International Medical Insurance (Expat)

employees – Individuals – Family

There are many different types of International Medical Insurance plans. Plans designed for; how long you will be abroad, and if you are an individuals, family or part of an employer group.  They are typically either short-term (6 mos or less) or long-term.

Long-term plans (6 months or longer) are designed for; employees, contractors, third country nationals and individuals who are working, living or studying abroad.

2 Options for Employers …

Group or Individual … Industry leading multinational companies are providing comprehensive short and long term international medical insurance benefits to their employees while working abroad. Employers and HR departments can place international employees on group plans (2 or more employees).  Another common occurrence is to enroll global employees on “individual/family” international medical plans. If you only have a few employees who need global coverage, they can be enrolled with your own “individual policy.  The only downside to an individual policy is there is limited medical underwriting, so if an employee has certain pre-existing conditions they may be declined or have some benefits reduced or eliminated.  Group plans, on the other hand are guaranteed and do not have any exclusions for pre-existing conditions.

With more than a handful of global employees, a “group” plan may work best because of the “guarantee-issue” benefit of group plans.

Does health insurance cover you abroad?

Domestic Health Insurance provides very little and often NO coverage when outside the U.S.  Worse yet, if an emergency strikes and you need a medical evacuation or need to be flown home for care, international medical provides this coverage while your domestic group health plan does not.  Emergency medical evacuation and repatriation services can cost upwards of $100,000 depending on your location, the distance to care, and if a nurse or medical staff is necessary during the flight.

Long Term Plan Types ..

  • Individual – Individuals & Family, Employers can use individual plans for individual employees.
  • Group – 2 or more employees working, traveling or living abroad – guarantee issue.
  • Student – Individual & Groups – Students, faculty and entire international student departments.

Example of international risks:

Global Families, Employer groups, multinational employees, global contractors and third country nationals, Defense Base Act, Voluntary Workers Compensation, International Students, Kidnap & Ransom (K&R), Business Travel Risk Management.

Is your medical coverage restricted or limited when working or traveling abroad.  Is doctor or hospital access refused or limited. Are claims denied. Domestic health insurance is simply not designed to work overseas.  Whereas International Health Insurance is specifically designed to provide easy global doctor and hospital access coupled with comprehensive medical coverage for anyone who leaves their home country for work, study, vacation or simply to live. 

International risks that need to be addressed.  

  • Who can assist, and who do you contact if you have a serious injury or illness.
  • Kidnapping and extortion of executives and employees, international students, and vacationing family members including children continues to be a growing global trend regardless of where you are.
  • Finding access to quality care, if an emergency strikes.
  • Crisis management – you need a team of experts to intervene and move in to organize your care, coordinate transportation needs and respond to critical issues during an emergency.
  • U.S. Group health insurance, Medicare or Workers Compensation do not provide any of these services to you or your family when outside the U.S.

Crisis Management policies are available to individuals, families or company executives and employees. For higher limit policies Kidnap & Ransom (K&R) policies can be obtained.

Company Information:

Popular long-term plans …

geoblue and cigna expat benefits 2016

GeoBlue Worldwide          Cigna Global

Why is Global Medical Insurance so critical for international travel?  First and foremost is access to hospital and doctor care. When you need care, emergency or non-emergency services, you need a plan backed by a company which is recognized or verifiable worldwide.  Most countries require either proof of local health insurance or international health insurance coverage.  Also, standards of hospitals and clinics vary greatly from country to country.

While you may find some that offer high quality care, you are also likely to find some that are considered to be “below average” and even in poor condition.  Some hospitals won’t provide any treatment–or allow a patient to be discharged–until the hospital has received a guarantee of payment. This means you’ll have to pay in advance, perhaps as much as tens of thousands of dollars, with your credit card.  In this case, the hospital must accept foreign credit cards, and your card must have a sufficient credit limit.  Or you can take with you an International Health Insurance Plan from a company like GeoBlue.

U.S. health insurance and Medicare stop at our border. Don’t put yourself in the position to have to pay for your own international medical bills.  The claims will be denied!

Global Health insurance from companies like GeoBlue and Cigna Global provide comprehensive worldwide medical coverage coupled with access to an elite networks of qualified medical professionals and hospitals in over 190 countries.

Open your U.S passport to page two and you may be surprised by the health insurance warning while abroad.  U.S. based health insurance along with Medicare provide very little and often no coverage while abroad.  Government sponsored health programs such as Medicare almost never cover care received in a foreign country. Employer-sponsored plans often limit overseas coverage to emergency care only (and the burden will be on you to prove it’s an emergency). Emergency medical evacuation is almost never covered. Even if you’re traveling on business, you may have significant gaps in your coverage.

Be careful If you are in a country with poor medical services, and need to leave for a location with higher quality medical care or even to return home where your regular insurance is accepted is often difficult without an International plan.

Medical evacuations are tricky to arrange, domestic insurance rarely pays the high costs, and there are some air ambulance providers who should be avoided. Worse, local authorities may have financial ties to certain evacuation companies.  The solution? Most travel insurance includes a medical assistance benefit, which is critical.  It gives you 24/7/365 access to a company that will arrange an evacuation for you with a credible evacuation company, or, through their medical personnel can help assure that you’re getting appropriate treatment locally. The assistance company will also be available to help with other travel related problems such as legal troubles, lost passports or credit cards, etc.  In the event of an emergency, everyone should have a contingency plan.

Three Important Policy Types … There are the three major types of coverage to consider.  Most travel insurance products offer at least two of the three:

  1. International Health Insurance. Sometimes referred to as international health insurance, these policies pay for doctor and hospital bills, and sometimes dental care and medications. These plans can be written for short trips (1 day – 6 months) and will supplement Medicare or a managed care plan. These plans are comprehensive and include added features such as preventative services, acupuncture, chiropractic, maternity benefits and more.
  2. Emergency Medical Evacuation. This is crucial. Emergency Air Evacuations can be expensive (as much as $50,000 – $80,000 and more if a nurse or if medical personnel need to accompany you to the new location.
  3. Travel Insurance (Vacation Insurance). The typical policy for the person or family who wish to protect their vacation expenses when interruptions occur. These coverage’s protect you financially in the event you have to cancel or interrupt your trip for medical or other reasons. For example, say you purchase a $5,000 cruise but can’t make it because of personal illness–or illness in the family.

One form of travel insurance commonly sold at airports is “flight accident insurance”, which generally pays a lump dollar amount in the event of death from a plane crash, an extremely rare event. If you’re looking at insurance in an airport, make sure it also includes one or more of the three important coverage’s listed above.

10% Discount If traveling with 5 or more family or friends.  Receive a 10% discount on your total premium.

No Cost Assistance … I work with nationally recognized insurance companies to give you the quality, affordable insurance you’re looking for. I will never spam you or sell your information. Best of all, my assistance is no cost to you.

Have a unique situation or have questions?  Please contact me anytime … I’m happy to help.

John Conner

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