5 Useful Tips to Save Money on Expat Health Insurance

The stress of relocating abroad or organizing a multiple-month-long trip away can be made worse by large by international health insurance prices and their incalculable associated costs. 

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 reduce costs, this article will examine five tips on how to save money when enrolling in an 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. 

Choose a Large Deductible to save money

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. 

Pay Annually and Ask for a Discount 

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 faulting. Sure, monthly payments might be ideal for those on a budget, but they come with increased risks of policy lapse. 

While annual payments are almost always the cheapest option, don’t be hesitant to contact your provider and request a discount, as many agencies offer customer support and are aware of increased competition in the industry. As a result, some international health insurance providers will offer additional discounts to retain enrollment. It never hurts to try. 

Do Not Be Drawn By Unnecessary Extras 

International health insurance can include countless amounts of extras and add-ons such as orthodontic coverage, physiotherapy, and chiropractic services. Sure, an insurance plan that provides coverage for massages or optical might sound advantageous and exciting but can wind up costing more in the long run. This can, unfortunately, result in decreased overall value to the enrollee, and certain add ons may prove difficult to drop. 

Extra incentives are great for those who require and benefit from them. However, cheaper plans will offer the most value. On the other hand, more expensive plans with all the bells, whistles, adds-ons, and extras might prove unnecessary depending on your location and lifestyle.  

Families will generally fare better than individuals when shopping for add ons, as group coverage tends to be lower than coverage for an individual. 

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 cover me in this situation? What if I am involved in a natural disaster? Is this even a real website?”

Unfortunately, the health care industry is ripe with fraud and deceit, including providers offering expat health insurance. Generally speaking, if a quote seems too good to be true, there’s a decent chance that it is. Be wary of agencies quoting ridiculously low prices. 

To avoid buying inadequate or fraudulent international health care, make sure you know and trust the provider. Asking fellow expats their opinion or experience with health care abroad can be an excellent starting point in identifying trustworthy agencies over dishonest ones. 

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. Doing so will ensure an affordable plan with terrific value. 

Engage a Health Insurance Broker 

health insurance agent 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:

  • Name and address of the primary holder
  • Names and birthdate of all enrollees (if applicable)
  • Policy number (if applicable)
  • Medical Summary
  • A list of questions you hope to ask 

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. 

Finally, make sure to provide any requested information as soon as possible. Doing so will help the process run smoothly and ensure deadlines are met accordingly.

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! 

Still not convinced? Read our 6 strategies to help you save money on your health insurance cost.

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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