Expatriates have unique and serious consideration when choosing both an expatriate insurance provider and a plan to cover themselves and their families. There are a variety of international health, travel, and trip insurance plans. For this sections, we will focus on International Health and Medical plans that are especially important for expatriates. Specifically, this section provides detailed information on expat healthcare coverage for expatriates living abroad for multiple years.
Expatriate Health Insurance Plans
Many expats are not covered under a corporate or group health plan. For those individuals (or families), an international health plan should be purchased. These policies provide either worldwide or regional medical coverage and also can include components of trip insurance, evacuation services, and repatriation benefits. The best providers have global networks of healthcare providers which you can access and will “direct-pay” to hospitals & caregivers.
How Much do Expatriate Plans Cost
Premium, or cost, calculations are typically based on a policyholders country of origin, age, medical history and country of coverage. Typically plans will offer two areas of cover; a) Worldwide, excluding the USA or, the more comprehensive option, b) Worldwide coverage. Other companies may have separate pricing by region and will possibly exclude certain areas of high risk. Providers are looking at both the risks associated with living in certain areas and the costs of healthcare in those areas when determining the price. Most providers will rank countries by the cost of medical care and will adjust premiums accordingly.
Expat Healthcare – Portability and Maintenance of Cover
Expat healthcare insurance plans for expatriates are typically portable – meaning they will cover you for periods of times in all countries. As expatriates are more likely to be traveling to multiple countries throughout the year, a global policy provides for continuous coverage regardless of where their sickness occurs (typically limited after returning to your home country). If you need coverage in your home country as well, make sure you find a provider that can provide worldwide coverage.
Expat Insurance: Application and Underwriting
Underwriting is, simply put, the process through which your application is reviewed (approved or denied) and your premium is determined. Typically, medical underwriting is where the insurance provider asks a series of medical questions during the application process and provides the applicant with details of what they will and will not be prepared to cover. The applicant will usually be required to get documentation from their doctors as well as other healthcare providers. Occasionally, if the applicant is symptom and treatment free of any medical issues for a specified period, they may be offered cover on the understanding that they will be underwritten every time they claim against their policy.
Shorter Term Coverage
If you will be abroad for shorter periods of time, consider a travel medical plan which can provide assistance during emergency medical situations abroad. These policies are less expensive as they are time specific rather than annual policies, this allows the policyholder to specifically tailor the plan to the exact length of their trip. You can typically get coverage for a single trip or multiple trips (annual trip insurance) insurance.
We always recommend you do your research so that you understand how your policy will assist you should you need urgent medical care while abroad. Countries have varying levels of quality in their hospitals and healthcare facilities. Many will require immediate payment for services before assisting you. The best plans include emergency hotlines to help you understand where you should go for care, talk with providers on your behalf and cover up-front expenses, so you don’t have to.
Your health insurance is an important and complex purchase. If you need help with securing expatriate insurance plan, please do not hesitate to contact our customer support team who will be happy to assist you. We work with many premium providers across the globe and can find the best plan for your specific needs.
Our recommended Expatriate Health Plans:
Cigna Global: Learn More | Free Quote / Apply – High-Quality Plan, Best for Expats and Seniors
IMG Global Medical: Learn More | Free Quote / Apply – Affordable Option, Best for Younger Clients