It is always difficult to determine the extent and level of
expat health insurance coverage you will need as part of your residence in a
new country. It is hard to know what is too much and too little in
circumstances that are unknown and hard to predict.
For those moving abroad on a fixed work contract, there is
little need to worry as much of their medical insurance is usually covered by
the employer, who, as a native of the country in question, will know what the
local medical costs and medical risks are. Therefore, adequate expatriate
health insurance is automatically provided.
For those seeking to move for reasons other than work, or
for those looking to retire abroad, the prospect of dealing with future medical
needs can be daunting as well as complex. The elderly will need to consider
chronic healthcare as part of their insurance package because continued treatment
and after-care following initial hospitalisation are very likely. For others,
maternity coverage may be a requirement. Now, cover is being discussed for
those moving to war zones.
It can be argued that passive war zone cover should be an
option for those moving to locations in the Middle East, Africa and some parts
of Asia. There is an increasing realisation on the severe reality of moving to a
country that lies in the middle of conflict. It has been said that passive war
zone coverage would include the likes of emergency evacuation and surgery and
in the most severe cases, cover plastic surgery and prosthetics.
Most expats would not be moving to countries where this type
of coverage is required but the 2013 terrorist attack at the Westgate shopping
centre in Kenya and the breakout of civil unrest in Ukraine, illustrate the
sheer importance of obtaining adequate expat medical insurance when living in
countries in conflict. In other words, it is a wake-up call for those living or
thinking of moving to these possible target areas.
For the expatriate worker who is thinking of moving to
target locations, it is vital to check whether their international medical
insurance cover is limited in any way. Some expat medical insurance companies
do cover countries experiencing civil unrest whilst others will limit what
their policy includes.
Therefore, if there is a likelihood of moving to a country
where conflict or civil unrest is a real possibility or already happening,
finding a policy that offers full passive war coverage is crucial. If you are
unlucky enough to be taken ill or injured in such conditions, it will be a
relief to know your policy will be active.