Taking out an insurance policy for medical expenses abroad is a significant financial burden. Both for travelers and expatriates, who may be tempted to leave without it. However, this would be irresponsible.
In this article, you will find the way of getting insurance that suits your budget. Also, you will read about the types of policies available, and how to claim for medical expenses incurred abroad.
Insurance Grants You the Refund of Medical Expenses Abroad
The Cost of Health Care Abroad
The reason to take out an insurance policy is obvious. No one is safe from an accident or an illness during a stay abroad.
In many countries, health care is very expensive. Especially in those places where the public health care system is deficient, non-existent, or not accessible to foreigners. This might push you to private practitioners.
Who could imagine paying 80 euros for a simple consultation with a general practitioner?
Yet this is the case in some countries. And when it comes to hospitalization or repatriation, the bill soars. It is therefore strongly advised against leaving without coverage.
Local Insurance Is Not Enough to Cover Your Medical Expenses Abroad
Depending on the country and the situation, it is possible to be covered by the local insurance plan.
This is the case for European nationals, traveling to European countries. They can be treated under the same conditions as the locals by presenting an EHIC (European Health Insurance Card).
It is also possible to be affiliated with the local public scheme as a resident. Or for an employer to provide his foreign employees with local insurance. Both cases are an interesting way of getting a refund of medical expenses abroad.
However, all these solutions have the same drawbacks for a foreigner. They do not cover the specific problems associated with the status of traveler or expatriate (repatriation assistance). And they only protect the insured in the host country.
No local insurance will cover medical expenses incurred during a stay in your home country. Or on a vacation abroad.
How to Claim for Medical Expenses Incurred Abroad?
The Importance of Choosing a Company From Your Country
It is highly recommended to subscribe to international health insurance. It will cover your medical expenses abroad. And the best option is to subscribe to a company from your home country.
These insurers have experience in the international field. And they can ensure optimal coverage with simplified procedures.
This avoids having to know all the details of the local medical system. And even less the language, since the management of the contract, the procedures and the assistance are in English.
Medical Expenses Abroad: Refund From the 1st Euro Spent
The so-called “1st euro/dollar” contracts are very popular among expatriates. They cover all the medical expenses abroad, refund you from the first euro/dollar spent and their quality-price ratio is generally very good.
There are many different plans available, offering great flexibility in the range of services covered. This allows everyone to find the offer best suited to their needs according to their situation and destination.
The main drawback of these insurances is the obligation to fill in a medical questionnaire. And you can face restrictions in some cases. For example, if you have pre-existing medical conditions or a chronic illness.
Your application could be refused, the fees could be increased, or the company could apply restrictions in the coverage. If you are in this situation, Social Security might be a better option for you.
Social Security to Cover Medical Expenses Abroad
Social Security is a public entity available in some countries. And sometimes, it provides health coverage to their nationals that go abroad.
It has the advantage of maintaining a link with the public health system in your country of origin. It allows you to quickly regain your rights once you return to your country. It usually does not refuse any application for membership. And there is no medical questionnaire at the time of application.
However, it has one flaw when it comes to cover medical expenses abroad. The reimbursements are low. And the coverage is limited. Repatriation is not included, and expenses are refunded according to your home country’s costs. Which might be very insufficient in many countries.
It is, therefore, necessary to take out supplementary insurance. This way you will improve the coverage of your policy. And you will benefit from extended coverage. Its downside is that it often requires managing two separate contracts.