For many expats, international health insurance is not an option, it is essential. Although it can seem like a daunting prospect at first, try not to let it overwhelm you.
We have compiled a list of top 10 tips to bear in mind before, during and after the process.
1. Understand the jargon: Yes the terminology seems confusing and perhaps a little intimidating, but actually it’s not as hard as it seems to understand the jargon. Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to health insurance. Check out our jargon-busting list to help you.
2. Only pay for what you need: Do you really need that spontaneous combustion cover? Probably not. Be clear on what you need in terms of medical attention and don’t get sucked into “benefits” that are not applicable to you. If you don’t need it, don’t pay for it, simple.
3. Be honest about your health status: Discuss the need to be clear about any preconditioned condition or whether you might be wanting to start a family (maternal cover etc.). Your insurer is here to advise you therefore you should be honest with him.
4. Don’t forget customer service: It’s up to you which insurer you choose to cover you. It’s worth remembering that if you require medical attention you are going to want a fast, responsive and efficient company on your side. How do you know if an insurance company has good customer service? Read this.
5. Pay more of the costs if you can: Note that if you increase your deductible (i.e. the part of the insurance claim paid by you) you can make great savings on your premiums (i.e. the money you pay each month for your health insurance). Use this advice with caution however, and only if you do not need medical treatment. We have more money saving tips for health insurance here.
6. Read your policy: This may seem obvious (and boring!), but it’s so easy to avoid reading or to skim over the information and coverage in your insurance plan. Don’t be afraid to ask your insurer what certain terms mean. You need to know what you are covered for so that in the event of an emergency you know your policy inside out.
7. Be honest: Sometimes even with the best international coverage, your insurer may decide to reject your claims. The best way to avoid this is to be honest about your medical situation and be open about any pre-existing conditions.
8. Pay on a year basis: If you can afford it, you might want to consider paying for your health insurance on a yearly basis since most insurers will offer you a discount if you choose this option.
9. Keep copies: Documentation is important. You should carry personal information in your purse or wallet so that the hospital can identify you. It is also a good idea to make easily accessible copies of your policy. This means you can make claims as quickly as possible in the event of an emergency.
10. Call your insurer: If you need medical care you should always call your insurer before you agree to any treatments. This means that you will know to what extent you are covered. Of course, insurers will make exceptions if you have serious injuries meaning that you’re unable to call.
When it comes to getting health insurance coverage as an expat, ignorance is not bliss and could lead to you paying more than you need to. Use our top 10 tips during the process and always remember: you have a better idea of what you need to be covered for than any salesperson.