Why purchase international health insurance

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Published last year

Regardless of the duration and purpose of your stay abroad – whether you're on a professional assignment, going to study, retiring, or simply visiting for an extended period of time – being insured internationally can be really helpful. Expat.com gives you six good reasons to subscribe to an international health insurance, especially if you're moving with your family.

Stay covered anywhere in the world

It is generally recommended to expats to have an international health insurance no matter where they are planning to move. Most insurance companies offer tailor-made packages, depending on your individual or family needs, and they adapted to specific regions. If you're moving within Europe for example, you might be offered coverage in many neighbouring countries. However, it's best to opt for an international insurance, especially if you're planning to travel from one country to another as part of your professional assignment, or if you're going on holidays during your stay abroad. You then would not have to notify your insurance company prior to making each trip. Your insurance coverage applies automatically, provided you've checked in advance whether the insurance company is accessible in the country where you'll be travelling to.

Widen your choice

Private hospital care

A health insurance could be part of your employment contract if you have just been hired abroad. Keep in mind however that you may just have been offered a basic local health insurance applying only to the city or region you are in, and that the quality of healthcare provided might not turn out as expected. This also means that additional insurance will be needed in case you're planning a trip elsewhere. With an international insurance, you will have a wider choice in term of access to healthcare. You would also be able to choose your own GP or specialist rather than just pick out a random doctor from a list provided. Additionally, would you feel comfortable in a poorly-equiped hospital? This is one of the reasons why most expats tend to turn to private hospitals or clinics for better healthcare services. Needless to say that most of these have bilingual or multilingual staff which will definitely enhance your experience as a patient.

Less waiting time

Who in the world wants to spend hours waiting at a public hospital? Definitely not you, even if it's your only options. In countries that have a universal healthcare system, waiting lists can be extremely long – which can be quite unpleasant, or even lethal, when you're seeking a consultation or treatment. Having an international insurance can really speed up the process. Rather than queueing up in a public hospital, you could just go to a private hospital or clinic where you'll be taken care of in a jiffy. The only thing you have to do is to show your health insurance card and perhaps keep the receipts for claiming purposes.

Access to quality healthcare

Public healthcare systems are generally funded by the government, which undoubtedly explains the waiting time and even sometimes the poor quality of services provided. Private hospitals and clinics on the other hand are managed independently which also means better services in most cases. Needless to say that private hospitals and clinics are part of a competitive market where each actor is trying to make the best offer. An international health insurance thus covers both day-to-day medical expenses and advanced treatments at more attractive rates.

The cost of healthcare becomes a distant memory

Cost of healthcare

The cost of healthcare is another key issue to take into account when moving overseas, where the cost doesn't necessarily match the quality of healthcare provided. Moreover, costs can vary from one country or region to another. It goes without saying that healthcare services provided by private hospitals and clinics tend to be more expensive than in the public healthcare system. Additional coverage such as hospital admission, eye or dental care, etc, also have to be taken into account. With an international health insurance, you will not be bothered by the financial aspect of quality healthcare. Just make sure to confirm beforehand with your insurance company what type of coverage is provided.

Emergency assistance

Let's face it, even with extra care and attention, accidents can occur anytime, anywhere, so it's always best to be prepared! An international health insurance usually provides emergency assistance, from ambulance fees to the required medical treatment. Coverage also includes repatriation or moving to another hospital, be it in your home country or elsewhere. Should you need treatment overseas, an international health insurance also covers the travel expenses of a family member accompanying you.

We hope this information has been useful. Make sure to choose your international health insurance wisely by comparing offers.