It is very important for expatriates to purchase health insurance. Health is the most vital asset we have thus insuring it effectively should be far more important than a car, cell phone or house. Of course, only those that have sat in a hospital bed being told that their insurance will not cover their surgery/procedure will truly appreciate this. Price, like with most products and services, is often the decisive factor with insurance. However, at GMS we believe that there are 5 more important factors to consider before price:
1. Individual Benefits
When reviewing the various policies in the marketplace for expatriates, take a long hard look at the individual benefits e.g. surgery limitations. Some insurance products are able to give you a smaller premium because their limits for benefits such as surgery will be very low. Try to compare products by their benefits before comparing the price.
2. The Provider
There are many companies that come and go in the insurance arena however the staple ‘big boys’ remain. If a small insurance company is hit with a large amount of claims (this happens with terrorist attacks, natural disasters etc) they can go bust quite quickly. It’s worth doing your research on the provider and their ability to pay out when the claims come in. Insurance companies usually offer information on the claims they have paid out, how much assets they have and what (if any) reinsurance they have.
3. Evacuation Cover
Evacuation cover is very important in places that you believe to have inferior medical facilities, particularly when it comes to complicated procedures. Having insurance that will pay out the tens of thousands of dollars it costs for an evacuation is key to getting the treatments that can save lives.
4. Pre-existing Conditions
A pre-existing condition such as thyroid complications can cause insurance companies to go one of three ways. Deny cover, increase premiums or exclude any claims relating to that particular condition. An increased premium (aka “a loading”) would make sure you’re completely covered however would of course cost more. This is certainly something that should be considered.
Ok price is important too. Although this is message is saying that price is not the most important factor when choosing expat health insurance, it still is important. Health insurance should be affordable and offer value to you and your family. Some companies out there offer a great insurance product that comprehensively ticks all the boxes but they spend so much on their advertising, headquarters and executive bonuses etc that their products become comparatively expensive. It is best to find the perfect balance of benefits and price.
If your expat health insurance is up for renewal in the next 3 months and you would like to talk about any of the considerations above or simply want to see what option are out there get in touch and we’d be happy to help.