Health Insurance For Foreign Visitors

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Summary

How does the health insurance for foreign visitors work in your country? Do you need private health insurance for living abroad, or are you covered by your country’s public services? Is the pay as you go insurance a good option in this cases?

Everyone who is planning to move abroad asks this questions at some point. So, without waiting, let’s get some answers!

Different Options on Health Insurance for Foreign Visitors

There are many places around the world where the government does not impose any compulsory health insurance scheme for citizens living overseas. And neither for the foreigners coming to live in their territories.

In most cases, this also means that, with the exception of seconded workers, expatriates are no longer covered by their home country health insurance and they need to get a health insurance for foreign visitors from a private company.

In some countries, there is a compulsory medical system to which foreign nationals must subscribe. This is the case, for example, in European Union countries.

This type of insurance does not always offer sufficient protection to be well covered abroad. This is why it is recommended to take out a private health insurance for living abroad as a complement or as the main coverage.

Expatriates can use an online insurance comparator to find the most suitable contract for them, and generally have the choice between the following solutions

Pay as You Go Insurance

In the absence of a compulsory Social Security system, many companies offer international pay as you go insurance policies, also known as “first euro” or “first dollar”.

They get their name from the fact that they cover all health expenses abroad: in the country of residence, but also in the rest of the world, including, from the first euro spent.

The Social Security as a Health Insurance for Foreign Visitors

In most cases, the public health system belongs to the Social Security and it’s under the supervision of the State. And it’s usually funded from taxes on the active workers’ income.

In some countries it might be mandatory to be affiliated. In others this will only happen if you are working.

It’s important to check the ruling laws in each specific country to determine if you will need to get private health insurance for living abroad in order to be covered.

Social Security Supplements: Private Health Insurance for Living Abroad

Even if you are covered by the medical policy in the Social Security, you still have the option of getting a complementary health insurance for foreign visitors with a private company. This allows you to benefit from extended coverage.

It is often advisable to take out a supplementary policy at home if you are moving to countries where health care is more expensive.

Advantages and Disadvantages of the Pay as You Go Insurance

This type of health insurance for foreign visitors is more and more widespread among people abroad. Here are the main advantages and disadvantages.

A Vast Choice

More and more insurance companies are offering this type of private health insurance for living abroad. It is, therefore, possible to choose the one that suits you best from the available offer.

Moreover, these companies generally offer a certain flexibility in the choice of the guarantees included in the contract.

There are a wide variety of formulas available on the market, some of which target specific destinations or audiences such as students or retirees.

Depending on their needs, their situation and their budget, the insured can select the ones that suit them.

This way, they can take out only the essential cover (routine care, hospitalization, and repatriation) or benefit from more comprehensive protection (luggage and air ticket insurance, cover for extreme sports, etc.).

A Comfortable Solution on Health Insurance for Foreign Visitors

On the whole, the 1st euro insurances are the most convenient. On the one hand, a single company manages all your health coverage. You therefore have only one contact person for all the administrative procedures, which is appreciable.

On the other hand, they often offer “little extras”: mobile application, simplified reimbursement procedures, etc.

Country Expertise

These insurance companies are often experts in certain countries where they are particularly well established.

Their pay as you go insurance takers benefit from their specialist advice and their partnerships with local health networks, which allow them to access optimal coverage.

The Constraint of a Medical Questionnaire

Like all private insurances, international health insurances require the completion of a medical questionnaire upon subscription.

In case of “pre-existing conditions”, i.e. chronic illnesses already known or prior heavy surgical operations, they apply one of the following provisions:

  • Refusal to insure
  • Acceptance with the exclusion of the possible consequences of pre-existing conditions
  • Full acceptance with an increase in premiums
  • Unconditional acceptance.

Social Security as a Health Insurance for Foreign Visitors: Advantages and Disadvantages

Social Security health services have certain advantages mainly due to the underlying public service mission. It’s important to note that is not available in all countries. For example, there are no universal medical services in the United States.

No Medical Questionnaire

Bound by the same rules as Social Security, the health system does not require the completion of any medical questionnaire at the time of application.

Therefore, it covers pre-existing conditions, maybe without additional fees, and cannot refuse any application for membership.

This is a definite advantage for people who would have been refused insurance at the pay as you go insurance.

Health Insurance for Foreign Visitors With Attractive Rates

The membership fees are fixed and are only calculated according to the age group and the personal situation of the insured (alone or with family).

The older the insured, the higher the contribution, but the rate for those under 30 is interesting and might allow them to benefit from repatriation insurance as an option.

Maintaining an Administrative Link With Your Home Country

If Social Security covers you while you are abroad, you might have the possibility of staying linked to your home country’s system.

When you return, you will be able to resume your coverage there immediately.

The Waiting Period

When trying to get an appointment to see a specialist through Social Security, you might have to wait several weeks. Also, you might be subject to some waiting period from the moment you enter the country until you get coverage of your health expenses.

One Single Option

Contrary to the pay as you go insurance plans, which allow you to add guarantees to your contract to benefit from an almost customized coverage, no flexibility is possible and only basic guarantees are covered in Social Security.

Repatriation is not included, even though it is an essential guarantee when living abroad, and is generally expensive and requires many steps to be taken urgently.

What Are the Different Options on Health Insurance for Foreign Visitors?

Expatriates can choose between several health insurance solutions:

  • Pay as you go insurance (policies from the 1st euro/dollar)
  • The Social Security (where and when available)
  • Additional insurance

How to Compare the Different Private Health Insurances for Living Abroad?

To find the contract that suits them best, expatriates can use an online insurance comparator.

What Are the Advantages of Pay as You Go Insurance?

The main advantages of the first euro insurance are:

  • A wide choice of offers available
  • A single point of contact for all administrative procedures
  • An optimal coverage.

What Are the Disadvantages of the Pay as You Go Insurance?

Like all private insurances, the first euro insurance requires the completion of a medical questionnaire at the time of subscription which applies one of the following provisions:

  • Refusal to insure
  • Acceptance with the exclusion of the possible consequences of pre-existing conditions
  • Full acceptance with an increase in premiums
  • Unconditional acceptance.

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