International Health Insurance – How To Select A Plan That Is Right For Me? Part I

In order to answer this question, you need to first ask yourself the following questions:

1. Am I traveling or relocating?

2. Where will I be traveling to?

3. What are the medical cares that I may need while overseas?

4. How much am I prepared to fork out for these medical expenses?

5. Are there better alternatives to manage the risks?

Let’s examine each of the above questions separately.

1. Am I traveling or relocating?

If you are traveling to a foreign country for vacation or business, then what you need is an International Travel Medical Insurance. On the other hand, if you are relocating to a foreign country, then what you need is an International Health Insurance or sometime known as Expatriate Health Insurance or Global Health Insurance.

International Travel Medical Insurance typically comes in two (2) different plans; one that covers single trip and the other is an annual plan that covers multiple trips.

Single trip International Travel Medical Insurance plan may be obtained for an insurance period of 5 days to 12 months and some plans will allow renewal of up to 36 months.

Annual plan is ideal for corporate executives and business owners who require International Travel Medical Insurance coverage for numerous trips during the year and making sure that their coverage is always in place for those last minute international trips. In terms of premium, there will be some cost savings for purchasing an annual plan over multiple single trip plans purchased separately.

If you are relocating to a foreign country, then it is advisable that you obtain an International Health Insurance which offers comprehensive coverage for hospital inpatient as well as clinical outpatient care. International Health Insurance may also offer other benefits such as maternity care, wellness benefits, mental health benefits, physical therapy, organ transplant, and pre-existing conditions.

In short, International Travel Medical Insurance is designed to protect unforeseen medical needs that arise while a person is traveling outside his/her home country whilst International Health Insurance covers medical care that can be either emergency or routine in nature.

2. Where will I be traveling to?

Due to the high medical costs in the North America, typical International Health Insurance will have 2 separate plans; one covers USA & Canada and the other excludes. Obviously, plans that cover USA & Canada cost more than those that don’t.

3. What are the medical cares that I may need while overseas?

This question is even more relevant if you have a pre-existing condition. Simply put it, pre-existing conditions are medical conditions that have manifested before you purchase the insurance policy. Be sure to check whether or not your International Travel Medical Insurance policy or International Health Insurance policy covers pre-existing conditions.

Even without any pre-existing condition, there are other health risks associated with overseas traveling and living. Such health risks may be linked to lack of basic hygiene or sanitary standards to a more serve outbreak of pandemic such as avian flu.

Beside illnesses, there are risks of accident that could happen in a foreign country or in a remote location that may require you to be medically evacuated. Such emergency medical evacuation can cost as high as US $100,000.

More importantly, when you are in a foreign country and run into a medical situation you want to be able to know where you can obtain quality health care. Hence, it is utmost important when selecting an International Travel Medical Insurance or International Health Insurance plan, to choose a plan that offers 24/7/365 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year) customer assistance that speaks your language. The Plan should also provide worldwide toll-free or call-collect number allowing you to get customer assistance from anywhere in the world, around the clock.