Whether you are on vacation for a well-deserved trip or an expat moving abroad long-term for work or personal reasons, you need to know what care you will receive if you need medical attention. In this article we explain a number of important differences between travel insurance and international health insurance, and we recommend some considerations to take into account before traveling abroad.
The difference between travel insurance and international health insurance is a source of confusion for many. Although the two are aimed at people who will be spending time abroad, the level of coverage and the purpose of each plan is significantly different. Not understanding this difference can leave you in a difficult situation when abroad.
International health insurance is designed to offer comprehensive coverage for medical care to those who move from their home country for a long period of time, while travel insurance is intended to offer coverage for emergency treatment while in another country for a short period of time.
What is travel insurance?
Travel insurance is designed to cover you for trips of limited duration. It is geared towards tourists and short trips abroad, and offers protection against travel-related problems, such as:
- Loss of luggage
- Loss of personal belongings
- Emergency medical treatment
Many people believe that conventional travel insurance provides adequate coverage in a foreign country, but are not aware of its limitations.
In terms of medical coverage, the purpose of travel insurance is to provide coverage for short-term emergency medical treatment in your specific geographic coverage area. Its purpose is for you to recover enough to go home,
If you need it, travel insurance will not cover you long-term medical treatment. In this case, you are normally expected to return to your country and continue treatment there once you are medically fit for it. Coverage ends when you return to your country of residence.
What is international health insurance?
International health insurance is designed for those who live or work abroad for a long time. It covers both emergency treatment and day-to-day medical care, and provides expatriates with flexibility in their choice of doctor and hospital, with the ease of receiving treatment in any country in their coverage area.
For those who move or have a home abroad, and would like full medical coverage both in their home country and in other countries where they spend time frequently, international health insurance will be necessary.
When you have a medical emergency or need day-to-day medical care in a country where you are unfamiliar with the public health system and where you do not speak the language, international health insurance guarantees the medical care you need.
The coverage of a international health insurance varies depending on the plans selected, but typically includes:
- Hospital stay
- Routine medical check-ups
- Coverage for pre-existing conditions
- Chronic disease coverage
- Choice of medical providers
Our standard plans are modular, so you can choose the coverage combination that best suits you and your family’s needs. In addition to the main plan (hospital), there are other options such as:
The flexible nature of these plans means they can be tailored to your needs, making the exact combination of coverage most affordable for you and your family. Outpatient and major plan franchises offer the opportunity to lower your premium, which you can also achieve with careful consideration of your geographic area of coverage. For example, choosing «Everyone except the US» instead of «Everyone» will alter your premium significantly.
As an expat, it can be tempting to try to keep costs down by choosing to rely on local healthcare while abroad. However, should you fall ill, you may find that local healthcare options do not meet your needs.
Depending on where you are moving and your particular circumstances, you may not be eligible for free or subsidized healthcare. Without an expat health plan, you can rack up considerable medical expenses.
Before venturing abroad, it is important that you weigh your options and make sure you have adequate health insurance that you can trust. Having the right plan will give you peace of mind, knowing that your medical needs and those of your family are taken care of.