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How Does International Health Insurance Work

    International Health Insurance — just like its name suggests — is designed to cover your health care needs when you are abroad. International health insurance is designed to cover the expat that is located locally in their destination country, but is also global — including seeking medical treatment either at home or at a regional location.

    With international health insurance policies, you choose which countries you wish to have covered medical treatment. International health insurance is just like regular health insurance, except that it covers the costs of medical treatment while you are living overseas. International medical insurance offers a longer-term safety net if you are living abroad for at least a year, and generally covers both emergency medical care as well as your regular health care costs.

    No matter where life might take you, international medical insurance can cover you in most countries across the globe, and coverage is generally not limited to just one country, either. Most international medical insurance plans also cover repatriation, meaning that if a treatment is unavailable in the country where you live, you may receive the treatment in a different country. While often not necessary, international medical insurance plans can help an expat navigate a local health care system, knowing that if they get sick or injured while they are in a foreign country, they are covered. Having coverage for international medical insurance covers the higher costs of health care that relies on international facilities.

    If you get sick or injured, you can file a claim with your medical insurance provider to cover medical treatments and healthcare costs. If you received medical care and paid out-of-pocket, meaning that your insurer did not cover the costs of your care, you can file a claim with the insurance provider to get paid back. The hospital or health center where you received your treatment may be able to directly bill your insurance provider, depending on the ID card your insurance has.

    When you are paying cash, you may send your insurance company a bill afterward, but it takes some time to get reimbursement, particularly if the medical records need translation. An insurance company may refer you to providers that speak your language, have met their standards for care guidelines, and may bill you directly (so that you do not have to pay out of pocket). Your insurer has experts on international health who are trained to handle situations like this, and they will depend on their expertise to get you through the difficult times.

    Find out if your primary insurance company also offers services through an international travel assistance provider, like 24/7, toll-free help in an emergency situation, or advance prepayment or approval of treatments, which may be required in certain countries. If your primary insurance covers you overseas, you might have to pay in advance and be reimbursed when you get back home. If you are traveling and you get a surprise illness, illness, or injury covered under your travel health insurance, you generally get reimbursed up to your plans limits. Either way, if you buy the Reparations and Evacuation Coverage Plan, your international medical insurance will cover those costs.

    If you are traveling abroad and your US medical insurance does not offer any coverage, the travel health insurance plan, which is secondary, essentially becomes the primary insurance because you do not have any other insurance. Travel medical coverage is particularly important if you are traveling out-of-country, where your U.S. health plan may only provide limited or no coverage.

    Travel insurance is a short-term (less than one year) insurance plan that covers medical emergencies and accidents only while on vacation or a work trip, and also includes non-medical benefits, like covering lost baggage or cancellation. In comparison, travel insurance is tailored for people who are vacationing, may need to get an emergency medical care, and covers the travel back home if they become sick or suffer an accident while vacationing. For instance, if you are staying only temporarily, that is, for less than one month, you might want to consider buying travel insurance that will only cover any medical emergencies that occur while you are there. Chances are, insurance coverage in your home country does not cover you at your foreign expat destination, and travel insurance plans cover only emergencies, and for up to a year.

    Of course, if you are traveling extensively, or you are living or working outside of the Netherlands, you might need international coverage too, unless you are eligible for a health care service from the country where you are living. For nationals living in countries like Canada, residents who are eligible may buy supplemental health insurance, but this depends on having provincial governments universal coverage. In addition, international health insurance allows access to English-speaking doctors in countries that do not speak English, private healthcare – including private healthcare facilities – and instant care with no waiting times.

    Private health insurance packages are effective in locations where you are legally required to obtain coverage before getting a visa or moving, and they also will cover private health care in countries where access to government-run healthcare facilities would be provided. Our private healthcare packages are tailored to meet a range of needs, with SimpleCare and WorldCare plans covering anything from emergency care and routine doctors visits, to all physician and hospital visits, hospital in-patient and out-patient care, dental, and pregnancy coverage. If you want to go with a more comprehensive level of private healthcare insurance that covers a wider range of needs, Now Health Internationals top-tier coverage includes coverage for both routine and complex dental treatments.

    Private medical insurance packages are designed to help cover medical expenses while living away from home abroad, whether you are working, studying, or retired in an overseas location. Most comprehensive health insurance policies include some medical underwriting, so the plan may or may not cover your pre-existing conditions.

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