Healthcare is one of the most important human needs that we all want to have access to. That is why most local governments around the world have their own basic health coverage benefits provided for its own citizens in their country.
But in our increasingly global world, just having coverage in your own home country may no longer be sufficient. What happens when people seek medical treatment while they are based overseas?
These could be expats who are working overseas, or the family members that accompany them. It could be business owners who have to spend extended time overseas taking care of their business.
Being overseas does not preclude anyone from needing health insurance coverage. In fact, the need for health insurance increases when you are overseas, since you are in a foreign country that you are not familiar with. In addition, your own local health insurance policy may not completely cover the healthcare cost that you may incur while overseas.
What Is International Medical Insurance
If you ever heard of such a product, chances are, you would have worked/or are currently working overseas. International medical insurance is one of the most important areas that expats should look into prior to going overseas for work.
Essentially, what international medical insurance does is to cover any healthcare needs that you may have while you are overseas. These include hospital bills, surgeon fee, specialists’ consultation, physiotherapy and many other health related areas that you may not even know about.
Not All Country Provides Similar Healthcare Cost
A common mistake that expats need to avoid making is to assume that the foreign country they go to would have similar healthcare cost structure as their home country. This is rarely the case, even among developed nations that appear to have similar standards of living.
For example, healthcare cost in the USA is exorbitantly high. In fact, medical expenses have been identified as the number one cause of personal bankruptcies. Interestingly, the majority of these people who filed for bankruptcies due to medical expenses had some form of health insurance, thus dispelling the notion that simply having any type of health insurance is sufficient.
In other countries such as Canada and the UK, healthcare is readily available and most importantly, free for all citizens. In Singapore, our public healthcare system works based on a co-payment method.
The bottom-line is that healthcare system and cost vary significantly across countries. If you are an expat, it is imperative that you do NOT assume that the healthcare cost in the foreign country is similar to what you are used to back home. You need to understand the healthcare cost in that country and ensure that you have insurance to cover yourself, and your family.
How Is International Medical Insurance Different From Travel Insurance?
A common question that you may wonder at this point is whether or not international medical insurance is similar to the medical insurance coverage provided by your typical travel insurance.
To some extent, there are overlaps. Both international medical insurance and travel insurance provide some financial protection against the possibility that you need to seek emergency medical treatment while overseas.
However for travel insurance, you may be required back to your home country for further treatment once you are considered fit to do so. Also, treatments that result from certain activities may be excluded from your coverage.
What International Medical Insurance Provides?
To explain what international medical insurance provides, we take an example from Cigna Global, a global health service leader with more than 86 million customers around the world.
For their core international medical insurance product, Cigna Global provides three different level of coverage. Silver, Gold and Platinum. We will focus on the Gold Coverage. Here are some of the key highlights from the product.
- Hospital and Surgeon Fee for private room – Paid in full
- Any transplant, dialysis – Paid in full
- Physiotherapy, Home Nursing, Rehabilitation – USD$5,000 per annum
- Total annual coverage – up to USD$2,000,000 each year
Mental healthcare, cancer cure and maternity care are also included in the coverage. The list of coverage is very extensive and the only way to know them all is to check it out for yourself. You can read up more on the full list of coverage provided here.
Essentially the coverage provided by international medical insurances are designed to provide for complete medical coverage that you and your dependents may need while you are based overseas, at the facility of your choice.
Consider Your Personal Needs And Challenges
In addition to the medical insurance provided, expats can also opt to add on optional benefits such as international outpatient treatment, visual and dental treatment, health & well being, and medical evacuation.
Different countries around the world have different approach towards healthcare. For an expat in an unfamiliar country, this can be quite intimidating, especially if you are not familiar with the healthcare norm of the country.
For such times, Cigna Global provides a 24/7 to help address any uncertainty and questions that you may have. These include letting you know of which are the nearest hospitals, clinics or doctors in the city that you are in so that you do not have to worry about searching for a trusted healthcare provider.
If you are looking for an expat health insurance policy to cover yourself, your family members, or even your employees, don’t wait any longer. You can get for yourself an instant quote today to understand the cost of coverage.
This article was written in collaboration with Cigna Global, a healthcare service leader dedicated to helping people improve their health, well-being and sense of security. All opinions expressed in this article are the independent views of DollarsAndSense.sg