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ActiveQuote Global Reach, Dunleavey Drive Cardiff South Wales CF11 0SN 0800 862 0373

International Health Insurance Guide

International Health Insurance, also known as Global Health Insurance, provides private healthcare for individuals and their families looking to live or work abroad.

If you or your family are looking to move abroad for an extended period of time, i.e. longer than a one-month holiday, international health insurance is seen as essential cover to provide private healthcare when you need it the most.

ActiveQuote provide a high quality price comparison service for international medical insurance allowing you to compare quotes from the leading UK insurers and get the best deal that meets your budget and needs.

Why choose International Private Health Insurance?

In the UK every permanent resident has the right to free healthcare and many wrongly assume that this cover can be applied in a foreign country. Many foreign countries require you to have international health insurance to stay for a prolonged period of time, whilst for some people it is a basic requirement of their visa.

Even if you are not required by law to have an international medical insurance policy to work abroad, many public healthcare systems do not fully meet the requirements of expatriate workers and you could experience high medical bills, inadequate facilities and long waiting lists without overseas health insurance. You may feel this is even more important if you are travelling or relocating with your children.

If you would like to choose where you receive your treatment and who treats you whilst you are away from the UK, international health insurance is essential. Medical treatment in a foreign country could cost you tens of thousands of pounds without adequate global health cover.

Many countries have very basic medical facilities and may require you to make a payment upfront before you are treated. However you can put your mind at ease and protect yourself and your family with an affordable, first-class international medical insurance policy that can pay for your private healthcare when you need it.

Main Benefits of International Health Insurance

  • Avoid waiting lists that may occur in foreign healthcare systems
  • Receive private healthcare with UK-assisted support whilst abroad
  • Avoid paying huge medical fees for treatment and surgery
  • Protect yourself from open-ended medical expenses
  • Choose the hospital, consultant, surgeon and time for your treatment
  • Recover in a private room or ward and enjoy homely luxuries
  • Experience state-of-the-art facilities and access to the latest drugs available
  • Fulfil the your visa requirements (where applicable)

International Private Medical Insurance – Factors to Consider

International medical cover can be bought on a six-month or annual basis and will pay for you and your family’s healthcare if you are living or working abroad.

Level of Cover

Typically insurers provide three levels of cover to suit your needs and even the most basic of these can provide cover for in-patient and day-patient treatment, offer private and comfortable recovery and emergency medical evacuation as standard.

The three levels of cover usually offered by international health insurance providers are Standard, Comprehensive and Fully Comprehensive.

  • Standard – this is the most affordable international health insurance policy and will usually include in-patient and day-patient treatments as well as recovery and emergency medical evacuation in serious circumstances.
  • Comprehensive – this policy will involve all the benefits of a standard policy and may include out-patient treatment, specialist consultations and access to alternative therapies
  • Fully Comprehensive – benefits from everything in the standard and comprehensive policies as well as routine dental treatment, maternity care, annual health checks and a higher benefit amount.

International Medical Insurance Underwriting

Overseas health insurance policies have three types of underwriting to choose from; moratorium, full medical underwriting (FMU) or switch.

  • Moratorium – no medical history is required for this type of cover but you will not be covered for any medical condition that has occurred in the past five years. These conditions may become eligible for cover when they remain symptom and treatment-free for an agreed period; usually two years.
  • Full Medical Underwriting (FMU) – on application you are required to disclose your full medical history and the insurer will inform you of what will and will not be covered on your policy before you make a decision to purchase cover. Pre-existing conditions are usually excluded from FMU policies.
  • Switch – customers wishing to change insurance provider may be able to do so on a Switch basis that will ensure you continue to be covered for conditions that arose since you began your current international health insurance policy and that no extra exclusions will be added.

Medical Conditions

There are a few important exclusions to consider when buying international medical insurance and if you are unsure about anything a specialist advisor at ActiveQuote can answer your questions and help you make an informed decision on your worldwide health insurance policy.

Health insurance, whether international or not, will not usually cover you for voluntary medical treatment such as routine pregnancy, cosmetic surgery, optional dental treatments, alternative therapies, IVF courses or gender reassignment.

Chronic medical conditions will not be treated on your international medical cover but palliative care and repatriation costs may be available on certain policies if you develop a chronic condition abroad and wish to return to your country of residence.

Location, Location, Location

Location is a huge factor for international health insurance providers and whichever country you decide to move to or work in will affect your monthly premiums. The main areas that will affect your international health insurance policy are the USA and the Gulf region due to specific requirements in these countries.

Typically international health insurance companies will offer two levels of cover; worldwide and worldwide excluding the USA and the Caribbean. If you require overseas health insurance in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) or Oman many insurers will offer a separate health insurance product designed specifically for those areas.

Buying Overseas Health Insurance with ActiveQuote

Buying international health insurance can leave you with many questions, especially when you are taking out your first policy. Not all private health insurance policies are the same and a family’s needs are greatly different to the needs of an individual.

It is important to speak to an international health insurance specialist who can help you compare different policies that meet your budget and needs. For example, an expatriate working in a big modern city such as Kuala Lumpur, Singapore will require a different policy to someone working in a remote destination a long distance from modern medical facilities. In the latter case it would be appropriate to include cover for airlifting to the nearest hospital as part of the policy.

At ActiveQuote we compare leading international health insurance providers so you can choose a policy that meets you requirements and falls in line with your financial expectations.