How to choose the best international health insurance?

April 09, 2019

There are a wide range of international health plans on the market which can make choosing the correct one for your needs difficult.

The first thing to know is the difference between international health and travel insurance. They are very different products designed to meet different needs. If you are travelling abroad for a short period with no plans to work, then travel insurance may be the best option for you. However, if you are going to work abroad as an expat or a digital nomad, an international health insurance plan is a better option.

In order to choose the best health coverage, it needs to be tailored to your specific circumstances.

When researching cover, it is important to consider:
If you have pre-existing medical condition that requires ongoing treatment you will need to consider this when deciding on an international health insurance plan. Conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, COPD and cancer are just some that may be considered pre-existing by an international healthcare provider.
Knowing the type of in-patient care you would like if you become ill while working abroad is also important. Not all plans offer the same standards. If having a private room is important to you, ensure the plan you choose guarantees one. Some lower premium plans may only entitle you to a semi-private room.

Sometimes finding the best healthcare plan is dependent on the other benefits offered. The differentiators between plans can be areas like:

  • Nursing or convalescent homes
  • Ambulance costs
  • Emergency treatment outside your area of cover

Knowing what you want in each of these areas will help you get cover that will meet your future needs.

A deductible is an amount you are happy to pay before your insurance covers you. They can vary. Accepting a lower premium usually increases the deductible you must pay should you require treatment while working abroad. Ensure you are happy with the level of deductible on your policy because if it is too high, it can add unwanted stress at a difficult time.
Medical evacuation covers the cost of receiving treatment overseas should it not be available to you locally. It is important to know the difference between medical evacuation and medical repatriation.
While these are some of the things you should do to find the best expat health insurance, there are a few things you should avoid:
It may seem tempting, particularly if you have a condition that might increase your premium but not disclosing a piece of important information may null and void your insurance policy. The best approach is to speak with your insurance company and provide as much information as possible on the condition or issue.

The answer to this question will really depend on you and your needs. The cost will be impacted by:

  • Pre-existing conditions
  • How many people will be included on the policy
  • Geographic location
  • Your age
  • Extras required

We have outlined some scenarios you may find helpful in our post on how much international health insurance costs.

To find out how much a medical plan might cost you and your family, get a quote now.