How Does International Health Insurance Work


WRITTEN BY: Craig Sturgill

UPDATED: JANUARY 13, 2023 | 3 MIN READ

International health insurance provides coverage for medical treatment and associated expenses in countries outside of a person’s home country. It allows individuals to access necessary medical care when traveling abroad, protecting them from unexpected costs or delays. Below we’ll discuss in more detail how international travel insurance works.

International health insurance: Worldwide coverage when traveling or living abroad

International health insurance plans are comprehensive and have various coverage options from multiple insurance companies. Choosing the right plan for you is essential. We’ll discuss the coverage, costs, and details on selecting the right coverage for yourself below.

International health insurance coverage

International health insurance covers a variety of medical treatments, from emergency care to routine check-ups. Depending on the chosen plan, coverage may include hospital stays, doctor’s visits, specialist consultations, diagnostic testing, and prescription drugs. Generally, coverage does not include elective or cosmetic procedures, pre-existing conditions, fertility treatments, or dental services. However, some plans may have coverage for these services. It’s essential to read the policy carefully to ensure the chosen plan covers the necessary treatments and any additional services the policyholder may need.

Cost of international health insurance

The cost of international health insurance depends on several factors, including the country you are traveling to, the coverage you require, the length of your trip, and your age. Generally, a basic plan may range from $500 to $8000 per year, with more comprehensive plans costing more. You may also be required to pay a deductible or up-front fee before coverage begins. It’s essential to compare different programs to ensure you get the best coverage for your money. Be sure to factor in any additional fees and taxes to your chosen plan.

Policies will generally offer two areas of cover; Worldwide or Worldwide, excluding the USA. Excluding cover in the USA will save significant costs. You can exclude countries like Canada, Hong Kong, and other more expensive countries for treatment with some plans. Treatment in these countries is more expensive.

Who needs international health insurance?

International health insurance is suitable for travelers and ex-pats living abroad but for anyone who regularly travels outside their home country. International health insurance covers medical expenses for those outside their home country for extended periods and who need access to medical care. The coverage is typically broader than regular health insurance plans. It includes coverage for medical evacuation, repatriation expenses, and other services that may not be included in traditional health insurance plans.

Does an international policy cover evacuation?

Yes, an international health insurance plan can cover medical evacuation in the case of a medical emergency. Evacuation may refer to medical repatriation. This involves returning to your home country for medical treatment, or it may refer to medical evacuation. This involves being transported to the nearest facility that can provide adequate medical care. Depending on the plan, medical evacuation can be covered up to a specific limit. It’s important to review your policy to see what the limit is.

Exclusions of an international health insurance policy

International health insurance plans can vary significantly regarding what they cover and exclude. Generally, coverage is limited to medical care related to sudden and unexpected illness or injury. Pre-existing conditions, routine medical care, wellness visits, elective surgery, and preventive care are typically excluded from coverage. Be sure to read the fine print from your insurance provider of any plan to ensure coverage and exclusions.

Should I enroll in international medical insurance?

International health insurance generally covers expenses related to hospitalization, doctor visits, prescription medications, and other medical services. Depending on the plan, it may also cover medical evacuation, repatriation, mental health, and dental services. Costs vary widely and depend on the coverage chosen, the country of residence, and the provider. Generally, premiums are paid on a monthly or annual basis.

Those traveling for business, students studying abroad, and expatriates and their families may need international health insurance. It’s important to note that insurance policies can have exclusions, so it’s important to read the fine print and ensure the plan covers the necessary medical services.

What is the difference between international and travel insurance?

Travel insurance is designed for travelers to cover cancellations, personal belongings, and emergency medical treatment. However, international health insurance is intended to cover inpatient treatment check-ups and continuing treatment of chronic conditions abroad. The below chart provides a visual of the differences between the two.

Pros and cons of international policy

International health insurance offers several benefits, such as accessing healthcare services in multiple countries. They also allow you to travel and work abroad without the worry of not having coverage and provide a way to cover emergency medical expenses. However, it can also be expensive and may only be the best option for some. It’s essential to consider the pros and cons of international health insurance before signing up for a plan. Additionally, it’s important to understand the different types of programs available and the costs associated with each plan. Finally, comparing plans before signing up for one is important, as other plans may have different levels of coverage and varying prices.

FAQs

Can you get international health insurance?

Travel medical insurance plans provide tailored coverage suited to the needs of those leaving their home country. These policies are designed to supplement primary health insurance coverage and give peace of mind to those leaving their country to travel or live abroad.

How much does it cost to get international health insurance?

The cost of international medical insurance plans can vary drastically, ranging from $500 with limited benefits to $8,000 for a comprehensive policy, including coverage in the US. On average, these plans cost approximately $5,000 annually.

What is international insurance coverage?

International insurance plans provide comprehensive coverage for those residing abroad for extended periods, including medical and emergency evacuation, medical care expenses, and maternity coverage.

Can I buy coverage from another country?

Certain foreign countries provide a health insurance plan only accessible to their citizens, residents, or immigrants after a certain waiting period. After living in that country for an extended period, residents and their families may be eligible to apply for the health insurance plan offered by the government.

Is travel insurance worth it?

Yes, it’s always wise to protect yourself and your family from the unknown. Even if your health insurance covers you outside the country, doctors at your destination may not accept it. Without travel insurance, you could be stuck paying for these bills out of pocket, then seeking reimbursement from your healthcare provider.

Get help finding the right international health insurance policy

Finding the right plan for international health insurance can be complicated. With many variables and options, speaking to an expert is essential. This will ensure you have protection that meets your needs. For information about policies and rates available, give us a call or fill out our online rate form.