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International Health Insurance

Saarrah Mussa
Written by  Saarrah Mussa
5 min read
Updated: 06 May 2024

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What is international health insurance?

International health insurance is a type of health insurance specifically designed for individuals living or working abroad for an extended period, typically longer than one year. It provides coverage for both emergency and routine healthcare needs while you are outside your home country.

health insurance

How does it work?

With international health insurance, you gain access to private healthcare providers anywhere you travel. This means you don't have to rely on unfamiliar public healthcare systems, which can be challenging to navigate abroad. Additionally, we often pay the healthcare provider directly when you need to claim, eliminating surprise medical bills. Instead, you pay a predictable and regular premium, either monthly, quarterly, or annually.

Why is it important?

Peace of mind and access to quality care: Living or working abroad often means navigating unfamiliar healthcare systems. International health insurance provides a safety net, ensuring access to quality private healthcare when needed.

Avoid relying on public systems: Public healthcare systems in different countries can have limitations, waiting lists, or language barriers. International health insurance offers flexibility in choosing private providers.

How does international health insurance differ from domestic health insurance?

International health insurance differs from domestic health insurance as it is designed for long-term stays abroad, offering broader coverage than domestic plans. It typically includes emergency and routine care, specialist consultations, and in some cases, potentially maternity care. International health insurance covers you in your chosen region, whether regionally or globally, while domestic plans are limited to your home country.

Premiums for international health insurance are often higher due to the broader coverage and global reach.

What is typically covered by international health insurance?

What your policy covers depends on the type of policy you opt for as well as the level of cover you take out. Different policies and providers offer substantially different elements to their cover plans. What is included and excluded from your policy will be tailored to you and will be specified in your policy documents. Here are some common inclusions:

  • Emergency and routine medical treatment

  • Hospitalisation (Impatient treatment and outpatient care)

  • Specialist consultations

  • Prescriptions

  • Repatriation

What factors should be considered when choosing the right policy for me?

Needs assessment: Consider your health needs, preferred level of coverage, budget, and desired network access.
Plan comparison: Research different providers and compare their plans based on coverage details, and exclusions.

How much does international health insurance typically cost?

The cost of your insurance will depend on a few factors including:

  • Cover level: More comprehensive plans with wider coverage will have higher premiums.

  • Excess amount: Choosing a higher excess can lower your premium, but you'll pay more out-of-pocket before insurance coverage kicks in.

  • Age and health status: Premiums may increase with age or pre-existing conditions.

  • Geographic location: Costs can vary depending on the region you choose for coverage.

Common exclusions

There are a few exclusions and limitations in most policies including:

  • Pre-existing conditions: Some plans might exclude coverage for pre-existing conditions or have limitations on related treatments.

  • Specific procedures: Certain procedures or treatments might not be covered, so reviewing the policy details is crucial.

  • Maternity cover: Many health insurance providers do not include maternity cover.

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