One of the most important things when relocating overseas is making sure you have a proper and comprehensive international medical insurance.
Do not even think about relocating abroad without taking care of medical insurance for yourself and your family.
Why is it so important?
First, some countries have now made having a private medical insurance coverage compulsory for all expats. Other than that, in most countries you will not be eligible for local healthcare services. So what happens if you break a leg, or need to treat an infection? I am sure you wouldn’t want to pay lots of money to the hospital simply because you do not have international medical insurance.
Even if you are eligible for local healthcare at your host country, there will probably be a waiting time of a few months. It is therefore strongly recommended to arrange health insurance coverage for the waiting time period.
Sometimes being eligible for local healthcare services is not enough. Let’s suppose that you are living in a country with a poor national medical care. Or maybe there is a very good healthcare system at your host country but the cost of medical care is particularly high. In both cases it would be wise to purchase a private international health insurance policy.
You might be one of those that are not eligible for local healthcare but have a healthcare cover through your employer. If this is you, do not assume that it is enough. I would suggest investigating what exactly is included in your employer healthcare coverage. You might be surprise to find out that many things are not included in the policy, and it would be a good idea to supplement it with a private overseas health insurance.
Moreover, what if your healthcare is covered by your employer, but you either lose your job or decide to quit it, and to stay living in the foreign country. This situation will be easier to handle if you make sure that you and your family have a private international health insurance.
Lastly, what about the freedom of choosing the best medical care? Whether it’s the choice of which hospital or doctor to use in your host country, or the choice to return home for treatment or be treated in a different country.
Before you start searching for expat health insurance make sure you understand what your needs are, by asking yourself the following questions:
- Are you relocating abroad alone, with your spouse, or with family and kids?
- To where are you relocating? Is it to a developed country with good healthcare system, or a third world country where you can not count on the healthcare services?
- Are you planning on having a baby while you are abroad? Think about it thoroughly and be prepared. No matter what happens.
- Do you or your family have any special health issues that should be covered by the insurance policy
- Are you planning on staying at the same country, or will you be moving to a different country after 2-3 years?
How to search for overseas health insurance provider
that matches your personal requirements?
- Speak to other expats about their insurance company and ask for recommendations. Find out if they have ever had to make a claim and if so how quickly and easily that was handled.
- Think about the base level of cover you need. The more add-ons the policy has the more expensive it will be. If you’re in developed county for example, it’s not necessary to pay for a medical evacuation cover.
- Do you or anyone in your family have a chronic illness that needs a special medical cover? Inform about this to your insurance company. Ask them if there are any additional costs associated, and what kind of coverage is available for your situation? Do not try to hide your chronic illness from the insurance company. They will find out about it, and your policy might be canceled.
- Check if dental cover be arranged either as a separate policy or an add-on.
- In cases of severe ill health – will the cover allow the whole family to travel together if required?
- If you are planning on moving between a few countries, then check if the overseas insurance company can provide medical coverage for each country you will be relocating to. This is not only about convenience, but the longer you remain with a company they may reward you with lower annual renewal costs.
- Check how much excess you would need to pay per claim. And make sure you are able to afford the payment
- Make sure to choose an overseas health insurance company that is financially stable and is able to pay for your medical expenses every time you issue them a claim.
- Shop around and check a few insurance companies. Don’t assume that the company which offers the lowest premium is the best expat health insurance provider. The low premium may suggest less cover, higher excesses and fewer conditions covered. Be careful, and do your homework.
As a start you can check out one of the following overseas health insurance companies:
HCC Medical Insurance Services – has more than 100 years of experience in the international insurance market. It offers a comprehensive portfolio of insurance products designed specifically to address the insurance needs of consumers worldwide, and has many programs to choose from.
Aetna International – offers a broad range of health insurance products including medical, pharmacy, dental, behavioral health, group life, long-term care and disability plans. It provides medical expenses insurance for expatriates in more than 100 countries.