Why expats choose International Health Insurance

Why expats choose International Health Insurance

28 November 2022
A happy family walking along a sandy beach. The son is having a piggy back from his mother, the daughter is on her father’s shoulders

Having taken the huge step in life to relocate to a new country, it’s important to secure peace of mind in as many aspects of your new life as possible, and ensuring that healthcare will be available for you and your family is a must.

Have you figured out how the healthcare system works in your chosen destination? How will you, as an expat, gain access to health services in your new home? Have you considered the possible language barrier? Do you know what to do in case of a medical emergency?

Understanding everything about your new home can be a daunting process, and deciphering the way in which a country’s national health system works is no exception.

As you leave your home country, you will realise you also leave certain comforts that were available to you as a national. But what will life be like now? What are the implications of being an expat in your new country? It’s best to get the answers to these questions – before you go.

Private policy or public healthcare

In many cases, the healthcare system of a country is not designed to accommodate expatriates, leaving many foreigners ineligible for public healthcare. In other situations, you may need permanent residency before you can enter the system, which could take months or years.

It of course depends on where you are and what you are entitled to – but more often than not, it becomes necessary for expats to choose a private health plan.

In cases where you are entitled to free or subsidized healthcare, a private health policy can represent a convenient alternative to supplement your healthcare and gain comprehensive coverage, as public healthcare usually comes with some exclusions.

Furthermore, private health policies usually grant you immediate access to health services and specialists, as opposed to potential long waiting times that come with the public system.

We offer a wide range of levels of expat medical insurance cover. Individual private medical insurance (IPMI) policies can often be advantageous to expats, as many of the benefits within these policies have been tailored specifically to suit their needs.

Why go for international coverage?

Globally mobile citizens often require an international plan to cover them in a number of different countries. Some private plans offer coverage abroad, although for a limited time only. If you have private insurance in your home country, speak to your provider before your move; check if the plan will cover you in your new host country and for how long. 

You may have travel insurance in place, but bear in mind these policies are designed for short stays and to cover only for a medical emergency. Depending on the length of your stay, you may want to ensure a more sufficient health cover with an international policy.

Understanding your policy documentation and being able to talk to a customer service representative is vital when dealing with your health queries – another reason why many expats choose an international health insurance company, so that they are able to get support in English or another familiar language.

What to consider when purchasing a policy

Researching the implications for expatriates in your host country and understanding the local regulations will set the base for you to make an informed decision.

If you are eligible to subsidised healthcare, bear in mind that most public healthcare systems are not all-encompassing. It’s important to make sure there are no gaps in your coverage – a private policy may complement your basic cover and grant you complete access to the best healthcare services in the country.

If you are employed, find out if your employer provides coverage. If you are covered under a company’s health insurance plan, find out exactly what your insurance plan covers and if it is the right policy for your particular situation.

When purchasing a private policy, try to choose a plan specifically tailored to your needs. Keep in mind these basic factors: Does the policy fit the specific needs of you and your family? How are pre-existing conditions handled? Are there age restrictions? Does it provide international coverage? What are the exclusions?

Benefits vary from supplier to supplier, but some include unlimited annual benefit limits, Inpatient care, day patient care, cancer care, and maternity care.

Research, compare, and consider the costs. Be sure to ask your insurer the right questions before making a decision, and you will surely find the right policy for you and your family.

There are many insurers to choose from and finding the right policy for you and your family isn’t always easy, we work closely with our expatriate customers to ensure that their health insurance policies are both practical and flexible.

Flexibility and peace of mind to suit all budgets

  • Three levels of essential core cover to choose from
  • All packages provide protection for:
    • Essential hospital stays and treatment
    • All surgeon and consultation fees
    • Hospital accommodation
    • In-patient, outpatient, and cancer treatments
  • Gold and Platinum core policies also offer levels of cover for routine maternity

A range of optional benefits tailored specifically for expatriates

Cigna’s optional extras give you the flexibility to design the right level of cover to suit you and your family. They include:

    • More extensive outpatient cover including doctor’s visits and prescriptions.
    • Transport and repatriation costs for you and a family member if you need treatment in another country
    • Cover for health screenings, tests, examinations and other wellbeing activities
    • Comprehensive cover for all your vision and dental costs

The Cigna difference

As a Cigna customer you are entitled to continued support throughout the duration of your policy from people who really know healthcare abroad.

Discover more about Cigna International Health Plans.

Related articles

Mandy Haakenson - Moving Country with my Family

Expat Mandy Haakenson shares details of her experiences living in different countries with her family.

A group of relaxed looking people chatting in an outside setting

International health insurance for working abroad

Cigna international health insurance has options for both employees and employers to make sure it’s business as usual when living and working abroad.