Common Mistakes to Avoid when Choosing an International Health Insurance Plan

Common Mistakes to Avoid when Choosing an International Health Insurance Plan

27th February, 2015

There is nothing worse than paying your monthly premiums only to discover that you are not entitled to claim for health treatment when you need to. Unfortunately, this is just one of several problems that are experienced by people that choose the wrong type of international health insurance plan. We don’t want this to happen to you, which is why we have put together this handy guide. Keep on reading to discover some of the most common mistakes to avoid when selecting a global medical insurance policy.

Lying On Your Application

There is only one place to begin and this is with lying on your international medical insurance application. Unfortunately this is something a lot of people do. They think it is a good idea to lie in order to secure lower premiums or to gain access to benefits that they otherwise would not be able to. People often lie about pre-existing medical conditions. However, some people go as far as to lie about their age. This is not advised. Your insurer will find out. After all, they will have access to your medical records. But, let’s say you do manage to conceal the truth for a while, and you find yourself needing medical treatment for a pre-existing condition. When you go to make a claim the insurer will contact the doctor, who will inform your insurer that the treatment they provided was for a pre-existing condition, and therefore the cost will not be covered. You should always be truthful; otherwise you run a huge risk of your policy being invalid.

Choosing The Wrong Cover

When choosing an international health insurance plan you need to sit down and make a list of the benefits you require. Why are you purchasing this plan? Do you want peace of mind that you are going to be covered if an emergency occurs? Or, do you want to receive the best treatment for everything from dental care to well being check-ups? You should really assess every benefit that is offered to you to determine whether this is something that is worth paying for or not. A lot of people are paying for benefits they don’t use, whilst missing out on cover that would actually be helpful.

Failing To Research The Insurer

A lot of people make a big error before it even comes to selecting a health plan. This is because they go for the first insurer they lay their eyes on or the cheapest company they can find. This is definitely not an advisable strategy to take. You need to make sure that the insurance company is credible and that they have a good reputation. There have been many stories of policyholders who have found it impossible to get in touch with their insurer. The company may appear to offer a good deal on the surface, but if they don’t pay-out for claims and you can’t get in touch with them, then the deal is bad no matter how cheap it may be. Instead, you need to read reviews that have been left by previous customers. You should also take a look at the company’s experience and whether they have won any awards in the industry. This is always a good indication of quality.

Choosing An Annual Limit That Is Too Low

This is one of the biggest mistakes policyholders make. They underestimate the costs that can be associated with medical care and treatment. What happens if you are taken ill and the nearest hospital does not offer the treatment you need? The medical costs will then involve the assistance that is given to you at your local hospital, the transport to the specialist hospital and then the cost of treatment at that hospital. It is not hard to see how the costs can easily mount up. If you have chosen a low annual limit you may find yourself facing a medical bill in such a situation. For those who are unaware, the annual limit is essentially the maximum amount an insurer will cover per annum. Once you exceed this you will have to foot the bill yourself.

Failing To Budget Effectively

When purchasing a worldwide health insurance plan you need to assess your finances and select a policy that is right for you. There is quite a lot to take into account. Firstly, you need to make sure the monthly premiums are set at an amount you can comfortably afford. Aside from this, you need to assess the excess of your policy. This is the amount you must pay before the insurer covers your medical bill. Thus, if your excess is set at £200 you will need to pay £200 and then your insurer will cover the rest of the bill. The excess amount may be different depending on the type of treatment you have received, or it may be set per year. It all depends on the type of policy you have. One thing a lot of people do is go for a high excess plan so they can reduce their monthly premiums. However, they make the mistake of setting the excess at an amount that is too high, and they cannot afford to pay it. Because of this, when they actually need treatment they cannot pay the excess amount, which puts them in an unwanted predicament, as their insurer will not cover them.

Not Checking Out The Hospital Network

Last but not least, the final mistake a lot of people make is failing to take a proper look at the network of hospitals and doctors their policy is going to give them access to. One of the main reasons for acquiring global health insurance is to make sure you get access to the best hospitals, facilities and professionals. This is not something you should merely assume. You need to check that it is actually the case. If you are happy with your current doctor you may want to check that they are in your policy’s network. If you are moving abroad or have recently moved, and are unaware of the standard of the medical facilities in your nearby area, research them. You need to be sure you are benefitting from the best level of care.

All in all, if you can avoid the six mistakes that have been mentioned in this post, then you have the best chance of choosing the right international health insurance plan for you. This is not a decision that should be rushed into. Assess the policy and make sure you are fully aware of what you are getting for your money. Your insurer should be willing to give you their expert advice when choosing the right policy for you. From budgeting effectively to assessing the hospital network, succeed where others have gone wrong for ultimate health and financial protection.

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Alison Massey

Group Marketing Director

Now Health International

Alison Massey is a 15-year digital marketing veteran, who has spent the last seven years using social media to help expats and soon to be expats find out what to expect from a life overseas. An expat living in Hong Kong herself, Alison is the Group Marketing Director of Now Health, the award-winning international health insurance provider.

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