Learn About International Health Insurance for Expatriates During a Pandemic
You could say this is an easy question and the answer is a plan that will cover the COVID-19 Coronavirus. That is correct, but there is much more to this question and how global nomads and international citizens should proceed when buying and renewing their global health coverage. We have been receiving many calls and emails for health insurance during the COVID-19 from expatriates around the world who are justifiably concerned about their health during the recent pandemic and we have been providing our best advice and support during this difficult time period. People are still moving abroad despite the travel restrictions or are reconsidering the coverage in light of the pandemic.
What is COVID-19?
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the coronavirus pandemic disease (COVID–19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus. Most people who catch the COVID-19 virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness will recover quickly without hospital or doctor treatment. However, many older people and those with pre-existing medical conditions will experience more serious illnesses that can lead to hospitalization and even death.
Most people catch the disease from an infected person who spreads the disease via respiratory droplets or touching an infected surface and then bringing the hands to one’s mouth or eyes. It is key to follow your health department’s instructions and wash your hands as much as possible. People who are infected or maybe infected need to remain at home in quarantine and consult with a doctor. Note that presently there is very limited treatment for people who catch the COVID-19 virus.
Does Your Global Health Plan Cover COVID-19 Related Conditions?
This is the question you should definitely ask if you are living abroad or planning to do so. This terrible virus will be around for a long time and even when we some effective treatments and a vaccine, you will want a global medical plan that doesn’t exclude COVID-19. Some expatriate insurers do have exclusions for pandemics or have put in an exclusion for COVID-19. You should definitely read the fine print to see if your plan will fully cover you for this pandemic and any future ones.
Can COVID-19 be Covered by a Global Medical Insurance Plan?
As noted above, yes COVID-19 can be covered as any other illness by many expat health insurance providers. Note that if you have COVID-19 now and don’t have health coverage in place, no insurer will cover you. We do have access to group benefit plans that will cover COVID as they cover pre-existing medical conditions, but individual expat health plans are generally subject to medical questions and underwriting.
What International Health Insurance Plans are the Best for COVID-19?
In our opinion, the best global health plans to get now for individual expatriates living abroad or already living the global nomadic life are the Cigna Global Health Options and Allianz Worldwide Health plans. Both of which we offer online with the same great rates, service and direct support of the insurer, but also our advice and advocacy.
What if I Have COVID-19 and Don’t Have Coverage?
If you are presently infected with COVID-19 and you don’t have any medical coverage, then you will not be able to purchase a plan that covers COVID-19 until you are declared fully clear of the virus. If your current expat medical plan excludes COVID-19, it may be possible that your existing insurer may still cover the condition as an exception, so you will need to ask.
Do Global Health Plans Cover COVID-19 Testing?
Most plans that we offer to expatriates will definitely cover COVID-19 testing. However, the insurers prefer that the client talk to a medical doctor first and see if the test is required given the symptoms the insured person has. So if you have no symptoms, we feel that the insurer won’t cover the test. Some insurers will cover the test without any cost-share or deductible, which is quite positive.
How do Expats Get Tested for COVID-19?
Once you have talked to a doctor and test is recommended, clients can then ask the health insurer where they can access testing and if possible ask if it will be covered. Of course, follow your doctor’s instructions and the requirements from local health authorities. We recommend that you use the telehealth option that some insurers like Cigna and Allianz offer our clients when covered – as this can help you potentially avoid an unnecessary hospital visit.
COVID-19 Resources for Expatriates
We strongly recommend that global citizens follow medical instructions from local authorities and health professionals. Here are some great independent websites and resources for expatriates and global nomads who need information on this pandemic: