International Major Medical Insurance
International medical insurance is designed as a long-term option, available for individuals and families alike, and this article will describe the key features, benefits, and approximate costs of these plans.
Serving as an annually renewable and comprehensive option, international medical insurance is specifically designed to provide coverage for expatriates and anyone living outside their home country for at least one year. These plans will most likely be your only insurance in place and will offer a variety of options in terms of coverage levels and deductibles not only for individuals, but for their entire families.
Key Features of International Medical Plans
High or Unlimited Policy Maximums
Since these plans are designed to provide coverage for years at a time, most offer high or even unlimited policy maximums. This means that your insurance plan will pay your eligible medical expenses on average of at least $5,000,000 USD, covering the cost of a common flu to a major accident.
Tiered or Modular Choices
Many plans offer flexible tiered or modular coverage options, from more basic plans that just cover hospitalizations and emergencies, to more inclusive plans that will have less common benefits, including dental and vision. These unique plans allow you to hand pick the benefits you and your family need and leave out less important options.
Long Term Coverage
Most major medical plans provide annually renewable coverage that is intended to be kept for many years. Oftentimes, major medical plans have lifetime guarantees, meaning if you stay on the plan for a set number of years by the time you’re 65, you can keep the plan for life. This can be exceptionally useful since any conditions that arise on your major medical plan will be treated by the same plan and not seen as a pre-existing condition.
Long term insurance solutions require medical underwriting, meaning you will be expected to answer an array of medical questions about yourself and your family prior to acceptance. Depending on your answers, the underwriters can choose to do the following:
- Accept your application as-is and promptly provide coverage.
- Accept your application but not cover a specific pre-existing condition or any complications as a result.
- Accept your application and cover a specific pre-existing condition, but charge a higher premium for your coverage.
- Reject your application completely.
Pre-Existing Condition Coverage
Typically, major medical insurance plans provide coverage for pre-existing conditions with or without a waiting period, assuming that they are disclosed on the initial application. However, specific pre-existing conditions may not be covered, so be sure to check with the master policy or speak to a licensed insurance agent before purchase.
Since annually renewable plans are great options for families, most international medical options will automatically cover a newborn child for a short duration, without charging an additional premium.
As with any plan, it’s imperative to pre-certify for any large expenses to be incurred by the insurance company, such as pregnancy.
Although major medical plans are considered the most comprehensive of all insurance plans, they won’t necessarily come with benefits for dental, vision or maternity. When not included, these services can typically be purchased in the form of a rider, basically meaning that for an extra cost you can obtain these benefits for a set price, on top of the price for the plan.
Riders often include the following:
- Routine examinations, corrective lenses, contacts to correct vision and frames, etc.
- Preventative and diagnostic services, X-rays, oral surgery, endodontics, synthetic restorations, etc.
- Delivery, wellness, newborn care and congenial disorders.
Pricing Based On Destination
Oftentimes, international major medical plans will provide coverage for you and your family anywhere in the world outside of your country of citizenship, but some offer more affordable prices in specific countries. Plans like our Global Medical insurance option offer worldwide coverage at a set price and then worldwide coverage excluding the US, Canada, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Macau, Singapore and Taiwan, making the price more affordable if you don’t need coverage in a few set countries.
Prices on these types of plans are typically based on age, gender, country of citizenship and where coverage is needed. As mentioned above, some destinations will automatically increase the price of your premium.
A family of four needing coverage ...
... in the United States
A family of four (Age 40, 35, 9, 5) needing coverage in the United States could expect to spend about $265 per month for insurance.
... outside the United States
The same family needing coverage in a country outside of the US, China and Japan for example, can expect to spend about $200 per month for major medical insurance.
What International Medical Insurance Won't Cover
No insurance plan can provide coverage for everything, major medical plans included. Be sure to check with the policy wording, but oftentimes pregnancy, vision and dental are not covered without an additional rider and pre-existing conditions are not covered until after a waiting period has elapsed. Keep in mind that these plans often have a few levels to choose from, the higher the level the more coverage that will be offered.
Who These Plans Work Best For
International medical insurance is custom designed for expatriates, their families, and anyone living outside of their home country for one year or more who are looking for a comprehensive insurance option. Students, business professionals, travelers and their dependents can get excellent use from an annually renewable major medical plan.
Our Global Medical plan is an excellent long-term international insurance option, offering tiered coverage perfect for an expatriate. Since we understand how difficult insurance can be to understand, it’s recommended that you contact an insurance broker to help provide quotes and explain plan options in detail so you can choose the best plan possible.
Return to our "Insurance Explained" section for more information and help