Expat guide: What to consider when buying health insurance

what expats must know about health insurance

Make sure you know what you need before you buy expat health insurance. Source: bjearwicke (sxc.hu)

When moving abroad the thought of organising expatriate health insurance can be daunting. The range of policies available is vast and it’s essential that you look at many factors.

You will need to consider pre-existing conditions and whether they will be covered. Generally speaking health insurance doesn’t cover most pre-existing conditions. There is the option to choose moratorium underwriting which doesn’t require a full health disclosure from the applicant. With this type of policy pre-existing conditions can be covered (depending on the policy guidelines).

In order to ensure you and your family are covered for everything from simple prescriptions to emergency treatment and long-term care, look at the maximum benefit limits. The UK Foreign Office recommends getting a policy with at least €1.5 million in benefit limits (more for destinations outside of Europe).

Make sure you consider your future situation and not only your current one. You may need cover now or in the future for the following:

  • maternity
  • chronic conditions – cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis etc.
  • specialist visits
  • prescription medicine
  • medical evacuation/repatriation
  • dental or optometrist services

Check if your plan offers to pay a proportion of the costs of particular treatments or includes a “paid in full” option. As with most other insurance plans, the higher the excess (deductible) the lower the premiums.

How to get expat health insurance

Buying international health insurance is the same as any other type of insurance. There are a lot of policies and options available which can make it seem overly complicated. The best way is to do some research before you approach insurers. Find out what coverage you are required to have in your destination and what you and your family need.

Speak to a company that has experience with expat insurance – they will be able to advise you of the best policy to suit your needs.

This post follows on from Expat Health’s earlier expat guide on international health insurance.