International Private Health Insurance
Ensuring suitable healthcare will be available is near the top of the list for people wanting peace of mind in retiring overseas.
Determining your private health insurance needs.
It is important to understand the healthcare system of the country that you will be relocating to. This provide you with the knowledge of what services will be available to you, and an understanding of the quality and the general cost of those services. This will be the starting point in determining what your private health insurance needs will be.
International private health cover is the most suitable type of medical cover for an expat. It can allow you to be treated in a hospital, and even with the doctor of your choice. This type of cover allows you to choose a ‘zone’ of cover which means that your medical costs will be reimbursed so long as the country in which you seek treatment is specified in the zone of the policy and your policy provides for the condition being treated.
Your international private health insurance may even be able to follow you should you relocate to another country.
Why is international private health insurance important?
For many retirees having international private health insurance will come down to cost. Retire to Asia sees that most expats self-insure or take out the basic level of cover as a cost savings measure. Those that do take out an international private health insurance policy do so mainly for the following reasons:
- To ensure access to the health services you require in your adoptive country.
- To avoid potential long waiting times and queues in the public health system.
- To enable them to have a policy that can cover them in multiple countries that they frequent (travel insurance only covers short periods and usually only medical emergencies).
- To tailor an international health insurance plan to suit personal circumstances and budget.To include a medical evacuation option to a facility of their choice which may not only save your bank balance, it may save your life. This is particularly important if you choose to live in a remote location.
- To meet visa requirements (e.g. For those retiring on the 10 year MM2H Malaysian retirement visa, having international private health cover is a requirement for obtaining the visa however, this may be waived under certain conditions.
What can be covered?
International private health insurance policies generally offer three key components:
- Outpatient treatment
- Inpatient treatment
- Various add-on options
Basic or standard plans usually includes inpatient care but excludes outpatient care.
Comprehensive plans will usually offer both inpatient and outpatient care, usually with a capped limit, while premium plans can offer both inpatient and outpatient care with a variety of add-on options.
What Retire to Asia has found in practice
Whilst outpatient treatment and basic public hospital care are quite affordable in SE Asia, it is recommended by Retire to Asia that if at all possible, expats should take out insurance covering at least hospitalisation and evacuation to a facility of your choice, which may also include to another country should the facilities in your country of choice not be sufficiently capable of dealing with more serious medical conditions.
In addition, if you are able to afford outpatient care as part of your insurance package adding this to your cover can make sense.
How do I find out more information?
International private health insurance is a complex field. There are many insurers out there pitching for your business and it pays to seek unbiased advice in order to obtain the most suitable policy for you.
The team at Retire to Asia constantly discuss this topic with various expat communities to gauge opinion, and actual experiences with various insurance companies which we find to be the best source of independent information based on the collective experiences within those communities.
Always remember though that you get what you pay for. If you buy what is clearly a cheap policy without advice, beware when it comes time to make a claim.
The team at Retire to Asia can point you in the right direction in who to speak with if you are interested in learning more about international private health insurance.