India is an incredible country with warm welcoming people and all kinds of exciting experiences. But I’ll be honest and say that when I first arrived, I was very pleased my expat health insurance had already been arranged. Despite huge economic growth in the past decade, India is still usually classed as a developing country, and it’s fair to say that the majority of healthcare there reflects this. The average person in India has to pay for their own treatment right down to supplying their own bandages. And there are a huge number of people who have no healthcare provision at all.
In this post, I’ll look at arranging expat health insurance in India in more detail. If you’re moving there soon, you might also find it useful to read more about becoming an expat in our free eBook The New Expat.
Arranging things in advance
If you were to fall ill in India without healthcare, the chances are you would be able to easily afford the provisions of the nearest local hospital. Unfortunately however, the standards of healthcare available probably wouldn’t meet most western expectations, particularly if your need for treatment is serious. I’ve heard of people receiving very good treatment for a handful of rupees, but I’ve also been told of hospitals where the there’s a real shortage of equipment.
Rather than take any risks, arranging expat health insurance in advance will ensure you have provision to be taken to the nearest World Health Organisation-recognised hospital with the appropriate equipment and doctors. This should absolutely be arranged in plenty of time for your arrival.
How to choose expat health insurance in India
Choosing the right international health insurance requires some consideration. Many people are concerned first and foremost with price, but the difference of a few pounds or dollars can make an enormous change to what you’re covered for. When looking for expat health insurance in India, find a policy that offers evacuation and repatriation as standard so you know you can get to a centre of medical excellence if you need it.
Your personal circumstances will also influence what kind of cover you buy. If you’re going somewhere that has no public healthcare provision that you’re happy with, make sure that out-patient treatment is covered. It’s also worth thinking about including extras like dental cover or, if you plan to expand your family, the costs of routine maternity care, as there will almost always be a waiting period before you can access these kinds of benefits.
A final thought
Sadly not all healthcare insurance companies are created equal, and when shopping around, pay attention to how you are likely to be treated once you become a customer – especially with regard to how to claim, the available out-patient medical provider network and how quickly claims will be settled if you’ve had to pay up-front . Health insurers are unlikely to advertise if they’re the kind to drag their feet or create problems for claimants, so the best way to do this is ask around. If you’re being posted to India for business, ask your company (who might provide you healthcare in any case), or if you’re going it alone try and find out from other travellers. Internet forums and your own social networks are a good place to get information.
For more on making the move abroad, don’t forget to download our free eBook The New Expat which covers medical considerations, family matters, accommodation issues, financial arrangements and much more.
If you have any questions or thoughts on the points covered in this post, please leave a comment below or connect with me @now_health on Twitter.
Image by: Gіacomo