How does international health insurance work?

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The majority of health insurance plans only cover you for treatment in your country of residence. Although many have some cover while you are abroad on holidays or short business trips, they will not cover you if you are moving away to work or study on a long term basis.

By Allianz Worldwide Care | April 27, 2016

Allianz Care - ipmi

If you have just received an amazing opportunity to live, work or study somewhere else in the world, international health insurance is for you. It ensures you and your family can access the best health care available wherever you are around the world. Many plans include repatriation, which means that you can return to your home country for treatment if the required treatment is not available locally.

Do I need international health insurance?

Our health is our greatest asset, it is the foundation on which everything else in our lives is built. So it is important to consider the possible health care needs of you and your family if you plan to work or study abroad for an extended period of time.

Some countries may have reciprocal agreements for the treatment of citizens of other countries in the case of accident or injury while abroad. However some of these, like the European Health Insurance Card, are only available to those ordinarily resident in their home country. There are a number of risks to you and your family if you don’t have cover while abroad:

  • Not able to access the treatment you or your family need
  • Large medical bills
  • Additional stress

It is upsetting being ill or having an ill family member when you are in familiar surroundings. It can be much more stressful if you are abroad where there are cultural and language differences. It is critical that there is a plan in place if something unexpected happens while you are living away from your home country.

What level of international healthcare coverage do I need?

This is very much dependent on:

Life stage: where you are at in life is going to impact on the cover you need. If you are considering starting a family while you live abroad maternity cover for yourself or your partner may be a requirement. If you are retiring abroad you may need to consider additional health cover from what you had while you were working at home.

Pre-existing conditions: pre-existing medical conditions are going to have an impact on the kind of cover you require. With many insurers pre-existing conditions preclude you from cover, fortunately, we cover an extensive range of pre-existing medical and dental conditions.

Please be advised that our Individual Health products are subject to full medical underwriting of any pre-existing conditions, including those listed on our website. Our underwriting process is based on risk assessment in terms of the expected medical requirements and future claims based on an applicants medical history. As an insurer, we determine whether to accept the risk or not, and in doing so what acceptance terms can be offered to the applicant.

Requirements: there are many benefits to having international health insurance but it is important to think about your needs while you are away. Do you require coverage for inpatient care only or will you also need day to day cover? A way to figure out your needs is to think about the medical access you have in your home country and look at getting something similar while you are away. If you are moving somewhere more remote or a high risk country then it may be worth looking at higher international medical insurance cover for the period you are away.

Where do I need to be covered?

With an international health insurance policy, you can choose the countries where you have cover. Allianz international health insurance make this really easy. If you frequently travel between continents then a global policy might be right for you. If you know you are not going to be visiting or living in the US or Africa there are options that exclude these destination. To make things even easier, for some countries like Lebanon, Egypt, China, Singapore, and in parts of Latin America we have tailor made plans offering a range of benefits specific to that country.

If you are not sure which option is right for you, contact us, our multi-lingual team of experts are happy to help.