Having health insurance for going abroad should be one of the first concerns when preparing for a trip or expatriation.
Leaving without protection means exposing yourself to significant expenses and risks.
Read here for some tips to help you choose the best medical insurance while abroad for your specific situation.
Social Security Health Insurance While Abroad
It Might Not Be a Valid Medical Insurance While Living Abroad
First, not all countries offer Social Security insurance to their citizens. Second, the ones that do, might impose strong restrictions for people to move to another territory. And in most cases, it doesn’t cover repatriation.
Commonly, Social Security is only valid as health insurance while abroad if you are a seconded worker. So, before moving, you should check with the competent organism.
The EHIC for Europeans Traveling Inside Europe
If you are a European citizen you can request a European Health Insurance Card. It will cover you while traveling inside the European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, or Norway.
It is free and allows you to be covered in the same way as those insured under the local health plan of the country you are visiting. If the reimbursements are low, you will have to pay the remaining costs.
The EHIC does not cover repatriation either.
Medical Insurance While Abroad With Local Plans
In the case of a long stay or expatriation, it might be possible, or even mandatory, to join the local health plan. To avoid uncomfortable surprises, it is imperative to verify the type of coverage offered.
It also requires a good command of the language and the health system.
This medical insurance while living abroad it’s only valid in the country of stay. And it does not cover repatriation.
Depending on the legal obligations and the level of coverage, it may be more interesting to take out an international insurance contract instead, or in addition.
International Insurers, Experts in Health Insurance for Going Abroad
The Advantages of International Insurance
Taking out a policy with an international insurer is a good way to benefit from complete coverage abroad.
These types of policies are specially adapted to the problems encountered by travelers or expatriates. It offers simplified management of the contract and related procedures.
English-speaking assistance is easily accessible. And international insurers often have partnerships with local health networks.
They allow them to offer their policyholders certain advantages, such as the waiver of advance payment in case of hospitalization.
These contracts follow the insured throughout the world, including their home country.
1st Euro Contracts: A Tailor-Made Health Insurance for Going Abroad
The most recommended solution in health insurance for going abroad is the subscription of a contract called “1st euro” (or 1st dollar).
This type of coverage allows you to benefit from the coverage of your health expenses from the first euro incurred. And at the actual cost of health care in the host country.
It is also possible to choose from a wide range of more or less protective plans:
- Coverage of health and hospitalization expenses
- Guarantees related to airline tickets or luggage
- Civil liability
- Guarantees related to the practice of extreme sports
It is thus possible to benefit from coverage adapted to all budgets, needs, and lengths of stay.
However, there is a mandatory medical questionnaire to be filled at the time of enrollment.
And it may result in an increase in the cost or exclusions of coverage in case of chronic illness or medical history.
Social Security for Expatriates
Advantages of Social Security as Health Insurance While Abroad
If your country offers Social Security for expats you won’t have to fill any medical questionnaire.
This entity is obliged to accept all membership applications most of the time because it’s a public service.
Choosing this option is, therefore, a good solution for people with pre-existing medical conditions who wish to benefit from health insurance while abroad.
It is also interesting for young singles. Its contributions are calculated according to the age and personal situation of the insured.
The Importance of a Supplementary Policy
Social Security is a well-known solution in health insurance for going abroad. But it has some shortcomings that must be taken into account.
Its reimbursements are based on the same scales as your home country. If you are expatriated in an expensive territory, the amounts covered might be largely insufficient.
Social Security offer is also basic and not very flexible. Repatriation is never covered, and it is not possible to add specific guarantees.
To be better covered and reimbursed, you must subscribe to a supplementary insurance plan. They are managed by private organizations. Getting one means additional costs, and as well as involves additional procedures.
To choose the most appropriate health insurance solution abroad for each situation, it is recommended to use an online comparator. It will allow you to obtain detailed quotes quickly and free of charge.