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Expat Private medical insurance : Choose your health insurance wisely
Thursday, 26 March 2009 16:22

Quality healthcare is a must for an expat

For people living abroad, quality healthcare isn’t a luxury – it’s a necessity. State healthcare isn’t always available, or may only provide the minimum level of care, and private medical treatment without any insurance cover can be extremely costly. If you’re looking for cover for you and your family it can be confusing. It’s vital to understand what insurers offer, so here are some points you may wish to consider.

Will they settle my claims directly with the hospital?

Paying up front will leave you out-of-pocket after your medical treatment. To help relieve this inconvenience AXA PPP healthcare has direct settlement arrangements with over 700 hospitals around the world to settle in-patient bills directly.

Speed of payment

Healthcare providers vary in the length of time they take to pay a claim, so make sure you choose a company that has a good reputation for the efficiency of its claims settlement.

The age factor

If you’re approaching retirement age check with the company that it will be able to cover you. Some providers may not accept applicants over 65.

Where you live

If you take out an insurance policy that covers you for treatment whilst in a specific country or geographical area, will your medical bills be paid if you are taken ill elsewhere in the world?

How quickly can you contact your medical provider when you need them most?  

Check the opening hours of customer service helplines and whether they are open at the weekends. Can you get in touch with them around the clock, 365 days a year, in case of emergency?  

Customer Service Helplines

When you are living or working away from home, you need to know that any queries you have about your cover can be dealt with. Do you, for example, have access to telephone based interpretation services and facilities to help you find English speaking doctors and dentists locally?

Inclusions and Exclusions


Make sure you appreciate the scope of your cover to avoid costly misunderstandings.  No insurance policy is designed to cover all eventualities, so before you buy your medical insurance policy, have you thought about:

Being able to pre-authorise your treatment before it commences so you can be assured of your cover and, in some cases, arrange for bills to be settled directly with the hospital.

The level of cover provided under the in-patient benefits.  For example will your benefit be sufficient to pay for treatment received in the USA?

The level of cover for day-patient and out-patient treatment: this includes procedures which don’t require an overnight stay, diagnostic tests and physiotherapy. Most insurance companies vary the level of out-patient cover depending on what plan you chose.

Parent accommodation – can you stay with your child whilst they are receiving hospital treatment?

Emergency dental cover for accidental injury.
Nursing at home following treatment.
Private ambulance transportation costs.
Cash benefit - you will receive a cash sum for each night you stay in a hospital bed when you have received free in-patient hospital treatment.
Options for cover of pre-existing conditions and chronic conditions.
Travel – whilst your healthcare policy should take care of your medical costs, you will also want to ensure that you have the option to be insured for any holiday and business travel outside of your area of cover.  

Another point to take into consideration is that you may not see a large difference in policy and price between two insurers although the services and levels of support they offer could differ immensely. It can make all the difference to be dealing with a company who is supportive of its members, regardless of whether you need to claim on your policy or not. We offer our members information about the countries they may travel or move to, helping to reduce the uncertainty you may feel before you arrive. General health advice and information on different illnesses or diseases you may encounter while abroad are an invaluable asset and can be available through 24-hour helplines such as Health at Hand, AXA PPP healthcare's health information line, which is staffed by healthcare professionals 365 days a year.

With over 35 years experience in the international health insurance market, AXA PPP healthcare is dedicated to looking after the healthcare insurance needs of people who are living, working or retired outside the UK for more than six months a year and in certain areas, residents residing in their home countries.

Our International Health Plan covers individuals as well as businesses of all sizes. We offer the choice of three levels of cover - Standard, Comprehensive and Prestige.  In addition to choosing their level of benefit, members also select an area of cover to suit their needs.

Alongside this, we have relationships with partner companies in Bahrain, Cyprus, Egypt, Malta, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, allowing us to distribute our medical insurance plans to a wide number of people worldwide.

AXA PPP healthcare offers excellent support and service coupled with our personal touch. These are values that, alongside access to private healthcare, allow AXA PPP healthcare to give peace of mind to their members and intermediaries alike.

All of our plans offer emergency out of area cover providing the reassurance that members will be covered in countries outside of their chosen area, whether travelling on business or pleasure.

We now have direct settlement arrangements with over 700 hospitals around the world. In addition, our customers have access to around 11,000 medical providers around the world.

Health at Hand provides help and information on a wide range of medical issues, conditions and treatments. They can also send free fact sheets and leaflets and call members back if required.  

Additionally, members have access a number of other support services including:

  • International emergency treatment abroad – access to overseas evacuation and repatriation service, which provides medical advice and assistance wherever the member is in the world
  • A multilingual team of Personal Advisors who can help with policy enquires
  • Interpretation service helpline – providing interpretation in over 100 languages
  • Doctor, Dental, Optical helpline – offering details of local English-speaking practitioners
  • Parent accommodation – cover for accommodation expenses in the same hospital as any child under 18 covered on the plan
We believe that what really makes AXA PPP healthcare different from other healthcare providers is our excellent support and service coupled with our personal touch. These are values that, alongside access to private healthcare, allow AXA PPP healthcare to give peace of mind to their members and intermediaries alike. Not only are our employees friendly, professional and efficient, they have also made it their business to help and look after you.
 

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