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Our complete guide to understanding the importance of international health insurance

Our ultimate guide to insurance at the 1st euro: how it works, the advantages and the possible choices

Our complete guide to the CFE: how it works, the offers and the alternatives

What Is the Best International Health Insurance?



The best international health insurance is not the same for everyone. There are several different options in the market. And each situation will have a preferred solution.

To make sure you choose the right one for your situation, it’s necessary to know the different international health insurance plans available in the market.

Why Do I Need International Health Insurance?

International Health Insurance Companies Pay For Your Expenses Abroad

Social Security alone is not very helpful abroad. In some cases, it doesn’t provide any coverage to expats. And when it does, it has many limitations.

First of all, you need to pay in advance. And ask for reimbursement later, providing all the bills and documents related to the case.

Medical expenses are often reimbursed according to the price and ceilings of your home country. They can be insufficient to pay for health services in many countries. And you will have to pay the difference.

Another big flaw is that repatriation expenses are not covered in most cases.

Good International Health Insurance Covers Multiple Risks Abroad

Unfortunately, no one is safe from an unforeseen event. An accident or an illness may require a consultation, hospitalization, or even emergency repatriation. And all of these steps can be costly.

For short stays in the European Union, the European Economic Area (Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein), or Switzerland, it is possible to use the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).

This card is free of charge and must be requested from your health insurance company before your departure. It allows you to benefit from the same level of coverage as those insured under the public health system of the country where you are receiving care.

However, it is sometimes necessary to advance the costs before requesting reimbursement. It can be a good international health insurance option if you are a European citizen traveling to another European country.

In the case of expatriation or a study stay, it is sometimes possible, or even mandatory, to join the local Social Security system when it exists. This is the case in several European countries.

It is also possible to be covered by your employer, in part or in full. But this insurance will only be valid in the country of expatriation. Care received during short stays in your home country or another territory will never be covered.

In all these situations, these health insurances will not necessarily cover all the medical expenses. And for sure they will not cover certain guarantees such as repatriation assistance.

International medical insurance may even be required to obtain certain visas or to enroll in an educational institution. Be sure to get the information you need before your departure.

What International Health Insurance Plans Are Available?

The best international health insurance depends on the budget and the individual situation of each insured.

To make a simple choice without having to take too many steps, it is recommended to use an online comparison tool. It will allow you to obtain detailed quotes and guarantees. And to determine the most advantageous contract on a case-by-case basis.

In most situations, you will have to choose between taking out first euro insurance or adding a supplementary policy to your Social Security coverage.

The First Euro Offers Are Often the Best International Health Insurance Option

The “first euro” contracts are often presented to travelers and expatriates as the best international health insurance plans. They have a very good quality/price ratio because they reimburse expenses from the first euro spent.

The coverage goes up to the actual health rates charged in the country where the care is received.

These contracts are offered by many specialized private companies. Their formulas are flexible and can be adapted to the needs and budget of each individual.

In addition to the essential guarantees (current health care, hospitalization, repatriation), it is possible to subscribe to more complete coverage. You can add guarantees adapted to each situation and destination.

The 1st euro insurance covers health expenses independently of any other medical coverage system. And allows simplified management of the contract and procedures. You will have advisors that speak your language and are easily reachable at any time anywhere in the world.

Specialized in their field, these international health insurance companies include repatriation and coverage abroad. They can offer preferential rates, and optimized care through efficient local health networks.

One important feature is that they provide you with the waiver of advance payment in case of hospitalization.

However, these private companies require a medical questionnaire at the time of enrollment. It may result in exclusions from coverage or an increase in premiums. This must be taken into account if you suffer from pre-existing medical conditions, such as chronic illness.

It is not possible to know in advance the price of this type of insurance. There are many plans available in the market. And if you add or remove services, the price will be altered. For this, asking for a quote is essential.

Social Security With a Supplementary Policy: An Affordable International Health Insurance Choice

Social Security provides coverage to citizens abroad in some cases. And it doesn’t apply any health questionnaire or charges additional premiums in case of pre-existing medical conditions.

Staying affiliated to your country’s Social Security will allow you to keep contributing to your pension when you are expatriated.

However, most reimbursements are based on your country’s ceilings. This makes it unattractive in many countries where health care costs are high.

Hospitalization costs and certain services such as rehabilitation or chemotherapy are often reimbursed as a percentage of actual expenses.

The rates applied depend on the country in which the care is provided. But the insured may find himself or herself with a significant out-of-pocket expense.

So, even if Social Security looks like affordable health insurance for expats, it’s not a very efficient solution.

To improve reimbursements or to extend your coverage to essential risks such as repatriation, it’s necessary to subscribe to a supplementary policy with a private organization. This will also allow you to subscribe to additional coverage.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Best International Health Insurance Plans

Is Social Security a Good International Health Insurance Option?

A lot of people ask “do I need international health insurance if my country’s Social Security is covering me?” It has many advantages, like the absence of a medical questionnaire. But in most situations, it won’t be enough to cover all your medical expenses.

Where is the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) Valid?

The EHIC can provide you with medical coverage if you are moving to a country inside the European Economic Area. But you need to be resident in another country of this same space to be able to request it.

What Types of International Health Insurance Plans Are Available in the Market?

The best international health insurance options are:

– The “first euro” policies: offer a good quality/price ratio and reimbursement of health expenses from the first euro spent. However, the insurers ask for a medical questionnaire which can lead to exclusions of coverage or an increase in premiums.

– Social Security supplementary contracts: they extend the coverage offered by Social Security. They save you from having to pay the difference between the Social Security ceilings and the actual cost of care.

Use our comparison tool to find your insurance!

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This is also interesting:

What countries should I move to? The best countries to move to are not the same for everyone! Finding the ideal destination depends first of all on what is expected on a personal level.


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