Health Insurance Questions

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In order to help you understand how to select the best health insurance overseas policy for you we have listed below the most frequently asked questions.

If you have any further questions please feel free to email or call us and we would be happy to help and advise you.

We also maintain a section on new global health insurance questions we are asked. Click here to see it.

Frequently Asked Health Insurance Questions

Q: Who can buy International Medical Insurance Plans?
A: Normally any person living outside of their home country. However some of the best health insurance overseas plans allow you to be covered even if you are a residing in your home country and many allow you to take the plan with you back to your home country if you purchased it while living abroad.

Q: What is an International Medical Insurance Plan?
A: An International Medical Insurance Plan is one in which the insurer will cover you regardless of which country you live in. Moreover, you have the choice to be treated in any country you choose. It is ideal for people living away from their home country or people who move country frequently since the plan always stays in force.

Q: How long does an International Medical Insurance Plan last?
A: Our health insurance overseas plans are normally a one-year contract which you can pay annually or sometimes monthly. At the end of the year, most plans are guaranteed renewable so that you can be sure what ever your state of health is, the insurance company will cover you. The best health insurance overseas plans are also guaranteed renewable for life.

Q: Should I buy an International Medical Insurance Plan or Travel Insurance plan?
A: Travel health Insurance provides coverage for short period of time, normally less than 6 months. The objective of a travel plan is to relocate you to your home country if you need medical attention. Medical expenses in your home country are only covered for a limited amount and limited time. As such travel insurance is not 'renewable' and any long term illness will not be covered.

Q: Can we buy International Medical Insurance Plan for our company?
A: Individuals or Companies can buy an International Medical Insurance Plan. When you are purchasing a company plan with three or more employees, then a discount is possible. The bigger the group, the bigger the discount. Global Health Insurance specialises in providing the best health insurance overseas plan for your group.

Q: What does an 'in-patient' plan cover? What does an 'in and out patient' plan cover?
A: An Inpatient plan usually covers in-patient or day care treatment, post hospital treatment, nursing at home, emergency evacuation, repatriation or burial of mortal remains, emergency dental. An In and Out patient plan covers the above and includes out-patient care and specialist consultations. It is normally also possible to add maternity and routine dental.

Q: What is the maximum age for an International Medical Insurance Plan?
A: Most International Medical Insurance Plans are guaranteed renewable for Life. You can normally join the plan up to the age of 80 but this is dependent on the Insurance Company.

Q: If I am a resident in the USA will an International Medical Insurance Plan provide coverage?
A: If you plan to reside in the USA or emigrate there, you can be covered by an International Medical Insurance Plan. US regulations state that you should be covered by a domestic insurance provider within the guidelines of HIPPA or COBRA, but this can normally be overcome if you have been refused coverage by a local provider.

Q: Can USA citizens buy International Medical Insurance Plans?
A: If you live outside of the USA for more than six months of the year then you can buy an International Medical Insurance Plan. (If you are a US Citizen and will be returning to the USA then some plans will allow you to continue your cover, if you need advice on this please let us know.)

Q: Can I go anywhere in the World for Treatment?
A: Most plans have two areas of covers, Worldwide including North America and Worldwide excluding North America. If you choose the first you can go to any country in the world for treatment, to any hospital or doctor. If you choose the second then you can not choose to go to North America for treatment (however, in an emergency, unscheduled treatment would normally be covered. i.e. a car accident). The premium that includes North America for elective treatment is obviously more.

Q: What is a Deductible on an International Medical Insurance Plan?
A: All International Medical Insurance Plans allow you to choose a Deductible. This is the first amount which you must pay towards the cost of any claim. The Deductible can be as low as USD 40 or as high as USD 5,000. The advantage of the Deductible is that it keeps the premium down and reduces the administration cost since small claims will not be covered.

Q: How can I claim for medical treatment?
A: Out-patient costs are normally paid first and then you claim the costs back using a Claim Form (these can be downloaded from our website and you will also receive copies when you take out the insurance). In-patient treatment which is planned or scheduled in advance can normally be settled directly between the hospital and the insurer, but you should inform the insurer as soon as you know you are going in to hospital so that this can be arranged. When you receive your insurance package, you will receive a card with emergency contact details. And in the event of an emergency, you will be assisted with evacuation and finding the right medical treatment. If you are unsure whether the medical treatment is covered, please call the help lines for advice before the treatment to be sure.

Q: How is my claim processed?
A: Insurers normally require completed original claim forms. Upon receipt it normally takes ten working days for claims to be paid. The most common reason for delays in processing claims is incomplete or unsigned claims forms.

Q: Can I get dental coverage?
A: Under the basic level of coverage most plans offer Emergency Dental coverage in the event of an accident and it is normally possible to add coverage for Routine Dental Treatment for an additional premium.

Q: Can I choose my own doctor and hospital?
A: The best health insurance overseas plans allow you to choose which doctor you see and which hospital you go to. If you are in a new country and do not know where to go then feel free to contact us or the insurer. We can advise you on the best private hospitals near you. Please note that if you are going into hospital for an operation, you should contact the insurer as soon as you know to get pre-qualified so that the insurer can arrange direct payment of your expenses, which means you do not have to pay first and then re-claim.

Q: What conditions are not covered by International Medical Insurance Plans?
A: It is always important to read the plan details carefully before proceeding, as required we can provide to you a complete set of plan details and policy wording. The following list summaries most of the major exclusions: war or civil war risks, self inflicted injury, drug addiction and abuse, HIV/Aids, Infertility, Normal Pregnancy (unless option taken), Cosmetic Surgery, preventive treatment, chronic conditions, mobility aids, sexually transmitted diseases, untried or experimental treatment, injuries arising from professional sports and some dangerous activities. Most pre-existing conditions are excluded for two years, thereafter they are covered. Please note that if during this exclusion period further treatment is required then the exclusion period may be longer.

Q: Will pre-existing conditions be covered?
A: Most insurance companies will not cover pre-existing conditions for up to 24 months and most Chronic conditions are normally excluded from coverage even after the 24 months period. Some insurers will allow pre-existing conditions to be covered from the inception of the policy but this is on a case by case basis and may be subject to a premium loading. Alternatively the insurer may propose a 'moratorium' whereby the condition will be excluded for a defined period after which on submission of further medical evidence the condition can be covered. When completing the insurer proposal form you will be asked to complete a Medical History Declaration, it is very important that this is filled in accurately such that there is complete clarity about coverage and possible disputes about future claims.

Q: If I return to live in my home country will I still be covered?
A: Most International Medical Insurance Plan will cover you on your return to your home country for a specified period and some will allow you to retain the policy indefinitely.

Q: Am I covered while playing sports or doing my hobbies?
A: Most non professional sports are covered by International Medical Insurance Plans. However, some hazardous sports and activities may not be covered. The following is a list of sports and activities which are typically not covered: mountaineering with ropes, hang gliding, parachuting, bungee jumping, racing other then on foot, diving other than recreational. We would advise that you read the plan details carefully. If you wish to be covered for one of the following activities then this can be declared to the insurer and on a case by case basis this can be included.

Q: How will my premium increase over time?
A: Your medical insurance premium will increase overtime due to your age and the inflation costs for medical expenses. An extremely important point about International Medical Insurance Plans is that your premium will never be increased because of the claims you make, this means that even if you are ill for an extended period with very high medical expenses then your premium will be the same as everyone of your age with the same coverage.

Q: When do I have to pay for the plan?
A: After submission and acceptance of the application most insurers allow you 21 days to pay, payment can be made by Credit Card or Bank Transfer. We normally request that you pay the insurer directly so that you are sure the payment has been made on time. Furthermore most insurers allow you to cancel the plan in the first 30 days without charge if you are not happy with the coverage.

For more information about health insurance overseas or for free health insurance overseas quotations please contact us.