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Expat Healthcare Insurance PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 04 December 2008 16:32

Expat Healthcare Insurance

Andrew Coyne considers the trend towards full cover against medical expenses

The bottom line of medical expenses insurance is that although it may be annoying to pay out large premiums for something that - hopefully - you or your family will never need to use, the idea of having no cover when an emergency occurs whilst you are thousands of miles away from the good old NHS doesn’t bear thinking about.

It doesn’t bear thinking about from a health point of view and nor does it bear thinking about from a cost point of view. As an expatriate you need to be sure that if anything should happen to you or a member of your family, high-standard help will be on hand straightaway. If you accept this premise, then everything else is just a question of detail.

Expat Healthcare Insurance & Health Plans

It is worth examining that detail, though, because there are a large number of health plans now available internationally, and such a competitive environment means that everyone is trying to offer something different. Shop around and you may get a good deal. However, the key is that you don’t put you and your family’s health at risk for the sake of shaving a few pounds off the premiums. To this end you need to make sure the policy you plump for fills your requirements.

The sort of cover that you need depends on your own particular circumstances. If you are a single man in your thirties working for a couple of years in Brussels then it goes without saying that health cover will be less of a priority than if you are married man taking your wife and young children to live in Burkina Faso.

Expat Healthcare Insurance $ Medical Facilities

It is generally acknowledged that in many parts of the third world medical facilities are very basic. If you happen to find yourself in a country where you don’t want to be treated locally if you fall ill, then you need to make sure the medical expenses insurance policy you buy includes an evacuation service, for example.

As with most things in life, the more complicated - or bespoke - the product you buy, the more it will cost you. If you choose a package which is beyond the basic - perhaps called something like Comprehensive or Executive - then your premiums will rise sharply.
Similarly, you can expect to pay more if you want to be covered for injuries received when playing sport, dental treatment, reflexology and a whole host of other options which are seen to be beyond the norm. And because of the prohibitive cost of local healthcare, expect to pay more for cover if you want treatment in the US, Canada or the Caribbean.

Expat Healthcare Insurance & Medical Expenses

Most medical expenses insurers work from a simple menu. At the bottom you have the set menu which will provide you with all the basic necessities of health cover. Stray from the set menu, however, and you will pay more. Often an insurer will offer three grades of medical expenses insurance, which may be seen as the equivalent of economy, business and first class seating on an aeroplane.

The basic plan - and bear in mind this will vary by degree according to which insurer you choose - might cover in-patient and day-care treatment and evacuation and repatriation to the UK - which is increasingly becoming standard. The next level up might also cover out-patient cover, and the top of the range plan should, in theory, cover you for all eventualities (if it doesn’t you should perhaps question why you are paying such high premiums).

 

   

 

Last Updated on Tuesday, 06 January 2009 14:32
 

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