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Being an expat and having health insurance go hand-in-hand with one another. Expatriates are individuals or retirees living and/or working in another country. 

When deciding on the best health insurance there are many highly important factors to consider and compare before deciding on a healthcare plan and provider. From coverage customization, pre-existing conditions clauses, regulations, and different providers, to additional benefits. A lot of time and mental capacity is needed in the decision-making process.  

Now imagine having to consider all those factors in a foreign country that is unfamiliar… hoping Google will be a true friend and figure out all the answers.  

Health insurance is essential to expats because most domestic health insurance providers’ plans don’t offer sufficient protection in other countries. Expatriate health insurance has many benefits other than providing healthcare benefits: 

Financial protection-healthcare costs can be financially crippling.  

Guidance and assistance when searching for providers in foreign countries.  

Emergency care 24/7 365 days a year.  

Second opinion in certain circumstances.  

Evacuations when care is not available in a country.  

Repatriation where necessary including mortal remains.  

Hints and warnings regarding epidemics or pandemics.  

There are 8 key factors all expats must consider when deciding on their health insurance provider and plan:  

  1. Coverage: It is important to consider the area of coverage to ensure the country/ies you will be working/residing or traveling to are actually included under the definition of cover. 
  2. International coverage: a major advantage of expat health insurance is that it will provide coverage in countries other than your destination country. 
  3. Customizable plans: insurers offer a variety of plans to suit the different needs and budgets of expats. The options vary from comprehensive plans that provide extensive coverage to very basic plans with limited benefits and lower premiums. The beauty of customizable plans is that individuals can add or remove benefits based on their requirements. 
  4. Pre-existing Conditions: a very important factor to consider is how pre-existing conditions are handled in expat health insurance. Some plans may exclude coverage for pre-existing conditions or have a waiting period before coverage begins. It is crucial to review the terms and conditions, and policies regarding pre-existing conditions. Pre-existing medical conditions can be covered.  
  5. Repatriation and medical evacuation: Many expat health insurance plans include provisions for medical evacuation and repatriation. This is a major benefit because, in the event of a severe illness or injury that cannot be adequately treated locally, the transport costs will be covered for the insured. Receiving appropriate medical care is also covered under this benefit. Having this medical security is a major benefit.  
  6. Local regulations: All countries have different legal requirements and regulations regarding health insurance, expats should investigate the local laws of their host country to ensure they are compliant with health laws if applicable.  
  7. Insurance Providers: There are numerous health insurance providers that specialize in expatriate health insurance. It can be very overwhelming at first glance as there are many different providers throughout the world. That is why knowing a bit more about providers is advisable so that the companies can be compared properly. There are a few key aspects of the available providers that must be considered such as the reputation of the provider, financial stability, customer service, network of healthcare providers, and the comprehensiveness of their coverage  
  8. Additional benefits: Some expat health insurance plans offer additional benefits. These benefits may include maternity care, 24/7 help lines, and benefits for dental and vision. It all depends on the provider, plan, and budget.  

One’s health is very important and should not be compromised because of a decision made irrationally. The biggest challenge in this decision-making process is knowing how to navigate the information health insurance companies provide, it can be very confusing! Consulting with an insurance broker or an expert in the health insurance industry will be very beneficial, as they will help expats navigate the complexities of health insurance.  

Clarity Employee Benefits is an authorized Financial Services Provider – FSP No. 51007. We specialize in international health insurance, please do not hesitate to contact us if you are in need of health insurance guidance or advice.