Going abroad is not as easy as it used to be. The current pandemic has made international travel more complex. The specific costs associated with the treatment of Covid-19 can be quite significant. The most serious cases even require hospitalization in intensive care. International health insurance is therefore key when planning an expatriation, and even when you have already moved abroad.
A new travel requirement that has recurrently made itself heard following the pandemic should interest those planning to travel abroad. Certain countries are now requiring specific health insurance to enter their territory, which must cover care (medical and hospital costs) as well as repatriation in the event of Covid-19 contamination. Currently, the following countries have added travel health insurance as part of their visa requirements:
- Schengen countries
- The UAE
Prior to the surge of this health emergency, merely six countries called for health insurance before permitting entrance in their territory. In all likelihood, other countries will follow suit and could potentially retain this precondition in the future.
Still, if we travel to a place where visas are not required, health insurance is usually optional – so, many of us tend to overlook it. While some populations benefit from optimal health coverage that ensures the coverage of expenses related to Covid-19, this is not the case in all countries. This is especially applicable to expatriates, who thereby drop out of the social security system of their country of origin.
What is International Private Medical Insurance (IPMI)?
International Private Medical Insurance (IPMI), also known as international health insurance or expatriate health insurance, is a long-term health insurance targeting expatriates who reside outside of their country of origin.
IPMI is customized for individuals and their families who live abroad and offers access to comprehensive health care cover. Compared to travel insurance which is suitable for short trips, IPMI is designed for long term stays abroad. Taking out health insurance for expatriates is therefore highly recommended in order to access healthcare without having to spend a fortune.
IPMI: why is it worth the hype?
IPMI services are specifically designed to support expats during their stay abroad. With easy access to a personal online portal, excellent emergency assistance service as well as access to health care providers and world-renowned medical experts, expatriates and their families are always supported abroad.
One of the most important elements to verify in a health insurance is a repatriation guarantee that will allow expats to be treated in their country of origin if they wish. Health infrastructures in the host country may not be as developed as those in their home country or other destinations. It can be reassuring to know that expats can seek treatment in their country of citizenship or even in another country while being covered by expatriate health insurance.
Meanwhile, expatriates covered by a local health insurance contract (that is, subscribed to an insurer in the country of residence) tend to turn to insurance companies for expatriates after noticing the low level of coverage in certain countries. Indeed, one of the perks of an international health insurance is the flexibility and the convenience of having a comprehensive worldwide coverage.
Teleconsultation as part of health insurance plans
Another essential point regarding expatriate health insurance contracts has burst forth during this crisis: the generalisation of teleconsultation. Previously, it was not included in all policies. Today, it is a basic provision that has allowed expatriates confined abroad to benefit from teleconsultations accessible from the insurance platforms.
Expats are advised to opt for IPMI since travel insurance is meant for those who travel for a short time and could let expatriates down in certain circumstances. In other words, the latter may have to pay their own medical bills or be caught short when they require medical care and services. Granted, IPMI costs exceed those of travel insurance, but this only highlights the fact that international health insurance covers the actual costs of medical treatment as well as other services related to healthcare.
In fact, IPMI providers’ customized plans are applicable in many different countries, so expats can travel out of their new residence country without limit. The plans typically cover a multitude of areas including: medical emergency cover, doctors’ visits, maternity care and the treatment of on-going or chronic conditions. Coverage may also include non-medical costs such as transportation (to receive treatment) or repatriation.
Translation services for expats
Difficulties in adapting to a new environment may arise, ranging from the language barrier to the bureaucracy of a foreign healthcare system. Well, most IPMI providers offer non-insurance benefits such as travel assistance and translation services which are always valuable to expats in a foreign country amidst a health crisis. Additionally, professional international health insurance companies have experience with healthcare systems in several countries. Therefore, expatriates will have direct access to the finest medical experts and healthcare facilities in the world.
Whether expats are travelling abroad for a short or long period of time, staying in one country or making their way across the world, their IPMI cover will roam with them. They will remain protected during the whole time abroad without any restrictions on time and location.
How insurance companies cover coronavirus-related incidents
As long as the expats are not tested positive for the virus before contracting with the IPMI provider, they should be fully covered. This should be the exact same procedure as with any other existing disease.
International health insurance providers contribute in alleviating physical and mental afflictions through 24/7 international medical assistance, access to expert medical minds and a rating-based global platform. Ethical companies will not only cover for emergency, evacuation and repatriation, but also for regular check-ups and day-to-day medical expenses.
What happens in case of a medical emergency?
In case of medical emergency, members of IPMI and their families are given the ability to choose their treatment options. More often than not, a good expat health insurance specialist will go as far as arranging the evacuation and on-going treatment for the expatriates.
The right IPMI provider will enforce no limit of coverage and reimbursement for COVID-19. Expats are advised to subscribe to an international health insurance that covers their health expenses from the first euro spent, depending, of course, on their subscription plan.
If you are an expat, you had to face a virus outbreak on foreign land. Obviously, even today, dealing with the pandemic and its consequences is no easy feat. Hopefully, you are covered by international health insurance. If that is not the case, do reach out to a trustworthy IPMI provider. You will recognize a good insurance company by their coverage conditions following the pandemic.
Foyer Global Health prides itself on being an ethical IPMI provider that covers all diseases, including the coronavirus. When tested positive, Foyer Global Health will simply reimburse all medically necessary expenses related to the disease, meaning treatments that are necessary to cure or alleviate the disease, as long as you are tested negative when contracting with us. This is what we do for COVID-19, as well as for any other diseases.
We also offer free and unlimited teleconsultation to our customers, around the clock and wherever you are in the world.