travel health insurance

Learn About the Difference Between Global Health Insurance & Travel Insurance Plans

When traveling to another country, most expats, digital nomads, and global citizens look into getting some medical coverage. It just makes sense, especially in light of COVID-19. However, some tend to get the wrong coverage, only to realize it during an emergency. To avoid such mishaps, the first thing to consider when purchasing either coverage is to know the duration of your trip. In this article, we will explain the difference between travel insurance and international health insurance.

Most people buy travel insurance is when they travel abroad for a short amount of time, usually for less than 6 months. This type of insurance covers your trip to a destination, but not back in your home country and generally, you will retain your health insurance back home. You might be going for a holiday or short-term trip abroad. By getting travel insurance, you are protecting yourself from travel-related issues such as cancellations, delayed departures, loss of luggage, loss of personal belongings, and emergency medical treatment.

You are not buying a health plan, you are getting an emergency-only plan that is really designed to “patch you up”, address your medical treatment, and then get you back home onto your health plan in your home country as soon as possible.

When we say travel medical coverage, it only provides short-term emergency medical treatment. However, this coverage ends once you are back in your country of residence. It’s important to note that it does not cover long-term medical treatment, ongoing treatment, chronic conditions, maternity, preventative care, care and much more. Hence the cost of travel insurance is quite low in comparison to global medical plans.

Also, travel insurance plans are meant to cover people traveling abroad who are not changing their country of residence or cutting ties back home. If you are planning to become a global nomad, expatriate, or digital nomad, travel medical insurance simply won’t work in the medium or short term.

What is international health insurance?

When it comes to international health insurance or global health insurance, it aims to provide those living, retiring or working abroad for a longer period of time. Expats going on an expat assignment for more than 6 months, global citizens, and digital nomads living and moving from one country to another continuously should get this insurance.

There are several benefits to obtaining global healthcare. Essentially, your international health insurance covers for both emergency and routine healthcare. It also provides ex-pats, digital nomads, and global citizens flexibility when choosing doctors and treatment facilities. Top insurance providers have a vast network of professionals and medical facilities, hence giving ex-pats the ability to receive treatment anywhere in the region, depending on their coverage.

This type of insurance also comes in handy if you are relocating abroad or spending a significant amount of time overseas.

Benefits of International Health Insurance

One of the major benefits of having global health coverage is it ensures you the medical attention you need. It can be during a medical emergency or even a routine health check-up. Most expats live in a country that’s completely different from their home country. Hence, they can be unfamiliar with the expat destination’s healthcare system, while some are unable to speak the language.

Having this coverage helps you navigate through the healthcare system easily. Furthermore, your benefits differ according to the plan you choose. It includes hospital stay, routine checkups, coverage for some pre-existing conditions, chronic conditions, and of course, you get to choose medical providers.

In addition to that, you also get to include coverage for outpatient treatment, maternity care, dental care, and repatriation. For example, if you are an expatriate and living abroad, a travel insurance plan won’t cover some things. It includes chronic conditions or preventative treatment, ongoing medications or maternity after the standard 12-month waiting period.

As you can see, it allows expats to tailor their coverage to their specific needs. It ensures they have the right combination of cover for themselves and their families. Also, expats need international healthcare because they are giving up their healthcare coverage in their country of citizenship. They need a health plan that has global reach and capabilities. With an international health plan, you are taking responsibility by placing the risk with the insurer and not on your shoulders.

Why Choose International Health Insurance?

travel and international health insurance

Multi-country coverage

It is especially great for those who are moving from one country to another all the time. One of the benefits of having this coverage is that you can use the policy in different countries. For example, a person can choose “Worldwide excluding the USA” or “Worldwide” as their coverage region. For example, you can use the policy when you travel back home before traveling to another country.

A higher level of coverage

Compared to travel insurance and domestic health insurance, global health coverage provides a higher coverage level for expats. The best plan would include coverage for evacuation and repatriation. This coverage level is important, especially for expats who are moving to a country with limited healthcare facilities. In a health emergency, patients will be evacuated to a country that can provide the necessary medical attention.

Avoid language barriers

International health insurers provide support such as multi-language options and support for policy documents and helpline. It comes in handy when you don’t speak the language and need someone to communicate with hospital officials.


Understanding the difference between travel insurance and international health insurance is important. It will help you greatly when it comes to planning and moving. At Expat Financial, we ensure you get the best policy for your needs.