What Is International Private Medical Insurance?
International private medical insurance is insurance cover for people who live and work overseas. It ensures they will have access to the routine and unforeseen healthcare treatment that they might require while they live overseas. International private medical insurance is different to travel insurance as it will cover people for a longer period of time, and also include cover for people who may be working, which travel insurance might not.
As an expert in international health insurance, Expatriate Group has put together this guide to explain everything you need to know about international private medical insurance.
What’s covered by international private medical insurance?
Most providers will offer different levels of cover for this international private medical insurance. For example, Expatriate Group offers four different plans which vary in how much is covered.
In our Primary plan, you will have access to a private hospital bed for your hospital visits, as well as surgeries, prescribed medicine, diagnostic tests, and nursing fees for the duration of your hospital visit. This means you will be completely covered if you ever have to visit hospital while you’re abroad.
At the other end of the scale, our Select plan includes everything in our Primary and other plans, as we all Maternity Care, for those who are starting a family while they’re overseas. It also includes dental care, both routine and emergency, as well as preventative care such as mammograms, smear tests, and prostate cancer screening. This type of plan can give you more comprehensive cover and complete peace of mind that you won’t be hit by unexpected medical bills.
What’s covered by your international private medical insurance will vary from provider to provider. For example, some providers operate a closed hospital network, so you will only be able to get cover from treatment from a select choice of hospitals dictated by the provider. However, Expatriate Group does not operate on a closed network, which means you have complete freedom to pick which hospital and facility you want to get your healthcare treatments from.
How does international private medical insurance work?
Typically, an international private medical insurance policy will provide coverage on an annual basis, with the policy renewing every year if the expat stays abroad. Most providers will give the option to pay monthly or annually, with the option to upgrade or adjust your policy at the renewal date, if you wish to expand your cover.
Providers will either require you to pre-approve payment, or you can make a claim to be reimbursed if you have had to pay out-of-pocket. Often, such as in emergency situations, pre-approval won’t be possible, so providers will have a simple process for you to claim your costs back. For pre-planned treatments and surgeries, you’re usually advised to contact your private medical insurance provider at least seven days before the treatment, to give plenty of time for the application to be processed and the money to reach the facility.
Who needs international private medical insurance?
Anyone who is living and working or studying abroad could benefit from international private medical insurance. This includes students, people employed by a local company, freelancers and remote workers, families, and retirees.
In some countries, it will be a requirement of the visa application that the expat has some sort of international private medical insurance. This will be because the country will not provide public healthcare for foreign nationals, so they will have to prove they will be covered elsewhere.
Some countries might not require foreign citizens to have private medical insurance and may include everyone in their public healthcare provision. However, in many countries, the quality of healthcare will be below what the expat is used to. In these cases, private medical insurance can ensure they and their loved ones are able to access private healthcare facilities, which are typically of better quality and with more choice for treatments.
How much does international private medical insurance cost?
The cost of international private medical insurance will vary depending on the provider, the level of cover you choose, as well as the region you’re living in. Your age may also factor in to how much you pay, as well as if you’re choosing for individual or family cover.
Generally, for those applying for international health insurance in the UK, costs will be split into three regions: Europe; Global (not including the USA); Global (including the USA). The USA is often split out from the rest of the world as the costs for healthcare there are so high, and the system is quite different to other countries.
What’s the best international private medical insurance plan?
The best international private medical insurance plan for you will depend on your specific circumstances. Expatriate Group is dedicated to providing high quality healthcare for all our customers – with over 100,500 customers based in 180 countries across the globe, we have the expertise and experience to cater to the needs of expats living and working abroad.