are local expats groups or communities resources online, through social media or employee networking. Bring your kids to these child-friendly activities. It has been proved that these similarly minded expat parents can help expat children to acclimatize to the new surroundings faster.

9. Learn the language together with your children

It is a good idea to begin a language course before relocation. However, to better help your kids’ transition, you are recommended to take the time to learn the new language with your kids. It will help them to see there is a learning curve for everyone. And if you are enjoying the new language, they will be more likely to also.

An elementary age girl is holding her stuffed animal at the doctors office. Her mother is talking to the doctor in the background.

10. Obtain international health insurance to cover you and your expat kids

It is crucial for every expat family to take the necessary action to ensure that their spouse and children’s health and well-being are protected and provided for via an appropriate level of international health insuranceExpat Financial offers a wide array of excellent global health plans designed specifically for expatriates of most nationalities around much of the world. You should also consider purchasing the expatriate dental coverage option.

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

Asian Tourist

A financial checklist is important for expats moving abroad

Make a Financial Checklist if You Are Moving Abroad!

Financial planning is often considered confusing, frustrating and time-consuming, especially for expatriates who are busy enough living and working abroad. However, don’t let it frighten you off. Financial planning aims to help take control of your life and budget, and achieve your financial goals. This is very important for expats living and working overseas. In order to have a clear picture of what you want, it is recommended that you create a simple financial checklist before moving abroad.

Do you want to own a home or rent an apartment?

Expatriates working overseas will have the chance to own a larger amount of disposable income. A clear financial goal is important if you want to make the most of your money. For expatriates aiming to purchase home overseas, it is suggested to look for neighbourhoods with appropriate community services and excellent schools. This will be attractive for future resale value. If you decided to rent an apartment, make sure to check the entire room before signing the lease contract. Rental agreements will vary, you are responsible to read carefully before signing.

Do you have emergency savings?

Any unexpected events or risks could hurt your financial health. Financial professionals suggest holding at least 3-6 months of income as emergency savings. This is especially important for expatriates living overseas in the event of any financial emergencies. It is recommended to establish a monthly budget to cover day-to-day expenses, protecting cash account being invested or overspending.

Asian Girl

Do you have a retirement plan?

If you have a retirement plan at hand, you will be clear when making major decisions such as what lifestyle you can afford, how much to save and where you will retire. The earlier you get the retirement plan ready, the more comfortable retirement. A lot of factors will help to design your retirement plan: investment returns, cash flow, country-specific benefits, etc. You should talk to an expat investment expert who may be able to guide you in the right investment plans and investments. Generally, the closer you are to retirement the less risk you may want to take. Expats may want to think about if your investment accounts are consolidated and organized?

There are also many retirement hot spots for expat retirees such as Costa Rica, Mexico, Thailand, etc. There are many reasons why expats choose to retire overseas: lower cost of living compared to western countries, beautiful beaches, cuisine, climate, etc. Check out our Expat Retiree page to read more about international health coverage needs for your current or upcoming retirement plan.

Tax Planning

Have you undertaken adequate tax planning and preparations before moving abroad?

Tax issues can be complicated, especially for international citizens. Moving abroad can involve significant tax implications – some positive and some negative. For example, some Canadians become non-residents for tax purposes when they move abroad along with significant tax savings depending on the country they will be residing in. For American expats, it can be quite complex as well. It is recommended to visit your local tax office and consult expat tax experts before moving overseas. We often recommend that expatriates talk to an expat tax expert such as Citizen Abroad Tax Advisors. We also list several other firms on our links page.

Have you made financial arrangements in your new home country?

If possible, it is wise to arrange for a new bank account in your new country of residence and bring adequate ID and financial letters from your home bank. You may also need to transfer money into a new currency – we recommend our foreign exchange associates at OFX and use them ourselves. You should also check into money restrictions and regulations in your existing and new country of residence.

Do you have international health insurance to protect you and your family while living abroad?

Yes, as you can guess global healthcare is near and dear to our heats! We work with many expats who reside where the local healthcare system is usually not the best choice. That local health coverage may not even be available, especially if you are residing in the developing world. You may not even be eligible for local healthcare or it simply may be substandard. The cost of using private medical care is usually very high in many parts of the world, especially in parts of Asia and of course the USA.  It is common that you may be living in a country where medical care is inadequate, and you may need to see medical care regionally or globally. The expense of emergency medical evacuation is also quite expensive. For example, we know of a friend of ours who was charged 75,000 USD for a short evacuation flight from one island to another. A large medical bill can destroy your financial goals and hurt your financial future. If your employer is providing health coverage, make sure it is adequate coverage for both you and your family. Note that some companies do not extend coverage to dependent spouses and children.

With an appropriate international medical plan in place, many individual expats and their families are covered around the globe (except in the USA unless you add it as an optional benefit). International health insurance plan provides day-patient care and full hospital coverage, preventive medical care, 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 the more rural areas in some less developed countries.

Health Insurance

How to obtain international health insurance 

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

Health Insurance

Top 10 Questions to Ask Your International Health Insurance Provider

Important Questions to Ask Your Global Insurance Broker & Insurance Company

Choosing global health coverage can be very difficult and one of the many things you have to do if you are moving abroad or already living overseas. Obtaining excellent international health insurance is vital if you and your family are expatriates. A major illness or injury could put your health at risk if you can’t access adequate medical care, but also your finances. We have created the top 10 questions to ask your international health insurance provider in order to make your transition as easy as possible.

Most experts will agree that it makes sense to work with an expat insurance specialist firm such as ours. To help you in your global journey, we have put together 10 questions to ask your international health insurance provider before relocating. To Get a quote now for one of the plans we offer, click HERE.

Question #1: Does your company cover expats for life?

Many people are moving abroad for long time periods or when they are older, so obtaining a global health plan that will cover them for life is vital. This is especially important for those planning to retire abroad. We often get requests from senior expats who want to retire in the Caribbean or in Asia. There are many international health care plans out there which will not cover you past a certain age or restrict benefits once you reach 65. Therefore, it is important that you ask if the plan can keep you and your partner covered for life. Of course, premiums will increase with age, but no-one wants to get kicked off a plan when they need coverage the most.

Question #2: Are there doctors in my city and country that I can access?

The size and quality of an international health insurance company’s medical network for direct reimbursement is critical, so it makes sense to ask your potential insurer or broker for a list of medical providers in your new country or region. Most expats want to be able to show a card and not have to pay out of pocket for medical expenses at a hospital or if they are in the USA, most clinics, hospitals, doctors and pharmacies. Most quality insurers will be able to give you a list of doctors and hospitals that you can work with.

Question #3: Is there a free choice of hospitals and doctors in the plan?

When picking a global health plan for you and your family, it is important to get a plan that will allow you to choose whichever medical doctor or hospital that you wish to utilize. That hospital may not be in the provider network mentioned above, but you can at least get treated there, pay out of pocket and get reimbursed by the insurance company. Note that in some countries and cities, you may not be able to find a hospital in the insurers network and some facilities simply do not want to work with an international insurer.

Question #4: Can the insurer provide a guarantee of payment to the hospital if outside of the network?

For large medical expenses incurred at a hospital overseas that is not in the medical network, it makes sense to deal with an insurance company that has 24/7 claims support with the ability to give the hospital a guarantee of payment if required. This should allow you to receive medical treatment without having to pay out of pocket as the hospital can call the insurer and make sure that they will receive payment for approved medical procedures. You can also get a medical second opinion at the same time.

Question #5: Can the insurance company cover my pre-existing medical condition?

We often get this question for expats or those about to venture abroad. A previous illness or injury or ongoing pre-existing ailment has to be disclosed when you apply for international health insurance. All individual expat health plans are medically underwritten and the insurer will either decline, accept, ask for extra premium or exclude the condition. People often get angry when their condition is excluded but can ask us to advocate on their behalf and supply more information to the insurer, especially from the doctor. If the insurer still excludes the condition, we can give you a rough idea of how other insurers will view the condition. It usually makes sense to take the policy, especially if the condition will not cause to much financial harm if not covered.

Medical Checkup

Question #6: Should I add coverage for the USA and how much will it cost?

Most global health plans will give you worldwide medical treatment excluding the USA or the ability to add treatment there for an extra fee. If you are an American expat, it almost always makes sense to add this coverage option as you will probably want to return home for medical treatment where your regular doctors and family reside. Adding a US coverage option can increase your premium dramatically, but not necessarily too much for American expatriates with the Cigna plan that we offer online. If you are an expatriate living near the USA, it is often a good idea to include care in the USA as your local country may not be able to properly treat you there.

Question # 7: How much will I save if I pay annually versus monthly?

Most expat insurance partners that we work with will offer a 7 to 10% savings if you pay for your premiums on an annual basis verus monthly. For my son who recently move abroad to study, I took this option because the savings were simply too large to ignore. If you can afford it, we definitely recommend paying annually.

Question #8: When can I apply?

We often get requests from people who are thinking about moving abroad in 6 to 12 months, but most insurers will not allow you to apply for coverage until you are 30 to 45 days out from leaving your country of residence. If you are already living abroad, you can usually request an effective date the very next day – assuming you are approved. Apply today for our most popular global health plan from Cigna.

Health Plan

Question #9: Does the plan cover maternity expenses?

If you are planning to add to your expat family or have children for the first time, it is a good idea to check if your international health plan will cover maternity and newborn expenses. Some plans will exclude maternity fully while others will include it with a fee or as part of the insurers more deluxe coverage. All individual health plans have a 9 or 12 month waiting period before maternity expenses will be reimbursed. Some group expat health plans will cover maternity expenses without a waiting period. It is critical to have your maternity coverage if you will be having a child abroad as the costs can be quite enormous.

Question  #10: How much will the premium cost for international health insurance?

Perhaps the most obvious and important question to ask your global insurance broker and insurance provider is how much a global health policy will cost. The cost of any international health plan will depend on a variety of factors, such as your age, occupation, gender, occupation, citizenship, where you reside, deductible level, the options you choose and much more. There are so many different options to choose from, such as getting outpatient care, evacuation, maternity coverage, dental and if you want access to medical care in the USA. It makes sense to talk to our expat insurance expert advisors at Expat Financial and discuss your requirements. It is very easy to examine all the options and obtain a quote online from one of our many international health insurance providers, such as IMG, Cigna and GeoBlue. Note that premiums will increase as you age an also if you add your partner or dependent children to a policy. Please contact us today to discuss your global insurance requirements and answer your international health insurance questions today. These top 10 questions to ask your international health insurance provider are just a preliminary approach to deciding on a plan. The above article primarily relates to individual policies but is also relevant to the group expat medical plans that we offer multinational employers.

Tokyo

Expat Tokyo – Why you need international health insurance?

Tokyo is the capital city of Japan. It is also known as one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. As being the center of the Greater Tokyo area, Tokyo has many museums, festivals, fresh seafood market, fashion style costumes and cosplay. It is also Japan’s largest international center for tourism. Expatriates moving to Tokyo will find the city foreigner-friendly. The locals are very welcoming, but you should make sure that you adhere to the customs and culture of Japan. More and more expatriates work and live in Tokyo as many foreign companies have branch offices there or are hired by large Japanese based companies. In this article, we will discuss healthcare in Tokyo, the cost of medical care in Tokyo and why you need international health insurance as an expat in Tokyo.

Healthcare in Tokyo

Generally speaking, the standard of healthcare in Japan is very high. The quality of medical treatment in Japan is also competitive. Both public and private hospitals are available in Japan. As the number of expatriates working and living in Japan grows, the Japanese healthcare system has increased efforts to provide quality medical care for them. Many private clinics have English speaking, western-trained medical professionals.

Cost of Medical Care in Tokyo

According to the National Health Care of Japan, all Japanese citizens, permanent residents, and any foreigners residing in Japan are required to be enrolled in National Health Insurance. Another type of insurance, the Employee’s Health Insurance, is designed to provide health insurance for any employment-based program. However, National Health Care does not cover certain medical cases such as normal child delivery fee, abortion, preventive examinations, etc.  Medical costs can be very expensive without insurance coverage.

Why is International Health Insurance Critical For Expats in Tokyo?

Many expatriates are not aware of enrolling in a local plan cannot provide them with medical treatment at more satisfactory private clinics. Furthermore, these local medical plans do not provide medical coverage while expats are traveling out of the country or going back home. In Japan, local medical plans are aimed to cover basic medical needs that may not suitable for most expats. Therefore, you may need to create a tailored international health insurance plan that meets your requirements.

Premiums will vary depending on the coverage of the plan, your age, citizenship and several other factors. It is critical for expats to obtain international health insurance to cover any remaining costs not covered by the local insurance policies.

 

Tokyo City

Get Insurance From Expat Financial for Tokyo Expats

An international health insurance plan provides flexible and worldwide service. It will not only let you select the hospital, medical providers and doctors but also provide you with direct payment so that you do not need to worry about any out-of-pocket medical expenses.

Expat Financial offers several different international health insurance plans for expatriates across most parts of the globe. 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.

International Health Insurance

How to save money on your international health insurance premiums

Living overseas is often an expensive endeavour for individuals and families who plan to work, retire or travel abroad for over one year. Perhaps the most important decision before you live abroad or even if you are already an expat is what global health insurance you should obtain, the insurer you will choose and the plan coverage options. There are lots of expat health insurance companies and providers to choose from and endless insurance options that can be very confusing for expatriates. As an international insurance brokerage firm with extensive experience and knowledge in this domain, we have put together six ways expatriates can save on their international health insurance premiums & coverage. It should be noted that these tips apply equally to both group and individual global health insurance premiums.

#1. Choose a Larger Deductible

A deductible is what you pay before the insurance company pays a claim. Generally, the deductible is per policy year, or you may have a small co-pay for each claim. For expatriates wanting to save on their global health costs, the easiest and most effective way to save on global health premiums is to select a larger deductible. The larger the deductible the lower the premium and vice versa. Some expats that we work with will select a $5K or $10K deductible as they do not think they will ever claim or live in a country with low medical costs.

#2. Exclude Coverage in the USA

Plans that include full medical care in the USA are almost always more expensive than plans that exclude the USA. Most American expatriates will want a plan to include care in the United States as they will want to receive care there for any serious medical claims. However, excluding care in the USA can save an expat somewhere between 40% or 50% in their medical premiums for some expats. If you do not wish to be able to seek medical care in the States, it makes sense not to choose the USA coverage option. If you are living in a country close to the USA, it may be wise to add the option as you may want to see medical care there, especially in the case of an evacuation.

#3. Pay your Premium Annually

We find that most expatriates like to pay their premiums monthly as annual premiums can be quite large, but if you can afford to pay annually, you can often save between 5% to 10% per year on your global health premiums. You can also pay semi-annually for additional savings over paying monthly.

Healthcare

#4. Self-insure Out-patient Care

Most global health plans will include a base policy that covers claims related to hospital care. You will have the option to choose to add out-patient care for an additional fee. Out-patient medical will cover medical claims that are incurred outside a hospital admission – such as doctors visits & consults, medicine, physiotherapy, psychology, wellness, medical tests and scans, dental accidents, vaccinations and more. However, many expatriates live in countries and regions where medical care is quite inexpensive, especially for out-patient claims like doctors’ visits. Excluding out-patient modules can save an expatriate many hundreds of dollars in premiums per month and is certainly something to consider.

#5. Add Coinsurance to your Plan

In addition to having a larger deductible, some plans will allow you to add coinsurance to your plan. Coinsurance is the percentage that you as the insured member pays in the event of a claim. The higher the coinsurance level, the less risk you are taking and the higher the premium. For example, if you have a coinsurance level of 80%, you would be responsible for paying 20% of claims – usually up to a maximum out of pocket amount. A 90% coinsurance level would be more expensive, and if you are covered at 100%, you don’t have to pay a portion of the approved claim. The coinsurance is active after the deductible has been satisfied.

medical insurance

#6. Choose a Lower Level of Coverage from the Insurer

Most expat health plans will have 3 or 5 different levels of coverage with varying degrees of care maximums and services covered. For example, the Cigna Global Health Options plan that we offer have three levels: Silver, Gold or Platinum. As you would guess, the least expensive plan would be the Silver plan, which will have much lower levels of care without maternity coverage.

Things to Consider When Choosing Your Insurance plan?

Are there more ways to save money on your international health insurance? Yes, but these generally involve you taking on a lot more risk with minimal premium savings. We recommend that you purchase the best possible global health insurance plan that you can afford. In the end, you generally get what you pay for. To learn more about the global health plans that we can offer individual expatriates, please contact us or get a quote online today. We would love to discuss your international health insurance needs and the ways that you can save on your health insurance costs.