Area of Cover
Choose the right insurance
Chronic Conditions
Deductibles and Excess
Emergency Evacuation
Frequently Asked Questions
General Exclusions
In-Patient Coverage
Local vs International
Key Terms and Definitions
Out-patient Coverage
Overall Maximum Benefit
Payment Options
Plan Summary
Policy Conditions
Pre-existing Conditions
Renewal Options
Waiting Period

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Local vs International

When moving to another country you have two alternatives; to buy an international medical insurance plan or a local medical insurance plan. An international medical insurance plan typically has the following advantages over a local medical plan.

The following provides a list of reasons why local insurance may not be the best choice for expatriates living abroad:

  • Local medical insurance plans only provide coverage in that particular country. This point is very important; many expats live in countries where medical facilities are not up to European or North American standards. As such, in the event of serious illness or accident it is highly likely that they will want to go home, or to a third country where the medical facilities are good enough.

  • In the event of relocation to another country local medical plans must be cancelled. An international medical insurance plan is normally not tied to any specific country, so if you relocate the plan can remain in force and coverage will not be broken. A break in coverage can have very significant consequences since all policy waiting periods will have to begin again and any conditions that were previously covered may now be excluded.

  • Local insurances plans often have a limited network of hospitals that accept their coverage. International plans normally allow treatment with any doctor in any hospital or clinic. Meaning you are free to choose where you are treated and by whom.

  • Local medical insurance plans typically have maximum ages limits (typically 65) after which no further coverage is available. International plans are normally renewable for life.

  • Unfortunately all insurance plans have exclusions but international plans generally have fewer exclusions and much higher levels of coverage (typically an annual limit of USD 1m or more).

  • Finally, local medical insurance plan renewal premiums are normally based on the previous years claims. As such the more you claim the higher the renewal premium. An international plan is normally community rated; this means that your renewal premium is based on policyholders worldwide on the same plan as you. This is very important and ensures that your premiums are manageable even if you are very ill.

  • The principal advantage of a local medical plan is that they can be cheaper than an international plan (although this is not always the case). This is of course attractive but most expats still choose to buy an international plan because the advantages are overwhelming and they can have peace of mind that their family is protected against any eventuality.

The above description identifies some of the typical fundamental differences between Local and International plans and explains why an international medical plan is so important to expatriates moving overseas. Contact us to receive more information about international medical insurance plans.