Many people who live abroad are confused about what, if any, international health insurance they may need. We have written this article to give you some important tips on health insurance when living abroad you may need global medical coverage. If you are moving abroad there is a very good chance that your home country healthcare won’t cover you abroad or will terminate once you have moved abroad.
International Medical Plan OR Travel Insurance
There is a big difference between travel insurance and international health insurance, and making the wrong choice could have significant financial and health care implications. In short International health insurance is designed for those who are moving abroad for an extended time and will provide comprehensive health care coverage – both emergencies, chronic care and non-emergencies. In contrast, travel insurance offers health care coverage in emergencies while wtraveling abroad for short-duration trips. These emergency plans are meant for short trips abroad when you are maintaining your health coverage back home.
There are many reasons you should purchase international health insurance when living abroad.
Top Ten Reasons to buy international health insurance when living abroad
1. Your policy at home probably won’t cover you abroad
If you have health insurance in your home country, in most cases, there is little or no coverage provided if you move abroad. Most private insurance plans are only designed to be used in your home country where the policy was issued. Even if you choose to live overseas and select a country with government-sponsored health insurance, you may need a specific type of residence permit to use the state system. Buying an international health insurance plan will ensure you are covered given your specific situation.
2. Destination Country Won’t Cover You
It is also likely that your destination country won’t provide adequate or any healthcare for you and in some cases the local plan will be deficient. Also, you may move to a new destination so unless you have a portable health plan, you may be out of luck. If you are studying abroad or move around a lot or don’t qualify for the required visa or permit, it could mean you have no coverage.
3. Health Insurance is Required
Many countries will require that you provide proof of health coverage that will meet certain medical claim requirements so that you do not become a burden to their local health system. The list of countries requiring health coverage has increased over the years and will be required to get your visa. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of countries are wanting to global nomads and expats to have a plan that will cover them for Covid related claims. This is possible with many of the plans that we offer, such as the Cigna International or Allianz plans.
4. Dental and Vision Coverage
Even in countries that provide government healthcare, dental and vision services are usually not covered, and the costs for dental and vision care can be high. Adding dental and vision coverage to your international health insurance plan can help avoid potentially high out-of-pocket costs and ensure you have coverage if you have any dental or vision issues that arise.
6. Language Barriers
Language can be a significant barrier to healthcare if you are abroad if you don’t speak the local language. Many international health insurance policies include translation services to their policyholders. This can be an invaluable service, especially in an emergency situation and you need translation assistance or help finding a doctor who speaks English.
7. Mental Health Services
Living abroad can be an incredibly rewarding experience, but it can also be very challenging and stressful, and many people struggle with adjusting to new cultures and languages. When it comes to your overall health, physical health is critical, but mental health is just as important. Ensuring you have the support you need to deal with the unique issues that can arise when living abroad is essential. Many international health insurance policies offer mental services to help with personal, work, or family-related issues. They have experts experienced with the unique problems that can arise when living abroad. Note that many plans will have limits for mental health treatment inside or outside a hospital.
8. Pre-existing conditions
If you have any significant pre-existing conditions, it is critical to plan for how you will get care for them. Individual international health insurance plans involved medical underwriting and may or may not cover you or your medical condition. It is possible you may even be declined as expat health plans are not COBRA, HIPAA or ACA compliant. It is critical to make sure you fully disclose your health history when you apply online and make sure any chronic conditions can be covered before you’re covered moving abroad.
Note that you can call or email us and we can maybe give you out best guess if the insurers we work with can cover you or not, but really you have to apply to find out up to 45 days prior to moving abroad.
9. Financial Protection & Peace of Mind
Like all insurance, global medical plans give global nomads and expats the peace of mind that they will be taken care of should they get sick or injured abroad. Buying a plan that has the ability to handle and pay international claims will help protect your health, but also your finances. This is especially true in countries where medical costs are expensive.
10. International Health Insurance Can Help You Maintain Your Health Abroad
If you don’t have global health insurance, then you are either unable to seek medical treatment or it may be too expensive and you may not get the medical treatment you require. Also, having the out-patient and wellness modules can include vital medical tests and treatment that you require. Wellness visits to your MD can even help you prevent a minor condition from becoming a serious long-term condition, such as diabetes.
We can help make sure you are covered when living abroad
Without proper coverage, an illness or injury abroad can turn into a financial disaster! Expat Financial doesn’t represent just one insurance company plan. Instead, we place your interests first by shopping the marketplace for a plan that meets your needs and budget. From basic to deluxe expat health insurance plans, we’ve got you covered.
We do not charge a fee for our expat health insurance services as we are compensated by the insurer you choose, and working with us does not increase your costs. You can find more information on why you should work with a broker when you purchase international healthcare here. We recommend you download our international health insurance guide as well: