When it comes to international health insurance, one of the most important things to understand and be aware of benefits or expat health plan limits. Almost every kind of insurance has coverage limits in one form or another. Coverage limits are financial limits designed to limit the amount of coverage the insurance company is responsible for paying.
Cover limits can be linked to specific conditions or benefits or can be applied to the expat health plan in total. As a global nomad evaluating which international health insurance plan you are going to enroll in. It is essential to understand all applicable coverage limits of the plans you consider. The last thing you want to have happened is to enroll in a plan, then when you have a claim realize that there are coverage limits you were not aware of. Once a coverage limit is reached, you will be responsible for paying any remaining healthcare expenses. Note that coverage limits are either per calendar year (group plans) or by policy year (individual plans).
Types of Global Health Coverage & Expat Health Plan Limits
There are several types of coverage limits for international health insurance plans, each with different definitions. Listed below are the most common types of coverage limits that may be a part of your expat health insurance plan.
Annual Coverage Limits For Expat Health Plans
An annual coverage limit is defined as how much the insurance company will pay for a benefit or policy over the course of a calendar or benefit year. Limits are usually expressed in dollars/euros (or other local currency) or by a number of visits to a health care provider. Once the annual limits are reached, you will pay any additional costs until the end of the year. A year can be defined as a calendar year (January through December) or a benefit year (12 months starting the month you enroll), or it can be shorter depending on the type of policy you enroll in. Annual limits generally reset at the start of a new year.
Lifetime Coverage Limits
Lifetime limits are defined similarly to annual limits, but once a lifetime limit is reached. It never resets, and you will pay all additional costs from that point on. Costs can accumulate toward achieving a lifetime limit over more than one year. Limits are usually expressed in dollars/euros (or other local currency) or by a number of visits to a health care provider
Specific Benefit Limits
Some limits apply to specific benefits or services as defined in your policy. For example, a policy could have a dental coverage limit of $1,000 for dental services. Another could be for transplants, medications or medical checkups. Specific benefit coverage limits can be either annual or lifetime.
Policy Level Coverage Limits for Global Health Plans
A policy-level coverage limit applies to all benefits provided under an international health insurance plan. It works by applying a coverage limit for all services covered under the policy and is generally a limit expressed in dollars/euros.
What Global Health Coverage Limits Should I choose?
Usually, the more comprehensive (and expensive) your expat health insurance is, the higher the coverage limits are. However, that is not always the case, which is why you should consult with one of experts. At Expat Financial to help choose a policy that meets your needs. It is also essential to understand how expensive local healthcare is when choosing between the various health plan limits available. For example, you may want a policy with higher or no limits if you are in a country like the United States or China, healthcare is expensive compared to some other countries.
Some plans, such as the Cigna Global Health Options plan we offer, have lower limits for their Silver plan, but much higher limits for their Platinum plan.
Understanding your coverage limits including Covid-19 coverage, and how they work. It is even more critical during the current Covid-19 pandemic. If you were to be infected with Covid-19, you could incur some very high healthcare costs, which could be subject to coverage limits resulting in high out-of-pocket costs for you. We recently heard of an individual who was in ICU in the USA because of COVID-19 for several months who received a $4 million dollar claim.
Want to learn more? Download the definitive international health insurance guide: