For those who travel and work abroad a lot international health insurance is definitely something that you should be looking into. You can never overvalue good health and access to affordable health care and even if you are only working or living abroad for a couple of months or weeks at a time, if it is a regular occurrence you must make sure you are covered as best as you can. This article will attempt to try and bring you up to speed with the basic factors that you should know about international health insurance and also importantly explain the differences between other similar types of insurance such as travel insurance which can sometimes be extremely confusing.
The critical aspect of the international health insurance plans is that normally you are able to set up the plan to include aspects of health care which you wish to be covered by and also able to leave out anything which you may deem irrelevant. This way the plan is very much tailored to your needs and specific situation which will likely differ to others who are also living abroad.
First of all, it should be pointed out that the fundamental difference between international health insurance and travel insurance can be found when looking at the type of insurance company that will act as the provider. International health insurance is primarily concerned with health, therefore, this type of insurance is typically provided by specialist health insurance companies such as Bupa or Vitality Health. Travel insurance, however, does not have the primary concern of health. Instead it is more concerned and tailored to make sure you are covered in terms of any potential mishaps that are commonly associated with travelling, for example, lost luggage, cancelled flights, accident and emergency care etc. This type of insurance is more likely to be provided by a general insurance company as opposed to health specific insurers.
Although many people may assume that their travel insurance ought to be enough coverage for their time abroad, as suggested in the previous paragraph, the level of cover of health care which you are subject to on a travel insurance plan is simply not enough if you are residing in a foreign country even if it is only temporarily. International health insurance was designed for this exact reason; for individuals who for whatever reason are living in a country abroad for extended periods of time. With travel insurance, with the exception of treatment for accidents and emergency care you will not be able to receive general health care or treatment for standard illnesses that you may unluckily develop. Depending on the insurance provider and the actual plan itself individuals will tend to be covered in terms of standard check-ups, treatment for chronic conditions, treatment for pre-existing conditions, rehabilitation, maternity and new born coverage and any potential hospital stays that you may require. These vary from plan to plan however these factors are all typical of international health insurance plans.
If I’m only living/working abroad for a few months could I still get away with just being covered by travel insurance?
This is something which is very much up to you, however, the fact that only emergencies care and accidents are covered in travel insurance plans should be enough to make you consider taking out proper international health insurance. Once fit enough, after receiving emergency treatment you will be transferred back to your home country to receive any further treatment that may be required if only covered by travel insurance. However with an international health insurance plan, you will be able to stay and select where you would like to receive your treatment, remaining in the country to live/work. This can make a massive difference should you fall ill when working or living abroad and without such coverage you could be subject to extortionate medical bills.
There are numerous companies which provide this type of health care and as mentioned in the beginning of this post, the providers tend to be experts in health insurance. Cigna Global, Expatriate Health Care, AXA PPP International, Aviva and Allianz are but a few of the providers that feature such a type of insurance. It will be well worth your time to check out some comparison websites to see what exactly each of these firms offer individually and to see which would be best suited to your needs should you require health insurance abroad.
Ultimately, taking out proper international health insurance when living or working abroad for prolonged periods should very much be as much as a priority as ensuring you have proper medical coverage in your home country. International health insurance really is ‘international’ in the sense that you can set up a plan to provide you with coverage in any country in the world. Contrary to popular belief, this form of health insurance is also extremely affordable and by no means merely available to those who are affluent and there a form of international health insurance out there for people of all budgets.
Don’t be the one who risks living abroad on travel insurance. Be sure to check out the insurance providers who have been mentioned as well as some comparison websites to make sure that you (and your family) set up the most suitable plan for your unique circumstances.