Expatriate Health Insurance

When you accept an international assignment, expatriate health insurance may be far down your list of priorities. Your attention is often focused on other priorities like finding a place to live, getting your kids into school, and acclimating to your new lifestyle and culture. You may assume that your US health plan will work the same way it does here, and gets put aside until the first time you seek healthcare.


Expatriate Health Insurance

Your US health plan may extend coverage to you and your family while you are outside the US. However, there may restrictions on how long you may be abroad, and coverage may be limited to emergency care only. You may also have to pay for services up-front and then file for reimbursement.

As an expatriate, you may also have access to a government health scheme. These programs are paid for by local taxes and allow participants to access care at specific providers and for specific services. The health systems vary by country, with some requiring cost-sharing, while others are paid for completely by taxes.

Under both scenarios, you would likely have a gap in coverage, service or both. Your US plan may be limited in what it covers outside the US, you will likely be required to pay the cost of care up-front and in full (providers will likely not accept a US health plan ID card), and may require additional administrative work on your part. If you are covered on a government scheme, you may not have coverage outside your host country. When you and your family travel outside your host country, you may be responsible for the full cost of your care.

Expatriate Health Insurance
Coverage Benefits

Expatriate health insurance is designed to provide global coverage to individuals and families who are living and working outside of their home countries. These plans provide an enhanced level of benefits and services to their members. Some of these provisions include:

  • Worldwide cover – in your host country, your home country and elsewhere you may travel
  • single deductible and out-of-pocket limit that applies to all services, regardless of where they are provided.
  • Emergency medical evacuation to provide transport to the nearest, most appropriate facility that can provide care
  • Access to a global provider network. Although most expatriate medical plans offer coverage through any provider, the plans offer members access to designated providers who will accept your health plan ID card and bill your insurance carrier instead of you.
  • Direct payment to providers around the world. Or in the event you have to pay out of pocket and file for reimbursement, you can receive your reimbursement via wire transfer or EFT in just about any currency.
  • 24 by 7 global toll-free member services number, as well as the ability to call collect from anywhere in the world.
  • Coordinated clinical care management. This allows expatriates to get help with their health care needs before they travel, in the form of pre-trip planning, or while they are on assignment. Expatriate medical plans have clinical teams dedicated to assisting members seeking care around the globe.
  • Global compliance. In some countries, there are requirements about the types of plans that must be provided in order for an individual to obtain a work visa. Expatriate medical plans can combine the mandated coverage alongside a global plan so that you and your family have coverage anywhere in the world.
  • Mobile apps which provide easy access to information about your health plan through your smart phone.

Before you accept that expatriate assignment, make sure that you have a global health insurance plan that meets all of your healthcare needs, wherever you are in the world.