Applying for International Medical Insurance – Understand the Rules in 2018-2019 (Top Ten Rules & Tips)
Now that the summer of 2018 has come to an end and we are focusing on the Fall and 2019, I would like to remind my international friends and clients on how easy it is to apply for international medical insurance. Below are a few rules which may help with understanding the process. These rules are easy to follow however, they have to be followed. These rules are standard in the industry and established by such groups as Lloyd’s of London and Aetna International. These rules are standard in the business and established by groups such as Lloyd’s of London.
#1 International Address Required: You and your family or company must live outside of your home country for at least 6 months out of the 12 month policy year and must have an international address (local billing address for credit cards is OK). Local addresses the USA are not allowed.
#2 Date: Your start date must be on the 1st of 15th of the month and you must not reside in your home country (i.e. Canada or USA) at the time of your start date. You may leave the country on the start date however.
#3 Coverage Which Includes the USA: In addition to global medical coverage, you may elect to include coverage in the USA, however, a member must not reside in the States for more than 6 months out of the 12 month policy year. There is no transfer from a Global Plan to a US based plan under the same insurance name, such as United Healthcare and Aetna International. If an applicant elects to include coverage in the US, then he/she will face an annual premium mark up of about 100%. Most of the time, the rates are much less than any domestic plan, usually about 50% less.
#4 Medical Questions on Application: Be honest, remember, if a large medical claim were to hit, most global insurance companies underwrite at the time of claim reimbursement, in addition to initial application process. We see this happen often and simply using the excuse “I forget and was sloppy” will not get your claim paid. You could be dropped all together.
#5 Medical Documents: If you have had ongoing medical treatments in the past 10 years or so, be prepared to contact your Medical Provider quickly and provide requested documentation. Many Providers now charge for this information which seems wrong to me. We may be able to make a call and help with this part of the process. We encourage everyone to obtain a yearly wellness check up and have ready.
#6 Detailed Medical Review Is a Good Thing: The more detailed a global medical insurance medical review the better. Some insurance carriers just approve most everyone with very little review and a member feels good about coverage. However, they learn down the road that they are just “nickled and dimed” with pre-ex language and told many medical events are not covered after the fact. We see this often and it’s not a good process (we do not offer these type of companies).
#7 What is Not Covered: A good global medical insurance company will point out exactly what is not covered or what medical issues may have limited exclusions. This is a good thing, we do not want surprises. Demand this upfront. Too good to be true, then walk away.
#8 Smile: You are moving abroad or may already live abroad. Many people don’t get to live this dream, the cost are much lower than domestic policies in countries like the USA, Hong Kong, and Singapore.
#9 Payment: Do not pay for any global medical premium payment upfront, that is prior to an approval and completed medical review.
#10 Agent / Broker: Use a licensed broker who can speak with you over Skype or the telephone. Never pay any charges to an agent.
For more tips or help locating an international plan, contact offshorehealthbenefits.com today. We charge nothing to help.
Thousands of Expatriates served since 2002.
-Robert Tillotson, OffShore Health Benefits, Ltd.