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If you plan to live or reside abroad for an extended length of time, you will want to make sure you invest in a high quality international health insurance plan for the period you are abroad, outside of your home country, in case something happens and you need to seek medical treatment. For most countries around the world, it may also be a requirement of your visa (if you need one) to show proof of adequate international health insurance coverage. These plans are ideal for Expatriates, Global Nomads or International Citizens who are abroad for the majority of each year.
international medical insurance Plan Benefits
International Health Insurance or Global Medical Plans offer comprehensive medical coverage for those living outside of their home country for a year or longer. The best plans offer:
Freedom to choose any hospital, clinic or doctor
24 Hour Emergency Assistance and Medical Helpline
Emergency Evacuation, Repatriation, Hospitalization
In most cases, Home Country coverage is included
Choice of GBP, Euro and USD currencies for payment
Table comparing benefits of 3 top insurers:
Additional Benefits and Options
Plans may offer additional benefits such as dental, vision, maternity, prescription drugs and other coverage options. Some of these are included in the base plan. Other times they are optional add ons that come with an additional premium. For example, the Cigna Global Health Plan allows you to pick and choose various options (Wellness, Dental and Vision, etc) and benefits to design a plan that meets your specific needs.
Exclusions and Limitations international medical insurance
Read the fine print. Many plans look good on the surface but may include certain limitations and/or exclusions that you need to be aware of. Insurance plans can not cover all situations – so insurers add terminology to protect themselves against certain risks. Typically, pre-existing conditions will be reviewed and either accepted, excluded or addressed with a premium increase. Insurers may also put a limit on benefits related to your pre-existing condition.
Another typical limitation to be aware of is maternity coverage. Most plans will limit or exclude coverage for maternity for at least 10-12 month. Their goal is to prevent people from buying the policy only after they have become pregnant – which would be extremely costly for them.
Exclusions and limitations are not all bad. They allow the insurer to cover most situations at a reasonable price. The alternative would be very costly plans that none could afford.
Again, read the fine print. You can always request a brochure or copy of a sample policy certificate which will include all the details of the plan, including the fine print.
How Much do international medical insurance Plans Cost
International Health Insurance eligibility and premiums are based primarily on a policyholders age, current medical history and area of coverage (typically not on an individual’s claims history) as well as the deductible and maximum coverage selected. Plans will normally offer two areas of cover; Worldwide or Worldwide excluding the USA, sometimes excluded countries also include Canada, Hong Kong and other more expensive countries for medical care. If you choose coverage that includes the US it will typically be more expensive. The reason for this is that medical care in the USA is the most expensive in the world. At times, international medical insurance providers (i.e. GeoBlue and Cigna) will rank countries by medical costs and have premiums adjusted accordingly.