5 Ways to Compare International Health Insurance Plans

5 Ways to Compare International Health Insurance Plans


Last updated May 12, 2020 3 minutes read

Shopping for health insurance in the United States can be challenging enough, so it is not surprising some individuals feel intimidated at the thought of comparing international health insurance plans before moving abroad. However, those who know what to look for in an international health plan find it is relatively simple to carefully review potential insurance providers. The steps in this article will help those who are planning to move abroad research their international insurance options and find the best coverage for themselves or their families using comparison websites.

1. Take a Look at the Deductible and Coinsurance

In addition to researching the benefits and the cost of premiums, it is crucial to find out the deductible and coinsurance. Some insurance companies offer a lower premium, but with a much higher deductible and coinsurance. If you are looking for a comprehensive plan, a higher premium but lower deductible and coinsurance may suit your needs. Depending on your medical needs, consider the trade-off between premium and deductible and coinsurance.

2. Provide Emergency Medical Evacuation and Repatriation Coverage

Medical evacuation and repatriation coverage, are usually both covered under international health insurance. If you are traveling to a remote area, where proper medical facilities are unavailable, emergency medical evacuation coverage would transport you to another facility that can better treat your needs. If the other facility is not local, then emergency medical evacuation coverage will pay for you to be airlifted to a better facility. Since emergency medical evacuation can be quite expensive, make sure you are covered for at least $50,000 under your international health insurance plan.

Repatriation of bodily remains covers air or ground transportation expenses arising from the death of the insured member. It returns mortal remains back to the home country. You should also double-check to make sure repatriation is covered under your international health insurance plan.

3. Consider Choosing a Local Provider or an International Provider

Compare the rates and coverage of health insurance providers domestically to the rates from a niche international health provider, who may provide rates at a premium but offer more comprehensive coverage as well as borderless coverage. While the domestic provider may have potentially lower rates, it could have less coverage.

For example, an expat who purchased local health insurance in Thailand may be able to receive healthcare while in the country – and only that country. A doctor’s visit while on a trip back to the expat’s home country might not be covered through a domestic insurer. However, if an expat chooses an international health insurance provider, that expat may be covered in both the home country and their country of residence.

Expats should understand the policy wording with local policies as there is less transparency and differences in meaning. Additionally, expats should check to see if they can access their policies online and submit their claims electronically. Local insurers may not have the capabilities to provide access to policies online, but international insurers tend to provide more services catered to expats.

4. Require English Support from Global Health Insurance Providers

Finding a company with 24/7 healthcare support in English is easily overlooked, but essential. Expats should also ensure they will have access to English speaking doctors, hospitals, and claims support.

5. Understand the Availability of Medical Providers

Having a wide-range of in-network medical care providers is important. Expats should find out how much their plan covers in-network and out-of-network treatment and how it affects premiums. Expats should also make sure there will be in-network medical care offices in their cities of residence, if possible.

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