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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

How Much Does International Health Insurance Cost?



International health insurance cost usually scares some expats. It’s normal to hesitate before subscribing. But going abroad without coverage is the worst choice you can make.

Even if you have Social Security protection, it can be insufficient in most places. It doesn’t cover events like repatriation, lost luggage, or civil liability. And its reimbursements will rarely be enough to cover all medical expenses.

In this article, you can find more details about the convenience of subscribing to a private policy. And more information on international medical insurance cost.

International Health Insurance Price Is Usually High

Health Care Abroad Is Often Expensive

Unless you are from the United States or Switzerland, health care abroad might be more expensive than in your home country. This applies to medication, consultations, hospitalizations, and examinations.

For example, the average cost of a consultation with a general practitioner is 40 euros in Japan and 51 euros in Australia. To see a specialist, it costs 90 euros in Canada, and 76 in Switzerland.

The bill explodes in case of hospitalization. The price per day in Luxemburg rises to 2,870 euros. And to 1,091 in Qatar.

In the worst case, if it is not possible to treat you on the spot, you will need to be repatriated. And it demands urgent payment, and therefore at a full cost:

  • Airline tickets for you and your family
  • Medical equipment
  • Transport by ambulance if necessary.

If the return trip must be done by medical transport, the price gets even higher. You can count approximately on something around 40,000 euros!

No matter how expensive is your international health insurance price, it will be way cheaper than that.

Social Security Might Not Cover You Abroad

Social Security is not available in all countries, and it has many limitations. If you are affiliated, probably, you won’t have repatriation coverage. And, in many countries, it will only cover you if you are a seconded worker.

Take in mind that you will have to pay from your pocket in advance. After making a request and presenting all the receipts, you might get part of the money back.

The local health plans available for expatriates are often insufficient. Among other issues, they never cover repatriation or health care received during stays outside the country. Even if you are going back home for a short period.

Under these conditions, it is unthinkable to leave without a good private policy. It will cover a large part of your expenses throughout the world. In both the public and private sectors.

To get it at the best price, it is essential to analyze all the available offers. The easiest way to do this is to use an online comparison tool.

It will provide you with detailed information on international health insurance costs and guarantees.

International Medical Insurance: Cost of “1st Euro” Contracts

Simplified Management

The so-called “1st euro/dollar” offers are proposed by companies specialized in international insurance.

They offer coverage of health care costs from the first euro spent, independently of any other insurance plan. Even when the insured is affiliated to a mandatory local plan.

These policies allow you to centralize all the procedures and simplify the management of your contract.

It is thus possible to be treated without understanding all the details of the local health system. And without perfectly mastering the language of the country. The procedures are carried out in English.

The cost of international health insurance for expatriates with these policies varies a lot, depending on the chosen company. But they grant you access to English-speakers advisors for all the procedures and paperwork

These advisors are familiar with the local health systems. And with the specific problems that travelers and expatriates normally have.

These companies’ strong international presence also often allows them to benefit from partnerships with good local healthcare networks.

This grants you improved coverage, as well as advantages such as third-party payment in case of hospitalization.

International Insurance Cost Varies According to the Coverage

It is not possible to give the price of such international insurance, because it will depend on:

  • Each situation
  • The duration of the contract
  • The number of people to be insured
  • Their age
  • Their state of health
  • The level of guarantees included.

There are plans for students, expatriates, and travelers. As well as specific contracts for certain countries or geographical areas.

It is possible to personalize your coverage according to your needs, by including essential guarantees outside the health field. You can add:

  • Coverage against theft or loss of luggage and identity papers
  • Coverage for the practice of sports that are considered risky
  • Cancellation insurance for airline tickets.

However, a medical questionnaire is required at the time of enrollment. And it may lead to exclusions or additional costs in case of pre-existing medical conditions, chronic illness, or if you are above a certain age.

To know the international insurance cost, you will need to ask for a quote. But it is a flexible solution that often offers very good value for money.

Cost of International Health Insurance for Expatriates Through Social Security

An Organization With a Public Service Mission

Social Security is a public entity, ruled by the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Labor in most countries. Unlike private companies, it can’t refuse membership applications. And it’s not needed to fill a health questionnaire when joining.

The specific details vary greatly from one country to another. But all of them have in common a big lack of flexibility and very limited coverage. In most cases, you won’t get the option of including repatriation in your policy.

You might be able to add retirement insurance and coverage for professional risks. But for broader medical coverage, you will have to subscribe to a supplementary policy with a private company.

This is often necessary because Social Security reimbursements are quite low. They are often calculated according to the cost of assistance in your country.

For example, a consultation with a general practitioner will be reimbursed at the same rate as there, even if it is billed twice as much abroad.

Other services, such as hospitalization, are reimbursed at a percentage of the actual cost of care. These rates vary depending on your area of residence. They can be interesting only in places where health care is much cheaper.

In both cases, given the prices charged abroad, this coverage alone is insufficient. The supplementary coverage is essential. But it increases the international medical insurance cost.

International Health Insurance Cost Gets Higher With Supplementary Policies

Social Security fees are calculated independently of income in many countries. They depend on the age group and family situation of the member:

  • Solo rate
  • Family rate for two or more members.

To these contributions, you must add the price of the supplementary insurance. It will vary according to the coverage and the international insurance organization. The only way to know it is by requesting a quote.

When possible, it is better to opt for an “all-in-one package”. It includes the basic Social Security insurance and the supplementary policy.

This type of package is much more comfortable and easier to manage. It avoids the multiplication of procedures and everything gets centralized in one single contact.

What Is the Average Price of a Consultation With a General Practitioner?

The average cost of a consultation with a general practitioner varies greatly. For example, it is 40 euros in Japan, whereas in Australia, the average cost is around 51 euros.

What Is the Average Cost of a Consultation With a Specialist?

Here again, the rates vary greatly. To see a specialist abroad, it is necessary to count for example 90 euros in Canada and 76 in Switzerland.

What to Do if You Are Hospitalized Abroad?

You should contact your insurance advisor as soon as possible. Once in the medical center, identify yourself with your insurance card, and the company will take care of all the expenses for you.

If you only have Social Security coverage or none at all, you should pay yourself the bill.

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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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