What is International Health Insurance and How Do I Purchase?
It seems like an easy question to answer, but we often get asked. International health insurance is a policy that is meant to provide long term medical coverage to people living abroad – generally considered expatriates, global nomads or global citizens. Generally, an international health plan is meant for people who will be living abroad for at least a year or more and more often than not will lose their coverage back home or the domestic policy won’t cover them abroad. If someone is travelling for under a year and will retain their domestic health insurance, they will more than likely buy emergency only travel medical insurance.
Who Buys International Health Insurance?
International health insurance policies are designed to cover people who want a policy that will cover medical expenses anywhere in the world or at least in a defined region. Most global health plans will cover you globally excluding the United States or include obtaining treatment in the USA for an extra premium. More often than not, if you are an American citizen you will want to be covered globally including the USA, but not always. If you are an expat in the USA, then your policy should cover treatment there. If you are living nearby the USA, you may want to include the option to receive care in the USA, especially if your ex-pat region has substandard medical services.
How Do International Health Policies Work?
We often tell customers that international health plans work very similar to private medical plans in the USA as there is no government health plan backing up the policy – for most countries in the world, expatriates are responsible for their healthcare or are required to buy into the local health insurance system. Still, some expats will still want a policy that will cover them locally and globally, especially if they return home or if they move to a new expat destination.
Global health policies will provide hospital or in-patient coverage with the option to add out-patient care, wellness, emergency evacuation and vision and dental care. These policies will allow you to seek medical care from public or private hospitals within the insurer’s medical network or you can request a guarantee of payment from the insurer if you are admitted for medical care in a hospital outside their direct payment network. Smaller expenses are usually paid by the customer and submitted to the insurer for reimbursement in almost any currency.
Most international health plans are payable in USD, Euro or Pounds Sterling. The policies are almost always portable and renewable as long as you remain an expatriate, but only a few policies are renewable for life.
We recommend that expats download our free international health insurance guidebook to learn more.
How Much Do These Global Plans Cost?
International health insurance plan premiums are based on a variety of factors – including your age, dependent ages, citizenship, country of residence, health history, deductible, options chosen and the level of coverage required. Most plans have three levels of coverage to appeal to as many people as possible. Some people want basic coverage for hospital treatment only. Some global citizens want comprehensive global health insurance that will cover almost all their necessary healthcare needs. The premiums definitely vary and you get what you pay for.
How Do I Purchase International Health Insurance?
We like to think it is quite simple. You can simply get a quote online from one of our international health plan providers and after you choose your options and coverage levels, you can apply and in some cases be approved in a few minutes. Those with pre-existing medical conditions or working in certain occupations may require additional medical underwriting. The final premium and coverage approval is subject to the insurance provider’s underwriting guidelines.