5 Useful Tips to Save Money on Expat Health Insurance

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5 Useful Tips to
Save Money on
Expat Health Insurance

International health insurance, also known as expat or global health insurance, is insurance that covers medical procedures for those who work, live, or study abroad, or for individuals who spend a great deal of time traveling outside of their home country. 

Expat health insurance is recommended in order to guarantee safety and prevent financial losses that might result from everyday ailments or unforeseen circumstances such as accidents or other unpredictable misfortunes. 

Luckily, international health insurance plans can be tailored to meet one’s specific medical needs and lifestyle and can cover a wide variety of geographical locations. Unfortunately, these services often come with a hefty price tag. 

To help save you precious time and reduce your health insurance premiums, this article will examine five tips on how to save money on your international health insurance plan. This advice will guarantee a safe and cost-effective transition abroad, which means more time and money for adventure upon arrival in your new destination. 

028 1

Choose a Deductible

Coverage with large deductibles, also known as high deductible plans or consumer-directed health plans, are insurance plans that result in the lowest monthly costs due to low premiums. 

A deductible is the amount of money one pays annually out-of-pocket before the insurance begins to cover expenditures. Premiums are the prices an individual or family pays per month to be enrolled in their preferred plan. Simply put, high deductible plans equal low premium costs, which result in an overall lower cost of international healthcare. 

For example, a young person who is relatively healthy may opt for a high deductible plan if they do not anticipate any major medical procedures during their enrollment period. Consequently, the individual will pay less per month for their plan. 

Plans with large deductibles may be advantageous in some locations and not others depending on the average cost of medical procedures. Make sure to research thoroughly and estimate the costs of anticipated procedures in your destination prior to enrolling in a large deductible plan, or ask your provider for help to optimize value. 

 

029 2

Pay Annually 

International insurance providers frequently offer large discounts for enrollees who opt to pay annually rather than monthly. This is because a once-per-year transaction is much less costly to the provider than handling transactions on a month-to-month basis. 

Additionally, paying a mass sum at the beginning of your annual enrollment can help reduce the likelihood of your policy. Annual payments are great, as you just pay it once and then you don’t have to think about it for the next year, so you can focus on other things. 

For people on a budget, the local style, budget friendly plans usually are only payable on an annual basis. It’s usually once you start getting into the the middle & upper tier providers where they start to allow the payment to be broken up into installments.  Sure, monthly payments might be ideal for those on a budget, but they come with increased risks of policy lapse. And it’s usually the people on a budget who can least afford any negative consequences of having their policy lapse.

030 3

Inpatient Only

International health insurance can include many optional benefit add-ons, such as:

  • basic outpatient services
  • comprehensive outpatient
  • physiotherapy & chiropractor
  • mental well being
  • annual health checks & vaccines
  • routine dental
  • vision

Sure, a plan with comprehensive benefits is nice to have, but it’s not a good way to save money on your health insurance. This is especially true as you get older, the price will incremently increase the more benefits you have.

This will of course depend on your personal preferences, where you live, where you go for treatments and your budget. For many people, they can do a quick cost/benefit analysis and think if having outpatient is worth it.  If you think long-term and want a price-stable plan, then inpatient is your way to go. 

031 4

Beware of Companies that Provide Cheap Global Health Insurance 

The health insurance industry can be tricky to navigate You may find yourself asking, “is my provider reliable? Does my plan really cover me if something bad really goes on? How do they handle big claims?  Is there something that I’m not being told? 

Just like with almost anything in life, you get what you pay for. Health insurance is no different. So while you may save money on your health insurance this year, it can also end up costing you a lot more out-of-pocket.  Generally speaking, if a quote seems too good to be true, there’s a decent chance that it is. If someone has a ridiculous deal on paper, then it probably means claims are nearly impossible, and what’s the purpose of that?

To avoid buying inadequate health insurance do your research, use a broker, check thier Google rankings like ours.  You can take anything you see on Facebook groups with a grain of salt as you don’t know the full details of the situation, good or bad.   Asking fellow expats their opinion or experience with health care abroad can be an excellent starting point in identifying trustworthy agencies over dishonest ones. 

The true test of a good health insurer is how do they treat you AFTER you’ve had a big claim or a diagnosis, especially at your renewal date

Insurance plans should be viewed similarly to any other commodity in that they should be well researched and read extensively about prior to purchasing from a well-qualified provider. 

032 5

Engage a Health Insurance Broker 

 

A great international health insurance broker will be willing and ready to work with you to address your medical needs and concerns before the big move abroad. 

To guarantee you and your loved ones stay safe abroad, clear and constant communication with your broker proves essential. The challenging task of researching, applying, and committing to a plan is worth it, in the end, to know you are safe while away from home. 

More and more providers are offering around-the-clock multi-lingual customer service. Use this to your advantage. Make sure, for example, that there are adequate network facilities in your destination and that all medical anticipations are covered. There’s no wrong question. 

Prior to engaging with your broker be sure to have ready:

  • Dates of birth of all people
  • Details of existing plan, if any
  • An idea of what key features are important to you
  • Preferred benefits
  • An allocated budget range

During your conversation, be sure to record any pertinent information such as the name and extension of your representative. Write down dates, times, deadlines, and any other details communicated. 

These are the 5 ways to save money when shopping for expat health insurance. Although expensive, choosing the right plan with limited add-ons and engaging in clear and effective communication with your provider will ensure total coverage in any corner of the world. Bon Voyage! 

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    Patrik Shore Tenzing Pacific Services

    Patrik Shore

    Senior Advisor
    From Sweden & New Zealand
    7 years' insurance experience
    Joined Tenzing in 2019
    Crim Science
    Speaks English and Swedish

    Speciality:
    - Savings Plans
    - Health Insurance
    - Life Insurance