Global Medical Plans
International Medical Insurance Plans ImageIf you plan to live or reside abroad for an extended length of time, you will want to make sure you invest in a high-quality international health insurance plan for the period you are overseas, outside of your home country, in case something happens and you need to seek medical treatment. For most countries around the world, it may also be a requirement of your visa (if you need one) to show proof of adequate coverage. These plans are ideal for Expatriates, Global Nomads or International Citizens who are abroad for the majority of each year.
What is International Health Insurance?
International Health Insurance offers comprehensive worldwide coverage for individuals and families living abroad for a year or longer. Coverage should include in-patient, out-patient, wellness, evacuation, dental, vision and select other benefits. Plans are renewable each year for life or until a specified termination date.
How Much do Global Medical Plans Cost
One of the first question we often get: “How much does international health insurance cost?”. Eligibility and premiums are based primarily on a policyholders age, medical history and area of coverage (typically not on an individual’s claims history), as well as the deductible and maximum coverage, selected. Plans will normally offer two areas of cover; Worldwide or Worldwide excluding the USA, sometimes excluded countries also include Canada, Hong Kong, and other more expensive countries for medical care. If you choose the coverage that includes the US, it will typically be more expensive. The reason for this is that medical care in the USA is the most expensive in the world. At times, international medical insurance providers (i.e., GeoBlue and Cigna) will rank countries by medical costs and have premiums adjusted accordingly.
Global Medical Plan Benefits
International Health or Global Medical Plans offer comprehensive medical coverage for those living outside of their home country for a year or longer. The best plans offer:
- Freedom to choose any hospital, clinic or doctor
- 24 Hour Emergency Assistance and Medical Helpline
- Emergency Evacuation, Repatriation, Hospitalization
- In most cases, Home Country coverage is included
- Choice of GBP, Euro and USD currencies for payment
Plans may offer additional benefits such as dental, vision, maternity, prescription drugs and other coverage options. Some of these are included in the base plan. Other times they are optional add-ons that come with an additional premium. For example, Cigna Global allows you to pick and choose various options (Wellness, Dental, and Vision, etc.) and benefits to design a plan that meets your specific needs.
International Health Insurance and Pre-Existing Conditions
Individual global medical insurance plans are purchased by one person or a family. Typically, the plan is purchased because there is a risk of some medical issue soon (maternity is a typical example). Therefore, these plans come with added risks that an insurance company will try to minimize through a process called underwriting. After you apply, a team of underwriters will review your application and any pre-existing conditions. They may require a copy of past medical records. After their review, they will typically either
- Approve your application as is
- Approve your application with a limitation or exclusion of the pre-existing condition
- Add a premium surcharge to offset the added risks of insuring you with your condition
- Deny your application altogether
All plans, domestic or international, will provide a list of exclusions for specific risks that they can not insure, including:
- Acts of War.
- Hostilities, Military Actions, Terrorist Acts, and Other Civil Commotions, whether the war has been declared or not.
- Nuclear Explosions and resulting nuclear fallout.
Of course, we suggest working with a licensed international health insurance broker. There are no additional costs to use a broker. The benefit is that you get an experienced agent working to help sort through a variety of policies to find the best plan for your specific needs. Your broker will also help get your application processed promptly and resolved any issues that may come up during the year. Contact us to get a quote today.