If you are living and working overseas, you will be aware that buying medical health insurance is a good idea for your time in another country. However, health insurance is a complex product, and you must understand the level of cover you are purchasing. Using a medical health insurance broker is the easiest way to navigate the health and medical insurance market at no extra cost.
With lower premiums and the attractive addition of insider knowledge, you may be tempted to purchase a plan that is local to your new country.
However, what you may not realise is that if you rely on a local plan, you will not be covered when you travel outside the country in which it is based. You should purchase an international medical health insurance plan for complete peace of mind, particularly if you travel a lot.
If you have a local health and medical insurance plan and get treated for any conditions, these health issues become what insurers call ‘pre-existing conditions’ when you leave the country and are forced to leave behind a local plan. Any conditions previously treated will now be pre-existing conditions to a new insurer, and that could mean higher premiums, exclusions or even refusal to cover at all.
With an international health and medical insurance plan, you are covered outside of the country you are based in – in other words, the plan travels with you. So, if you are travelling, whether for work or leisure, outside of your host country, you will still be protected.
If you only have a local health plan, you are restricted in the facilities and hospitals in which you can receive treatment.
With an international medical health insurance plan, you can elect to have treatment where you want it. If you wish to return home, you will also be covered.
Similarly, it’s wise to think about what will happen when you leave the country in which you hold a local plan. If you move on to your next expat destination or return home, you will not be covered. You will then need to purchase another plan on top of your local cover or face the treatment costs without insurance. With an international plan, you avoid these unforeseen costs. This is particularly important for British expats, who may return to the UK for a holiday or repatriation, in light of the recent NHS crackdown on health tourism. You can read about how British expats can protect themselves upon returning to the UK with international health insurance here.
If there is any chance you could become pregnant when you are overseas, you should also purchase an international maternity cover health plan in case of pregnancy or childbirth.
When you claim any international medical health insurance policy, you can rest assured that you won’t encounter language barriers at a time you need communication to be clear.
You may be unsure about many things in your new life abroad, but you shouldn’t be unsure about who is taking care of your health and money. An international plan comes with international customer support.
Most international medical health insurance policy holders are provided with direct billing systems, which entails that any hospital or medical fees will be settled directly between the hospital and the insurer. This is particularly important if you don’t have spare cash to pay medical fees upfront, only to be reimbursed later.
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