In which countries can I receive treatment?
This depends on what type area of cover you need. Cover can be selected on a Worldwide, Worldwide excluding USA or sometimes on a more specific basis, such as Europe or Africa.
What are ‘benefit riders’?
Benefit riders are add-on insurance policies that cover health-related services that are not typically covered by your international health insurance plan. Hazardous sports or terrorism for example, are not typically covered under an international health insurance plan but are available at an additional charge as a benefit rider.
What is in-patient coverage?
In-patient cover includes expenses incurred when you are required to be admitted to hospital for treatment. In-patient benefits include things like hospital accommodation, anaesthesia and theatre charges, surgical fees, surgical appliances, prostheses and diagnostic tests. Listed in the table of benefits are details of the specific inpatient benefits that are available to subscribers.
What is out-patient coverage?
Out-patient coverage is treatment provided in the practice or surgery of a medical practitioner, therapist or specialist that does not require the patient to be admitted to hospital.
What are the typical benefits of an international health insurance plan and what do they mean?
International health insurance plans are flexible and can be tailored to the individual to meet their requirements. To help you better understand what kind of international health insurance plan that you require, listed below are the most common benefit types. Categories such as Maternity are broken down into individual benefits such as routine maternity and complications of pregnancy which vary from Insurer to Insurer.
In-patient. The most basic form of international healthcover, In-Patient refers to treatment received in a hospital where an overnight stay is necessary. In-patient benefits include things like hospital accommodation, anaesthesia and theatre charges, surgical fees, surgical appliances, prostheses and diagnostic tests.
Out-patient. Out-patient refers to treatment provided in the practice or surgery of a medical practitioner, therapist or specialist that does not require the patient to be admitted to hospital.
Maternity. This refers to cover for medical costs incurred during pregnancy and childbirth, including hospital charges, specialist fees, mother's pre- and post-natal care, midwife fees (during labour only) as well as newborn care.
Dental. Routine dental includes an annual dental check up, simple fillings related to cavities or decay and root canal treatment. Complex dental includes things like gum disease treatment, orthodontics and dental prostheses.
Well-being. To keep your body running smoothly, many Insurers now offer an annual well-being check up to be included in your policy benefits.
Vaccination. This refers to immunisations and booster injections in addition to the cost of consultation for administering the vaccine.
Evacuation & Repatriation. Evacuation covers you for transport costs to the nearest suitable medical centre, when the treatment you need is not available nearby. Repatriation, gives you the added benefit of returning to your home country to be treated in familiar surroundings.
Do plans cover for pregnancy?
Yes but not all. Pregnancy or 'Routine Maternity' treatment is a common benefit found in many international plans. Routine maternity refers to medical costs incurred during pregnancy and childbirth, including hospital charges, specialist fees, mother's pre- and post-natal care, midwife fees (during labour only) as well as newborn care.
Do plans cover dental treatment?
Yes many plans cover routine dental treatment with some offering complex dental cover. In addition, emergency in-patient dental treatment is a popular benefit that many plans cater to. If applicable to your plan, this benefit provides you with a refund for emergency dental treatment due to accidents requiring hospitalisation.
What is moratorium cover?
It means potentially good news for those that suffer from pre-existing conditions!
Although the exact definition and what moratorium underwriting means from Insurer to Insurer differs a general explanation is that, after a period of time has elapsed of continuous cover, some pre-existing medical conditions will become eligible for benefit. Pre-existing conditions will be covered after a set period only if you haven't consulted with any doctor or specialist for advice or treatment or if you haven't suffered any symptoms for that medical condition or any related condition for a continuous period determined by the Insurer.
Moratorium cover allows you to get cover for pre-existing conditions provided that your condition appears to have fully subsided. Some conditions unfortunately are usually not eligible as defined by those that require regular check-ups such as Diabetes, Cancer, Hypertension and Arthritis.
Will my plan cover me for sports accidents?
Yes, some plans have no exclusions relating to sporting activities. However, extreme or hazardous sports such as bungee jumping, hand gliding, parachuting, motor sports or participating in sporting activities as a professional are usually excluded from coverage unless a agreed upon with the Insurer.
If I go home, will my policy continue?
The answer in part depends on how long you will go home for and the restrictions of what your policy states in relation to 'home country coverage'. International health insurance is designed to cover you when you living outside of your home country.
Consult with a BrokerFish advisor should you have any concerns regarding returning home to a particular country.
Do plans cover chronic conditions?
Typically no, but some Insurers will cover chronic conditions depending on what they are. Please consult with a BrokerFish advisor to get help with covering chronic conditions.
Do plans cover pre-existing conditions?
Traditionally international health Insurers have excluded cover for pre-existing conditions. However, we now work with Insurers that will look at medical history on a case by case basis and will try to cover pre-existing conditions. In return however the Insurer will typically increase your premium cost to cover their costs. Really it depends on the nature of the condition and the Insurer's pre-existing condition risk policy. Pre-existing conditions if not declared to the Insurer up-front but which are later discovered will not be covered so honesty is always the best policy!
Generally expats suffering from pre-existing conditions have the following options to be considered:
- Excluding the condition from coverage;
- Moratorium underwriting;
- Premium loading;
- Medical history disregard.
If the condition is opted to be excluded from coverage then this means that you will not be able to claim for treatment of that condition or any related condition, however, you will still be able to receive cover for any other illnesses, accidents or injuries. If 'moratorium' is chosen, there will usually be a waiting period (2-5 years depending) after the commencement of the policy before the condition can be reconsidered for coverage. Some Insurers will allow you to premium-load or increase the amount you pay to cover the costs associated with treatment of the condition, however sometimes this is not an option for some medical conditions and will be assessed on an individual basis.
If applying as a group with your employer, organisation or party usually with 20+ applicants, those suffering from pre-existing conditions will have a much higher chance of getting complete cover. This feature is known as 'Medical History Disregard' and exists because a group offers a more attractive sales and risk proposition to the Insurer than looking at covering the person on an individual basis.
If you have pre-existing conditions or are currently receiving medical treatment then please contact a BrokerFish advisor to get help with finding cover.
What does a 'Waiting Period" mean?
Sometimes listed next to policy benefits are waiting periods that are required to be met before your cover commences. They refer to a period of time commencing on your policy start date, during which you are not entitled to cover.
What is evacuation and repatriation cover?
Evacuation covers you for transport costs to the nearest suitable medical centre, when the treatment you need is not available nearby.
Repatriation, gives you the added benefit of returning to your home country to be treated in familiar surroundings. Upon completion of treatment, some plans will cover the costs of the return trip back to your country of residence.
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I have been an expat for just over 30 years and fortunately my employers have always provided medical insurance for me. Up until recently I have rarely needed any treatment, (apart from the occasional bout of gout due to an extravagant and well deserved lifestyle). On return from a business trip, af ...