It’s important to be prepared when you move abroad. Nobody likes to think and plan for the worst, but if you don’t, it can put you in trouble when things go south.
You could find yourself facing expensive bills and a lot of administrative trouble.
The solution? Don’t leave home without taking out international health insurance.
Ideally, it should include medical evacuation and repatriation insurance. Here you can read why it is so important, how to choose the right one, and some of the most common options.
Why Take out Medical Repatriation Insurance?
Health Abroad: a Cost not to be Neglected
Take in mind that health is expensive abroad.
In some countries, such as the United States, a simple consultation with a general practitioner is already a significant cost.
Not to mention more specialized medical procedures whose prices can soar.
And in other countries, unforeseen events can quickly become expensive, especially hospitalization. Even in countries where the price of medical assistance seems reasonable.
Without insurance, you will have to pay the entire bill from your pocket. And often even advance a deposit to be taken care of.
Repatriation is one of the most expensive services. Its cost rises very quickly: around 40,000 euros for an evacuation by medical plane.
And besides this, count on extra time and costs related to the paperwork.
If you have Social Security coverage, it will only reimburse part of the expenses, most likely. So, as you can see, having medical repatriation insurance is almost mandatory.
Local Health Insurance is too Limited
Some expatriates may be affiliated with a local health insurance policy or have some plan from a credit card. They often think that these solutions are enough.
But in either case, this is not true most of the time.
Credit card insurance policies have deductibles and ceilings that may not be sufficient to cover the costs.
Besides this, their guarantees do not apply in all cases. They often depend on the duration of the trip, exclusions of guarantees, etc.
As for local insurances, their main drawback is that they do not cover repatriation assistance.
They do not follow the insured beyond the borders of his or her country of expatriation. Any care received in their home country or during stays abroad is not covered.
How to Choose the Right Repatriation Health Insurance?
What you Should not Overlook
A good repatriation health insurance policy can include many additional guarantees such as luggage protection or legal assistance.
But it must first and foremost ensure optimal coverage of hospitalization and repatriation.
These are the most expensive and urgent procedures and the ones that require the most steps.
You should therefore check the level of coverage provided for these two risks. Ideally, be able to benefit from the waiver of advance payment of hospital expenses.
International Health Insurance with Repatriation and Evacuation Coverage
When taking out medical evacuation and repatriation insurance, it is recommended to do it with a company from your country. It should have experience with international policies for expats.
The contract will be done according to your home country’s laws. It will be written in your language and it will be easier to communicate with your advisers.
Also, the company will be familiar with your situation and offer you coverage that suits you the best.
These companies often have partnerships with local professionals and care networks.
They normally offer an online platform or app that makes it easy to manage your policy.
The Best Medical Evacuation and Repatriation Insurance is Not the Same for Everyone
Social Security: a Health Insurance Without Repatriation
The best health and repatriation insurance for you will depend largely on your situation.
The location of stay, particular needs, number of people to be insured and professional situation are some details to take into consideration.
Social Security normally accepts any membership application, without additional premium or coverage exclusions.
This makes it appealing for people with medical pre-existing conditions. Anyways, its availability and conditions depend on your country.
Its downsides are the relative weakness of its reimbursements and the absence of repatriation insurance.
So, even if you are covered by Social Security, you might need to subscribe to a complementary policy with a private company.
This increases the global cost of the insurance and multiplies the steps to be taken.
1st Euro Contracts: Good Value for Money
In many cases, a “1st euro” or “1st dollar” insurance is the most recommended solution.
The flexibility and variety of these formulas allow you to take out an almost tailor-made contract.
They offer good value for money, particularly because health expenses are covered from the first euro spent.
They offer international health insurance with repatriation and evacuation coverage, among other services.
However, there is a health questionnaire to be filled in at the time of enrollment. And it can be a bit of a hindrance for some policyholders.