About BrokerFish

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General

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Benefits

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Applying for cover

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What is BrokerFish?

BrokerFish is an online marketplace where people can access decision support and purchase a healthcare policy offered by multiple carriers. BrokerFish a licensed and regulated offshore international insurance broker who provide independent qualified advice and member support during the policy year, see our Why BrokerFish page for more information.

Where are your service centres?

We currently have member service centres in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia only. Our head office is located in Labuan, F.T. Malaysia, and our non-admitted policy sales are transacted in Labuan Malaysia, where we are licensed and regulated.

Do you work for me or an Insurer?

We work for you. Our role is to find the best product in the market for you in a completely unbiased way.

How do you get paid?

We do not charge for our services as we receive a marketing fee/commission from any Insurer we place cover with. There is little variation in terms of the amount we receive by plan or Insurer so this does not impact who we place cover with.

Do we pay our policy premium to you?

No. Your cover is with the Insurer and payment is made to them.

What happens if BrokerFish stops trading?

This is unlikely as to maintain our license we need to maintain financial adequacy requirements. If in the unlikely event we were to cease trading as your cover is provided by the Insurer there would be no impact on your health insurance plan.

What makes BrokerFish different?

There are a number of companies offering similar services to ourselves. We feel we are the best in the market not just because of the products we offer and our very high service standards but also because of what we stand for which is to provide ethical, highly professional advice delivered by people that truly care about you.

Can I choose the hospital where I have treatment?

You can have medical treatment at any recognised medical provider such as a hospital or clinic within your chosen area of cover. Some insurers also have setup a network of medical providers to provide their member convenient billing processes, and they may be able to pay the invoice direct to the hospital on your behalf. It is advised to check the latest direct-billing arrangements between your chosen medical provider and insurer prior to arranging treatment.

What is the minimum duration of an international medical insurance plan?

The minimum contract length is usually twelve months.

What are deductibles and excesses and how do they work?

The annual deductible is the total value that your eligible claims must reach each membership year before the insurer will start to pay any benefit.

Once your annual deductible is reached, the insurer will pay all eligible claims in full, up to the benefit limits of your plan.

If your insurer provides an Excess instead of a Deductible, this operates in a similar way although is applied per medical condition during the policy year.

What are benefit limits?

There are two kinds of benefit limits:

  1. 'Maximum Benefit Limit', 'Lifetime Maximum Benefit' or something similar is the maximum amount that the Insurer will pay for all benefits in total, per member, per year, or over the lifetime of your cover.
  2. Specific Benefit Limits. These are separate limitations applied for any given benefit. For example: "Routine Maternity" may carry a limit of $10,000 meaning that the maximum amount that the Insurer will pay out for the costs associated with normal pregnancy is $10,000. Specific benefit limits may be applied on a per lifetime, per insurance year or per event basis.

Sometimes you will see in a table of benefits that the Insurer will share the costs associated with a specific benefit - e.g. "up to 75%". Please note that where you see the term "full cover", "full refund", "no limit", "100%" or something similar stated next to a specific benefit the amount that the Insurer will payout is still restricted to the "Maximum Plan Benefit" amount.

What are chronic conditions?

Although exact definitions vary from Insurer to Insurer, generally speaking Chronic Conditions refers to a sickness, illness or disease that are long-standing and recurring in nature.

They are characterised by:

  • without a known, generally recognized cure;
  • not generally deemed to respond well to treatment;
  • requiring palliative treatment;
  • requiring prolonged supervision or monitoring;
  • leads to permanent disability.
How do the insurers determine how much my premium will cost?

Your price is determined by Insurers on cost / benefit basis or in other words, at what price shall I insure you for where I can still make a reasonable profit. There are several factors that Insurers may consider to determine your premium price:

  • Benefits that you select;
  • Age;
  • Area of cover;
  • Country of residence;
  • Excess / deductibles;
  • Payment frequency;
  • Special offers;
  • Pre-existing and chronic conditions;
  • Premium rates in effect;
What are my payment frequency options?

International health insurance premiums can usually be paid for on a monthly, quarterly, semi-annual or annual basis. The lower the payment frequency, the lower your premium costs will be.

Why international health insurance?

IHI provides peace of mind by assisting customers and their loved ones in case of accidents, illness, natural disasters and other losses. If you were to be seriously injured could you afford pay for your hospital costs, rehabilitation treatment, time off work, living costs for you and your family until you are fully recovered?

Most of us will answer no and really the argument for taking out an international health insurance policy if you are currently living abroad or planning to live abroad for 12 months or more is usually a simple one:

Although an international insurance policy can be more expensive in comparison to local plans, it is often worth the extra cost for the depth of cover it provides.

What is the difference between a local plan and an international health insurance plan?

Local plans depending on the country where you are based can sometimes offer an alternative to international health insurance. They usually offer lower levels of cover (albeit for lower costs) and are usually not transportable should you happen to move to another country.

Although an international insurance policy is more expensive, it is often worth the extra cost for the depth of cover and likelihood of coverage in the future that it provides. Some points to consider:

  • Local plans are not as flexible as international health insurance plans and do not cater for a different level of healthcare than the plan is willing to provide.
  • Expats are more likely to stay overseas having emigrated but not necessarily in the same country. Local plans usually do not count for mobility and those with pre-existing conditions having moved to a new country will probably not be eligible for pre-existing cover. International plans on the other hand are designed to protect you globally with some covering pre-existing conditions.
  • Many international plans cater for expats that return to their home country for holidays where as local plans will stop working and you may be left with a gap in cover should the unexpected happen.
  • The quality of healthcare services differs dramatically from country to country and therefore the standards of treatment could also differ dramatically (almost always worse) compared to your home country.
Am I eligible to apply for international health insurance?

International health insurance plans are open to expatriates of all nationalities. They are designed for those living overseas. Some Insurers do have age restrictions depending on the particular plan in question of around 74 years old but there are providers that will insure people as old as 120! That said, each insurer has different eligibility criteria. Please ensure you read the insurer's policy documentation relating to this topic before applying.

How can I buy international health insurance?

Tragically, most expatriates have difficulties understanding complex insurance jargon and often do not really know what benefits they have purchased. As a first step, BrokerFish recommends that you speak with one of our advisors to help you make an informed purchasing decision when considering your options. When we consider the importance of your good health and the expense of healthcare today, making a good decision about which plan is perfect for your circumstance really is something worth spending some time on.

The typical end to end process goes something like this:

  1. You determine exactly what you need and what you can realistically afford to pay;
  2. 2. You research and find a plan that best meets your needs with the support and oversight of a BrokerFish advisor;
  3. 3. You apply for cover either through an online application process or by completing a written application including your medical history if applicable;
  4. 4. The insurance company assesses your credentials and may request additional information to process your application;
  5. You pay your first instalment and receive your membership pack;
  6. Cover commences.
What’s the difference between travel insurance and international health insurance?

Travel insurance usually covers things like lost baggage, cancelled flights and other benefits such as passport loss. These plans usually only cover emergency medical treatment abroad and are restricted to a fixed number of days, so is relevant for holidays or short trips abroad.

Alternatively, international health insurance covers routine healthcare costs over the long-term. IHI is usually an annual policy and continues to cover health conditions when you renew your policy and allows you to receive medical treatment wherever you are based around the world.

What is international health insurance?

Like other forms of insurance, international health insurance is a form of collectivism by means of which people collectively pool their risk, in this case, the risk of incurring medical expenses.

It is a contract between you and an insurance company whereby the insurance company will pay specified sums for medical expenses or treatments as defined and detailed within the insurance contract should you become ill or have an accident. International health insurance is designed mainly for expatriates that are living abroad for more than 12 months and doesn't limit your treatment to one country. You can use the policy around the world according to your chosen area of cover at medical facilities, ensuring geography does not stop you obtaining good healthcare.

Will my pre-existing health conditions be covered?

Some insurers may allow limited cover for some health conditions declared at application after a waiting period. Some insurers may consider to cover a health condition for a premium surcharge, and others exclude all pre-existing health conditions as standard. If you would like to try and have your health conditions covered, please liaise with our qualified consultants so they may help you have your individual situation assessed by an insurer.

If I am pregnant, can I get cover for maternity care?

Insurers have various waiting periods from 8 to 12 months, and during this time a member with a plan including maternity care benefits is not eligible for maternity treatment to be covered by their plan. After a members waiting period is complete, the insurer will pay any plan maternity benefits for both pre and post-natal care. This benefit can also cover secondary conditions brought on by your pregnancy, e.g. backache, nausea and vomiting.

What is the difference between in-patient and out-patient treatment?

In-patient treatment is treatment associated when medically necessary for you to occupy a hospital bed overnight. These are normally paid in full by most insurers plans, but if staying at a higher medical treatment cost location, or hospital, it is advised to check with your insurer prior to treatment.

Out-patient treatment by contract is treatment not requiring you to occupy a hospital bed, such as General Doctor consultations, diagnostic tests or scans. Many plans providing out-patient cover provide caps to various out-patient treatment benefits.

Can I choose the individual countries where I would like to be covered?

Most insurers provide plans to cover members in a group of countries with a similar treatment cost, so if you are covered in one country with a certain level of treatment costs, this would automatically cover someone in another country with the same or lower level of treatment costs. Insurers may offer various areas of cover at application, such as South East Asia, Asia, Europe, Worldwide excluding North America or Worldwide including the USA. Some plans also provide Accident and Emergency cover outside your chosen area of cover for trips of up to so many days, typically 4 or 6 weeks.

What is my obligation when applying for international health insurance?

Someone applying for international health insurance cover is obliged to answer all questions accurately and fully, and if in doubt about how to answer a question, to provide any relevant additional information regarding any health questions asked.

The insurer relies on the information on your application form to help them decide if they can accept your application, or if they need to apply special terms, which could include exclusions from cover, conditions or a premium surcharge, depending upon the insurer.

If your application form omitted any facts or contains materially incorrect or incomplete facts the insurer has the right to declare your policy void, or impose special terms on a policy from the date your policy was originally setup (date of entry). It is important you take the greatest care to ensure your application is accurately and fully completed, and no facts have been withheld which could have an effect on the terms offered by the insurer.

Also, should you have any new health related information to declare between the start date of the policy and the date your application was completed, please update the insurer the soonest.

Are there age limits when applying for an IHI policy?

For most insurers Yes, however some have no age limit at application or renewal requirements. Our search engine shows plans available to those of certain ages at application, and it is advised to read an insurers policy wording prior to application to check if the plan is Lifetime renewable or if it automatically ends at a certain date in future.

Can I apply for a policy if am moving to or are already a resident in the USA?

Yes, but not with all insurers. If you are moving to or are already a resident in the USA, you need to take an admitted plan in your state of residence, or if via your employer, where your employer is headquartered. BrokerFish is able to provide admitted USA plans in the following states:

Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

When I apply for a policy, how long will it take to setup cover, and what will be the policy start date?

This depends upon your chosen insurer and your medical information. Some insurers offer 24-hour policy setup using a moratorium underwriting basis. If however applying for a policy and being fully underwritten, this can take a few days up to a few weeks depending on if the insurer requests a copy of your medical notes, or if they request you to do a health check.

I couldn’t find the answer to my question.

We gather feedback from our users and continuously add information to our website to better help you with your questions. We are sorry that you haven’t found the information you were looking for this this.

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 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.

I couldn't find the answer to my question.

We gather feedback from our users and continuously add information to our website to better help you with your questions. We are sorry that you haven’t found the information you were looking for this this.

For the information you require, please contact us on +60 3 2162 4077 or get in touch with us.

How do I apply for cover?

BrokerFish helps with this. Applications are usually submitted using the Insurer’s application form or through an online application process. We will guide you through this.

What information do I need to provide?

Basic details such as your full name, date of birth, nationality, your address, along with answering medical questions. If you would like dependents included within your cover their details will also be needed.

During the application process you will usually be asked for the details of your doctor. If you don’t have a doctor you would usually visit or could classify as your family doctor the most recent medical practitioner details you have visited should be included.

What happens once my application has been submitted to the Insurer?

The Insurer will review your application and will either accept you on normal terms, offer special terms, request more details regarding the information you have provided or be unable to offer you cover.

How should I answer the medical questions?

Answer as fully as you can and always be honest in your application to prevent future problems.

Is cover automatic?

No, the Insurer performs their underwriting process first then they will let you know their decision and keep you updated if there is any delay with your application.

Are there different types of underwriting?

Yes. Fully Medically Underwritten (FMU), Moratorium, Continued Personal Medical Exclusion (CPME) and Medical History Disregarded (MHD). Fully underwritten and Moratorium is available to individuals, but availability is Insurer specific. CPME and MHD underwriting is available to groups.

With FMU, you will have to complete a health declaration in respect of your medical history, and based on the information you declare, the Insurer will advise you at the outset if there are any specific exclusions that will apply to your cover.

With moratorium underwriting, after two years of continuous cover, some pre-existing medical conditions will become eligible for benefit, subject to the terms and conditions of your plan, and provided you have not consulted any doctor or medical practitioner for medical treatment or advice (including check-ups), or taken medication, (including drugs, medicines, special diets or injections), or suffered symptoms for that medical condition, or for any related condition, for a continuous period of two years.

CPME underwriting describes the process by which Insurers accept a transfer in from another company. This allows companies to transfer one Insurer to another on renewal without losing cover for conditions that arose after the start of the original scheme.

MHD underwriting provides full cover for all pre-existing conditions for members of the group.

How long does underwriting usually take?

If your application is straightforward it can be done within a very short period of time. Different Insurers processing time varies but usually is completed within 1-3 days.

When will my cover start?

You can choose for it to start as soon as you have been accepted for cover or at a later date which usually should be within 3 months of applying. In most instances your cover won’t be in place until the Insurer has received your premium.

How do I pay for my cover?

By bank transfer or credit card. Bank transfer is usually used for annual payment.

What are my payment options?

Annual, Semi-Annual, Quarterly and Monthly.

What factors can affect my insurance premium?

Your age, geographical area of cover, level of cover, resident country, deductible, payment frequency, underwriting type and medical conditions are the main factors.

What do I receive once my cover is in place?

Dependent upon your insurer, you may receive an electronic membership card & certificate of insurance along with web links to download your policy documents. Alternatively an Insurer may post you a physical card and documents.

Depending on where you are in the world delivery of non-electronic documents can sometimes take some time – in some parts of the world up to a month is not uncommon.

If would like your non-electronic documentation to arrive as fast as possible please let BrokerFish know.

What should I do before applying for a policy with an insurer?

It is important to carefully read the policy wording in full, paying particular attention to the policy definitions, exclusions, eligibility requirements, coverage terms and conditions, cancelation terms and procedure, benefit limits, waiting periods, options and deductibles, and pre-existing condition exclusions carefully before purchasing coverage. If you are unsure about anything in the policy wording, please contact us to request feedback on any questions you may have.

Do not cancel your current insurance policy until you receive your new chosen policy start date, and have read, understood, and agreed with all its terms and conditions.

Note many policies do not allow you to cancel a policy during the policy year, and some may apply a pro-rated loading fee if they do allow you to cancel a policy mid-policy year.

I couldn't find the answer to my question.

We gather feedback from our users and continuously add information to our website to better help you with your questions. We are sorry that you haven’t found the information you were looking for this this.

For the information you require, please contact us on +60 3 2162 4077, or get in touch with us.

Managing your plan

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Claims

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What do I do in an emergency?

If you have emergency in-patient treatment, you need to inform your Insurer about your admission as soon as possible to avoid any pre-authorization penalties by calling their Helpline. In most cases, the hospital will contact the Insurer for you. It is therefore vital you always carry your insurance card as you may be unconscious at the time.

Can I make changes to my payment frequency terms?

Although it differs from Insurer to Insurer, changes in payment terms (e.g. method or frequency) can usually be made at policy renewal. To make a change, usually you will need to provide your Insurer with written instructions days prior to your renewal date.

What happens if I don't pay my premiums when due?

Insurance companies differ in their policy with regard to this matter however usually they will cancel the policy where you have not paid the full premium when due. They notify you of the cancellation and the contract will be deemed cancelled from the premium due date. However, sometimes the Insurers will give you some leeway regarding the due date. If your premium is paid within 30 days after due date, they will sometimes reinstate your insurance cover and pay any claims which occurred over the period of cancellation.

Can I upgrade or downgrade my policy at any time?

Usually no. International health insurance plans are subscribed to on a yearly basis. This means that Insurers can only upgrade, downgrade, add or remove options for you on your renewal date. If you want to make a change, then please contact us before your renewal date to discuss your requirements. If you upgrade or add options to your plan, your premium will be higher. If you downgrade or remove options from your plan, your premium will be lower.

Can I cancel my policy during my policy year?

In most cases no, however some insurers will allow this. Those that will allow this will require you to send them a completed cancelation form, and this may result in them calculating a pro-rated premium for the time covered to date. They may reimburse you any over-payment of premium, but this may include an administration fee being deducted from the premium reimbursed. Also, if you have had claims during the policy year, no premium rebate may be eligible to be refunded.

How can I reduce my premium costs?

There are several options here if you want to reduce premium costs:

  1. Increase your excess to reduce your premium. Increasing your excess / deductible amount will reduce your premiums however it will also increase the amount of money that you will need to pay for medical expenses. If you do keep a savings account and can afford a higher excess if necessary, you may be able to find a plan with lower monthly premiums.
  2. Make sure that you are not paying for cover that you don't need. If you spend a lot on health care, it’s important to know what kinds of treatments where expenses are being incurred so that you can upgrade, downgrade or select a different plan that better caters to your situation. If you don’t spend much on health care, then you could save money with a plan that provides less generous coverage.
  3. Subscribe to a group scheme. By enrolling as a group instead of an individual you could save up to 26% per person. Depending on the size of the group that is applying, premiums and benefits can sometimes be negotiated depending on the relationship that we have with the Insurer in question. In addition, group schemes offer unique benefits in comparison to individual plans such as 'Medical History Disregard' meaning that members that carry pre-existing conditions can get coverage.
  4. Talk to BrokerFish about switching plan. Insurance premiums usually change at least once per year for various reasons. The best deal that you subscribed to last year may not be the best plan this year so it is worth considering alternative Insurers and plans on a yearly basis to determine if a switch is a good option to reduce costs. Switching plans however do carry some risks that you need to be aware of. For example, if you are subscribed to a plan that covers a pre-existing condition, this benefit may not be transferable to another Insurer. If you have found a lower premium plan with a different insurance company and you are considering a switch, BrokerFish advises that you contact one of our sales representatives who can properly analyse your circumstance to determine if switching is recommended or not.
  5. Pay your premiums annually. If you can afford to pay for 12 months premium up-front then you can save a considerable amount. If you are currently subscribed to a plan then you can change your payment frequency the next time you renew your policy.
  6. Tailor your plan to suit individual members. Some plans will allow you to select different levels of cover and excesses for each member. This can really help with optimising price and benefits so take some time at identifying individual needs and then contact BrokerFish to find suitable plans.
  7. Have an expert help you. Expats are busy and finding ways to reduce costs takes time. Our consultants have an intimate familiarity with a broad array of plans on the market. Contact BrokerFish today to have one of our consultants look over your case to see how you can cut costs.
I have questions regarding claims.

Please visit our Claims Questions Page to see common claims questions and answers.

I found a better deal than what I have now. Is it a good idea to switch?

Insurance premiums usually change at least once per year for various reasons. The best deal that you subscribed to last year may not be the best plan this year so it is worth considering alternative Insurers and plans on a yearly basis to determine if a switch is a good option to reduce costs.

Switching plans however do carry some risks that you need to be aware of. For example, if you are subscribed to a plan that covers a pre-existing condition, this benefit may not be transferable to another Insurer. If you have found a lower premium plan with a different insurance company and you are considering a switch, BrokerFish advises that you contact one of our advisors who can properly analyse your circumstance to determine if switching is recommended or not.

How can I file a complaint against my insurer?

If you have a concern or complaint with your insurance company, then BrokerFish advises you to contact them directly. Typically Insurers will have a complaints helpline an email form or an address that you can write to. Please refer to the Insurer's website or membership documentation that you are subscribed with to obtain necessary contact and complaints process information.

Alternatively if you have exhausted the Insurers complaints procedures and would like to take the matter further with an independent oversight body, then you can get in contact with the Financial Ombudsman Service in the country where the Insurer is based.

What should I do if I move country or change my nationality?

You, the policy holder must inform the insurer if your country of residence or nationality changes. Under some circumstances, the insurer may need to cancel your policy if they are in breach of any regulations governing the provision of healthcare cover to local nationals, residents or citizens.

How do I cancel my policy from my renewal date?

Each insurer has their own rules relating to this and it is important you have read the terms in your policy wording. Some insurers will automatically suspend your policy claims and cover if your premiums are not up to date, or cancel your policy if payment is not brought up to date within 30 days, or by or before the policy renewal date. Other insurers may require you to write to them 60 days prior to your policy renewal date. If you, the policy holder are unable to pay your premium for any reason, please contact the insurer to let them know.

What’s included in my membership pack?

Once you and your insurer have signed an insurance contract guaranteeing international health insurance cover you will receive a membership pack. Although packs differ from insurer to insurer, typically items in your pack will include:

  1. Membership CardYour containing essential contact numbers and addresses. Keep this card with you at all times. Although not essential to receive treatment, your membership card is useful to expedite communication between your insurer and the hospital / clinic that you attended;
  2. Your Insurance Certificate. This document states the vital statistics of your policy: the policy name that you are subscribed to, policy holder and dependent details, start dates and renewal date and special conditions unique to your policy;
  3. Your Table of Benefits detailing what kind of benefits that you are entitled to and their limitations;
  4. Medical provider network details;
  5. A membership guide which helps you to learn about and use your policy;
  6. A Treatment Guarantee Form which is required to be completed prior to receiving healthcare for uncommon treatments;
  7. A Claim Form should you require it.
How is my policy renewed each year?

Your insurer may automatically renew your policy as per their policy wording, and may process the renewal premium payment automatically using your card details on file. If you, the policy holder do not wish to renew your membership, you must inform the insurer in writing as soon as possible and prior to your renewal date.

How do I make changes to my policy?

You, the policy holder may change your policy cover from its renewal date in most cases only. Some insurers will allow you to increase your cover level during the policy year, however, please contact our customer service helpline before renewal to discuss your options. To upgrade your cover level you may need to be re-underwritten and complete a new health declaration form, which could result in new exclusions or restrictions being applied to your policy.

How do I add dependents to my plan?

The policyholder may apply to include dependents on the policy by completing a form to add the new members. Your insurer may need to underwrite a new-born baby before confirming acceptance of cover, and any new dependent may have restrictions or exclusions applied to their policy.

What happens if the insurer makes changes to me policy?

You will be informed at the policy renewal date by the insurer of any changes to your policy details. It is important you check this document carefully, which can include changes to the plan cover, premium, terms and conditions or definitions.

Can I change my policy currency from my policy renewal date?

Yes and no. You cannot change the currency of the policy denomination after it is setup, however you have the option to cancel your policy from its renewal date and to apply for a new policy in another currency. Note this will cause you to have a new policy start date, and you will need to be re-underwritten, which may result in exclusions being applied to any pre-existing health conditions, and new waiting periods will be applied.

I couldn't find the answer to my question.

We gather feedback from our users and continuously add information to our website to better help you with your questions. We are sorry that you haven’t found the information you were looking for this this.

For the information you require, please contact us on +60 3 2162 4077, or get in touch with us.

How do I claim my medical expenses?

If you paid for some medical expenses, you must ensure that you fully complete a claim form, and by your medical practitioner if the claim form requires. This form needs to be sent to your insurers claims centre directly with the supporting documents, and can be downloaded from your insurer’s website, or contact us to send you one. Note to check with your insurer, but generally their claims centre will require to receive the original invoice showing a breakdown of the treatment and associated cost and your receipt for payment. Note your insurer will have a time limit on when a claim must be received by after the treatment date. This can be between 90 days and 12 months depending upon your insurer.

How are Claim payments made?

Where possible, the payment section of the claim form is followed. The insurer can pay you or the medical provider by check or wire transfer in a wide range of currencies.

How long do claims take to process?

Received fully completed Claim Forms with all supporting documents can be processed, with payment instructions issued to your bank, from between 48 hours to twenty working days (dependent upon your insurer). Please ensure all sections of the claim form are fully completed and reference your claim form for instructions. The form should be returned direct to your insurers claims centre within their time limit which is normally between 90 days and 180 days (dependent upon your insurer) from the treatment date. Always enclose the original documents and it is recommended to send these with registered post - photocopies are not accepted. Insurers are unable to return original documents, but are happy to provide certified copies upon request.

What is Pre-Authorisation?

Your insurer may use different terminology for this, which can be called Pre-Authorization, Pre-Certification or Treatment Guarantee or similar, however the purpose and function is mostly the same for all insurers.

The purpose of this process is to put the insurer and your medical provider in touch regarding any proposed In or Day-Patient treatment, so they may liaise regarding your condition, the proposed treatment and any costs and billing for these. Essentially the insurer verifies medical necessity for the treatment and that any proposed treatment is covered by the members plan level of cover. The medical provider is also verifying the proposed treatment is covered by the members plan so they know who will be paying the bill for the treatment. This process also indicates to a hospital if there may be areas where the plan is not fully going to cover all treatment costs, or if any deductibles are needing to be met by the patient. The patient can then be advised regarding any treatment cover not covered by their plan (if any), which can occur if a member has already used up a particular benefit limit during their policy year already. In most cases this process is smooth and a Fax is sent to the medical provider to confirm the member is covered for the proposed treatment and the hospital then has confidence that a potentially large bill for the treatment will be met by the insurer. *Note that any short-fall in covered treatment costs by the insurer needs then to be met by the patient directly with the medical provider, e.g. paying any annual deductible.

I couldn't find the answer to my question.

We gather feedback from our users and continuously add information to our website to better help you with your questions. We are sorry that you haven’t found the information you were looking for this this.

For the information you require, please contact us on +60 3 2162 4077, or get in touch with us.

How can I make a claim?

In-patient claims
All in-patient treatment requires Pre-Authorization. Your particular insurer may require you either to phone them directly to initiate this, or submit a Treatment Guarantee Form, prior to any treatment.

Planned treatment
Please initiate Pre-Authorization of treatment at least five working days prior to treatment.

Emergency treatment
If you have emergency in-patient treatment, you need to inform your insurer about your admission as soon as possible to avoid any pre-authorization penalties by calling their Helpline. In most cases, the hospital will contact the insurer for you. It is therefore vital you always carry your insurance card as you may be unconscious at the time.

Out-patient or Dental claims
Most out-patient treatment does not need to be pre-authorized in advance, however we strongly recommend that you contact your insurer before you incur any costs to check that the course of treatment your doctor or dentist recommends is covered by your plan.

Unless your medical provider has confirmed a direct settlement arrangement, you will need to pay the medical provider for these costs at the time of treatment. You can then claim back the costs from your insurer, subject to your benefit limits, by following the guidelines on your claim form.

How long does it take to process claim?

Fully completed Claim Forms can be processed, with payment instructions issued to your bank, from 48 hours to several working days (dependant upon your insurer). Please ensure all sections of the claim form are fully completed to prevent any delay in processing and reference your claim form for instructions. The form should be returned to your insurers claims centre within their time limit which is between 90 days and 180 days (dependant upon your insurer) from the initial treatment date. Always enclose the original invoices and receipts - photocopies are not accepted. Insurers are unable to return original documents, but are happy to provide certified copies upon request.

What are some of the reasons that my claim might be denied?

Your treatment is not covered by your plan. If you have been notified by your insurer that your claim was denied in part, or in full, an explanation will be found in your policy documentation (policy wording, guide or agreement), paying attention to these sections: Definitions, Exclusions, Pre-existing Medical Conditions, Waiting Periods, and General Conditions. Many insured members see a partial denial of claim due to part of their treatment or medication not being covered by their policy due to their policy wording.

Your policy benefit limit is exceeded. Claims may also be denied as the member has used up a particular benefit limit during their policy year, and it is important to monitor your claims expenses. An example is if your policy has a limit of US$1,500 for prescribed medication each policy year, but your annual medication costs are US$4,000. You are required to pay any difference in cost as your policy benefit limit will be exceeded during your policy year. All benefits in your policy with a financial cap are reset each policy year, and it is important you choose a plan with enough cover for your needs.

Your medical file & previous insurance contradicts your insurance application. A claim may also have been denied due to your insurer identifying a misstatement, misrepresentation, or omission on your original application. In this case, the insurer may apply a retrospective exclusion to the policy, or will void the insurance, and any and all claims and benefits under the plan will be forfeited and waived. If relevant medical information may not have been provided on your application, it is important to update your insurer with any omitted information the soonest.

My claims was denied but I believe it was a mistake. What should I do?

The insurer aims to provide you with a first class standard of service at all times. Nethertheless, there may be an occasion when you may feel this objective has not been achieved by them. In the unlikely event of this happening, should you have any complaint or query regarding the service provided by your insurer under your plan, then please contact their client service advisor in the first instance. If you are difficulties with going direct, then please contact us and we will try and resolve your complaint.

What is Pre-Authorisation?

  1. They can ensure that proposed surgical treatments are carried out on a day-care basis where medically appropriate;
  2. In the case of planned treatment, they will have time to communicate with the hospital to facilitate smooth admission and where possible, arrange for direct settlement, offering cashless access to hospitals for in-patient treatment;
  3. Treatment can be overseen by your insurers Medical Team;
  4. In the case of an evacuation/repatriation, they will be able to organize and co-ordinate the evacuation on your behalf;
  5. They can ensure that you are admitted and discharged at times that do not attract a surcharge.
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Kudos to you guys for taking steps to make insurance a more bearable user experience :]

PHILIP, Start-up Co-founder, CHINARating