We created these handbooks to help you identify the key points when considering a health insurance policy. They cover a wide range of topics from 'Choosing the right plan', to 'Maternity' and 'Pre-existing' conditions. Please enter your Email address to gain access to our full library.
Choosing the right plan
Two choices are available to the expat when buying medical insurance abroad. To some extent the country to which you are moving can have a bearing on the decisions to be made. However, most expats do choose international cover over a local plan for the following reasons:
Local medical insurance plans provide cover only in that country. This can be extremely important to the expats living in a country where medical facilities are inferior to those in their home country. Should the expat have an accident or become sick, being able to go home for treatment or to an alternative country where the medical facilities are of a higher standard gives a level of protection that brings piece of mind.
An international expat health insurance plan will follow you wherever you go, whilst the local plan would need to be cancelled and new cover taken out should you move or be relocated. This can bring problems in as much as a new policy will have waiting periods and some conditions may now be excluded as they will be seen a pre-existing.
An international medical plan allows the freedom to select where and by whom treatment is carried out. Most local plans have a limited local network of hospitals that will accept their coverage and therefore no choice is available to the expat or their family.
International medical plans are normally renewable for life. Whereas local plans will not renew cover when the client is typically over the age of 65.
All insurance companies have exclusions, but generally international medical policies have far fewer. The level of cover is also much higher with an international policy, typically the annual limit is over USD 1m.
Renewal premiums for local medical plans are based on the previous years claims, whereas an international expat health insurance policy is generally community rated. This means that your renewal premium is based on policy holders worldwide. Ensuring that the renewal premium is always manageable no matter how ill you are or how many times you have had to go to hospital.
Most expats select international expat health insurance cover for themselves and their families because of the overwhelming advantages and peace of mind that this protection gives them.
Local plans can be seen as cheap in the first instance but long term they may prove to be very disappointing and inadequate in the level of cover available.
The Difference Between Local and Expatriate Health Insurance Video