Is expat private healthcare insurance worth the money

Is expat private healthcare insurance worth the money

Is expat private healthcare insurance worth the money

Expats intending to take out private healthcare insurance should realise ‘one size fits all’ insurances aren’t necessarily the best.

Signing on for private healthcare insurance is a tricky decision which shouldn’t be taken until you’ve carefully researched public healthcare provisions in your chosen expat destination. Some countries provide full or partial public healthcare coverage for expats, but it’s still advisable to research as regards standards, use of the English language and waiting times for urgent appointments. Even if you do decide on private insurance, you should remember that private hospitals in the majority of overseas locations are commercial enterprises aiming to make money.

If you’ve determined your right to a level of public healthcare in your new country, checking standards is even more important as you might need supplementary private insurance in order to ensure the best treatment, especially if you’re hospitalised as a result of a serious accident. Basically, if you decide to go for a private healthcare policy, it should be carefully tailored not only to your healthcare needs but also to your location and could even be used simply as an add-on to local public healthcare services.

Most private healthcare applications give a choice of cover linked to various procedures from diagnostics to operations, aftercare, medication needs and suchlike, with dental care almost always an optional extra. One extra which is destination-linked is that of repatriation, an important point if you’re living or working in a region with less-developed healthcare offerings at both the public and private levels. Conversely, if you’re in, say, Singapore, Hong Kong or the USA, services are excellent but prices are very expensive, suggesting a high level of reimbursement limits.

Across Southeast Asia including Thailand, private hospital chains and dental practices are upping their prices to take advantage of medical tourism, with many expats now finding their insurance is unlikely to cover them in the case of emergencies. Another problem is that even those with private health policies are being forced to pay hefty deposits before any treatment is given, as private hospitals aren’t prepared to wait for payment whilst patients’ private healthcare insurance kicks in. Checking insurers’ time delays between claim and payment is the sensible idea if you’re heading east!

Obviously, the majority of expats looking to take on private healthcare insurance are taking price into consideration, with co-payment an option as are deductibles. Careful reading of the contract will reveal whether these options apply to all medical treatment or just hospitalisation. Annual payments also save money, as does deleting provisions which don’t meet your needs.

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