International Providers and Global Medical Plans
When you purchase a global medical plan, you may have the option of choosing your doctor or a hospital to receive care in. In working with our clients, we are often asked a few simple questions regarding finding an international doctor, what is a provider network, what are the costs of using a doctor out of network, etc. Below we try to answer some of these frequently asked questions.
What Doctors Can I Go To?
All insurers maintain a list of doctors throughout the world that are part of their insurance network, Typically this means that when you go to one of those doctors, the insurer can bill the provider directly so you don’t have to pay out of pocket.
Often, when you are outside of the USA, the insurer will let you go to any provider without any additional cost, co-pay or excess payments. In the USA, if you go out of the network, there may be a cost-share amount that you will have to pay and the insurer will pay the rest.
What is the Difference between In and Out of Network
Often hospitals and medical providers are referred to being “in-network” or “out of network” for an insurance plan. What exactly are the main differences? The simple differences are whether or not the hospital is contracted with an insurance company to provide services at discounted rates and offer the ability for the insurer to pay the provider directly.
Benefits of Going In-Network
Many people wonder what the benefits and consequences are to going in or out of network. When you go within your insurer’s recommended provider you often will pay less. In-network hospitals are contracted with the insurance company and tend to provide services at a discounted rate or a set price.
Another benefit is direct billing for the service provided. Most times, if a hospital is contracted with the insurance company, they can bill the company directly. This means no out of pocket costs(other than the deductible) upfront to you, the insured. If the hospital is not contracted with the insurance company, you as the insured will have to pay of out of your own pocket and submit a proof of loss and claims reimbursement form to the insurance company.
How can I see the List of Providers for my Insurer?
Most insurance companies will have a list of providers available to the public that you can search to see if a hospital is within their provider list. Each insurance company will also have a phone number, or medical assistance line, to call to check if a provider is in-network. Some companies even have online links to search specific areas to find in-network providers for you.
It is beneficial to both the insured and the insurer to have the customer go to a doctor within the network to help save money and time. Insurance companies will do their best to connect you to the closest in-network hospital to help get the insured back to being healthy.
Below are the links to our most used companies provider networks:
- IMG List of Providers (for the Patriot and IMG Global Medical plans)
- WorldTrips Providers List (For the Atlas Plan)
- Cigna Worldwide Doctors (For Cigna Global Health Insurance)
- Seven Corners provider network for Seven Corners Travel Medical plans.
- GeoBlue International Doctors
Also read: Finding an International Doctor While Abroad
Best Advice Regarding International Doctors
The best advice we can give going forward is to always check prior to having medical services performed to make sure the hospital is within the network or not. The last thing you as an insured want to happen is to be charged a higher amount for a service that you could have received at a cheaper price! It is always best to call the number on your insurance card to determine if a doctor is in-network prior to receiving treatment.