Applying for International Medical Insurance? Application Tips in 2019-2020
From the Desk of Robert Tillotson, Offshore Health Benefits
Fall 2019 & 2020 – Update
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 & clients of how easy it is to apply for international medical insurance. Below are a few rules which may help with understanding the process. Most of rules are standard in the industry and have been established by such groups as Lloyd’s of London, Aetna International and other global insurance companies. At OffshoreHealthBenefits.com we understand the application can be time consuming and tedious. We are here to help at no charge and take calls 7 days a week. I hope these tips will help you with your journey abroad.
#1 International Address Required: You and your family or company must live outside of your home country for at least 6 months (out of a 12 month policy year) and must have an international address. Local addresses within the USA are not allowed.
#2 Plan Start Date: The plan start date may be on the 1st of 15th of the month. A new member must be traveling or living abroad on their start date.
#3 Including the USA with Global Cover: An applicant may elect to include coverage in the USA, however, he/she must not reside in the States for more than 6 months out of a 12 month insurance policy year. There is “no transfer policy from a Global to a US based plan” under the same insurance company, such as United Healthcare & 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%. Keep in mind, most international global plans are about 50% of the cost of domestic medical insurance.
#4 Medical Questions on Application: Be honest with your insurance application, 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 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 5-10 years, be prepared to contact your Medical Provider and provide requested documentation which may come in the form of an Attending Physician Report. Many providers now charge for this information. We may be able to make a call and help with this part of the process if needed. We encourage everyone to obtain a yearly wellness check up and maintain a digital copy.
#6 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.
#7 Smile!: You are moving abroad or may already live abroad. Many people don’t get to live this dream, most of time the overall cost are much lower than domestic policies, like in the USA, Hong Kong, and Singapore.
#8 Payment for Your Global Insurance Plan: Do not pay for any global medical premium payment upfront until your application has been approved and all approved, like pre-existing conditions.
#9 Medical Underwriting (application process): Any reputable insurance company will insist on medically underwriting each person (employee groups of 10 are treated differently). Every applicant should be 100% clear on what is covered prior to accepting a global medical insurance plan. Companies who do not underwrite upfront will probably hit their members with claim denials over the life of the global medical insurance policy.
#10 Agent / Broker: Use a licensed broker who can speak with you over Skype, telephone, or in person. Never pay any agent fee charges to an agent or broker. Application fees are unnecessary.
For more tips or help locating an international plan, contact offshorehealthbenefits.com today.
-Robert Tillotson, Offshore Health Benefits, Ltd.
17 Years in Global Benefit Planning, Bonded & Licensed