Expatriate Health Insurance
Protecting your health outside the UK...
What does Expatriate
The scope of the cover provided can vary significantly depending on the options you select and the countries you require cover in:
• Diagnostic tests, such as X-rays and scans;
• Consultations with a medical practitioner;
The exact process may vary depending on the type of treatment you require but the usually process is as follows:
Stage 1: You suffer an illness or injury that requires medical attention.
Stage 2: You contact the insurer for pre-claims authorisation.
Stage 3: The insurer will provide the medical facility with a guarantee.
Stage 4: You receive the medical advice and treatment you need.
Stage 5: The insurer will usually pay the medical bill directly to the facility.
Do I need
It is a huge risk living overseas without health insurance, very few countries offer any form of public health service let alone one so comprehensive as the NHS.
It is important to consider the potential cost of healthcare in countries where you are not able to access a social health system, if one even exists. In many countries anything from a trip to the doctor to an operation is fully chargeable.
Those with private healthcare cover benefit from speedier diagnosis and treatment, the highest quality care and lower infection risks. Global health insurers are also able to help with arranging suitable medical treatment, which can be difficult to do alone in a foreign country.
1. Outpatient optionsVarious outpatient options are available. Complementary treatments, dental and optical benefits as well as additional scans can sometimes be included.
2. Maternity coverThis option provides cover for the costs incurred during pregnancy and childbirth which includes hospital charges, specialist fees, midwife fees as well as midwife fees.
3. Excess optionsThe amount you agree to pay towards the treatment before the insurance company will start paying any medical expenses, opting for a higher excess reduces your premium.
If you are living overseas you will want the peace of mind of knowing that you and your family have access to medical treatment when you need it.
Levels of healthcare vary between countries and many countries do not have a public healthcare system like the NHS.
Expatriate health insurance covers you for consultations, tests and treatments including emergency treatment and ambulance transportation.
Given the international nature of the plan and the fact that those living abroad typically do not have access to State funded healthcare, additional benefits that may also be covered include:
If you are living abroad you will need to be covered for healthcare in case you or your family are unwell. You may also need to think about being covered for chronic conditions, pregnancy or dental treatment.
Worldwide health insurance plans take into account the system in place in each country. Some countries such as France, Belgium, Germany and Sweden have a publicly funded system although they vary in the way that they provide services. For example in France the state pay a proportion of the cost of treatment and many people use an insurance fund to pay the rest.
All good international health plans should take these differences into account as should your adviser when making any recommendations.
There are a range of options available to tailor the cover to your needs. You can increase and reduce the scope of the cover provided. Given the global nature of the cover the products tend to have different pricing structures dependent upon the countries covered as health insurance costs can vary considerably across the world.
The most common categories are as follows:
Country specific premiums
Some providers offer regional or country specific rates which means you are only paying for the cover you need. Insurance companies may also receive payment for the premiums in different currencies catering for those working overseas. .
Policy limits and excess
An excess can reduce the premiums. An excess is a simple deductable where the policy holder agrees to pay the amount of the excess towards each claim.
The alternative to a simple deductible excess is a co-payment option, with this option the insured agrees to pay a certain percentage of each claim rather than a set amount.
The risk imposed on the insured in the co-payment option is very different to the simple deductible excess as the policy holder will not know upfront how much they will be expected to pay.
The health cover provided by travel insurance is focused on accidents and emergencies. Cover is not provided for elective treatment or chronic conditions. Therefore it would not be a suitable option for someone residing abroad.
With travel insurance you are usually required to return home to continue treatment when fit enough whereas an international health insurance plan would allow you to receive ongoing treatment overseas.
As with any insurance product it is important to truly understand what the health insurance policy covers and any potential pitfalls. To save you from reading the terms and conditions of each policy why not speak to an insurance expert who can do the research on your behalf. The last thing you want to do is make a mistake when it comes to your health.
If you require any guidance, further information or quotes from the leading international health insurance providers then please do not hesitate to pop us an email or give us a call.
10/01/2015 N Tanner
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