By Matt Pinckard | 29 Feb 2024

Health insurance for young professionals: What to look for?

There's much to consider when moving abroad for the first time. Let's explore how you can ensure you have the health coverage you need.


Relocating overseas as a young professional is an exhilarating opportunity. While you're likely moving to pursue your career ambitions, there's a lot to consider before you do so.

Health insurance is one of the most vital considerations you must make. Let's explore why and what you need to look out for.

Why is health insurance so vital?

Depending on where you’re moving to, having an adequate health insurance plan could be vital for ensuring your well-being and financial security.

In the short term, the crucial things to consider are that:

  • Access to healthcare facilities can vary significantly in some countries. Even in locations with excellent public healthcare that is free to use, you might face long waiting times.
  • Medical costs are high in many countries where access to free healthcare is limited, especially if you require emergency or specialist treatment.
  • Health insurance can give you peace of mind that if you do fall ill or suffer an injury, you'll be able to get the treatment you need.

Having health insurance from a young age can also help you protect your long-term health. For example, the United States National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion encourages regular checkups independent of sickness and injury as a means of effective illness prevention.

Such checkups can be easier to access if you have a health insurance plan, especially as an expat.

And, speaking of your expat status, it may be that being an overseas citizen means you are legally required to acquire international health insurance before moving. Some countries may only issue you a visa or a work/residency permit when you provide proof of health insurance.

7 things to look out for when choosing international health insurance

Here are seven vital considerations to factor into your search for international health insurance.

1.     Understand different levels of cover

Not all health insurance plans are the same.

For example, while most plans will likely cover in-patient treatment (if you are admitted to hospital for an overnight stay), you won't always get out-patient coverage (consultations or checkups where you aren't admitted to hospital but visit a clinician at a medical facility) as standard.

Other features and benefits, such as dental cover and support for chronic conditions, may also be available.

Consider the level of cover you need, remembering to think about the long-term, not just the here and now.

2.     Consider co-pay and deductible options

Co-pay – also known as co-insurance – and deductible options can help you keep the cost of your premium low, but what are they?

  • Co-pay is an agreement whereby your insurer will cover a specific percentage of your medical costs, with you responsible for the remaining balance.
  • Your deductible is the amount you pay towards treatment before your insurance coverage kicks in.

With some plans, you may have both co-pay and deductible options.

The critical consideration here is what you could afford if you needed to pay a medical bill. For example, opting for a higher deductible or lower co-pay coverage from your insurer can significantly reduce your premium cost. But could you afford to spend thousands covering a bill if you became sick?

Try to find the sweet spot between an affordable premium that gives you peace of mind with the knowledge you can also afford any out-of-pocket costs you may incur.

3.     Look at your access to medical networks

Having truly comprehensive health coverage means having easy access to a broad range of medical facilities.

When searching out health insurance, ask prospective insurers about the size of their medical networks and about features like direct billing, which means you don't need to pay then claim because the insurer will deal with the medical provider directly.

Other features to look out for include the ability to provide specialist treatment and whether you can undergo consultations in your native language.

4.     The scope of coverage

Some international health plans will only provide cover in your country of residence. Others may offer regional or worldwide coverage or a provision for you to continue receiving treatment in your native country should you need or prefer to return home.

While more comprehensive coverage will come at a higher premium, you may decide it’s worth it in exchange for the peace of mind that you’ll be able to get the treatment you need if required.

5.     Portability

Is your career likely to see you move from one location to another reasonably regularly, whether that's to manage projects in new places or take up roles in different countries?

If so, ensuring your health cover can move with you is vital. Even if you have global coverage, your premium will be primarily driven by medical costs in your country of residence, so check that your health coverage can move with you with little or no impact on your benefits.

6.     Added value benefits

It’s always worth considering added value benefits when looking for health insurance. After all, if you’re fortunate enough to remain fit and healthy, it may be years before you make a claim.

But if your insurer provides added value benefits, like a well-being assistance programme and access to other resources and initiatives, you can avoid feeling like you're paying for something you never use.

Discover the added value benefits you can enjoy with our award-winning WorldCare plans.

7.     Service levels and reputation

Ultimately, none of the above matters if your insurer isn’t there for you when you need them.

Even if you're sitting with what feels like the cheapest quote and the best deal you can get, take some time to check out an insurer's reputation and what others say about their service levels. If you don't, you could end up making an expensive mistake!

Learn what our members are saying about us on TrustPilot and review our Customer Stories to learn more about how we’ll support you.

Get the coverage you need with Now Health International

Our international health insurance plans are benefit rich, packed with features, and can be tailored precisely to your coverage needs and new location as you start your next adventure overseas.

Get a quote now.