Everything you need to know about International Health Insurance Policy Premiums

Everything you need to know about International Health Insurance Policy Premiums

16th January, 2015

When buying an international health insurance plan there is one factor everyone assesses carefully and this is the price of the policy. We all want to make sure we get a good deal when it comes to the monetary side of things. Nevertheless, choosing a health plan simply because it is cheap is not a good idea, as this is likely to indicate a lack of coverage. At the same time, there is no magic formula when working out the amount you should spend on global medical insurance, nor is there a recommended monthly rate. It all depends on what you need from your insurance policy. Keeping that in mind, read on to discover everything you should know regarding international health insurance premiums, from how they are dictated to methods for keeping your rates low.

How do medical insurance companies determine how much to charge for worldwide health insurance?

Let’s begin by revealing why you are charged ‘x’ amount for an international medical insurance policy. How has the insurer in question come to this price? Well, they take a variation of different factors into account. There is certainly not a set price per policy type. Instead, the price you are charged is based on you. The main factor that determines the price you will pay is your age. The older you are, the more you will be charged, as you are seen as someone who is more likely to require health services on a more frequent basis. As a consequence your premiums are set at a higher rate in order to accommodate this.

In addition to this, the number of benefits you elect to have will of course impact the price you pay as well. If you choose a policy with everything from dental care to maternity care you will be charged more than someone who goes for a basic policy with only in-patient cover. Your country of residence as well as your area of cover can also play a role. In regards to the latter, there may be some countries whereby health care is exceptionally expensive. If these locations are covered in your policy it becomes necessary to increase the premiums to reflect the higher prices.

You may also be subject to higher fees if you have any pre-existing conditions and your insurer agrees to provide you with global medical insurance. They will often do this on the basis that you pay a greater sum of money, as you are more likely to require medical assistance. Finally, the amount of excess you pay and the frequency by which you make your payments are influential factors. You will discover a bit more about these when we reveal various ways you can keep your premium costs low later in the post.

Once I have purchased a global medical insurance policy, can my premiums go up?

Unfortunately the answer to this question is yes, however this does not mean that your insurer is simply going to keep raising the price of your policy. They will only do so if they deem necessary and only when your contract with them is due for renewal.

There are a few circumstances that could occur and cause the price of your international health insurance plan to rise. As mentioned earlier, the older you are, the more likely you are to need more regular health treatment which means that as you get older the price will go up.  Many insurers group ages into groups, so for example someone between the ages of 30-34 will not be affected by an age increase but on the renewal of their plan on their 35th birthday, there would be an age band increase.

This is not the only possible reason for a price increase. The state of the healthcare market also pays a key role. If there are changes within the healthcare industry, the insurance sector needs to adapt as a result. Prime examples include the likes of treatments becoming more expensive and an increase in the average wages for doctors and other medical professionals. When such instances occur, it becomes necessary to increase premium rates in order to accommodate the rising prices in the healthcare sector.

I’m struggling to afford the cost of my international medical insurance plan, are there any ways I can keep my premium costs down?

If you are finding it difficult to afford your premiums you should definitely re-evaluate your policy. The last thing you want to do is find yourself in a position whereby you default on your payments and thus miss out on health care cover as a consequence. So let’s take a look at six of the different options you have at your disposal…

  • Increase Your Excess – The excess is the sum of money you need to pay for healthcare treatment before your insurer will cover you. This can either be per medical condition or sometimes per year. The more excess you pay, the lower your premiums become. Nonetheless, make sure the excess amount is one you can afford otherwise you could find yourself missing out on cover altogether.
  • Pay On A Yearly Basis – There are many international health insurance providers that will offer lower rates for those that pay on a yearly basis, as opposed to a monthly or quarterly basis. You may be able to make significant savings by going down this route.
  • Consider Lowering Your Benefits – Re-assess your global medical insurance plan. Do you really need all of the benefits on your policy? Or, are you paying too much for things you don’t require? Let’s say you have optical care included and it’s not really something you’re benefitting from. You could remove this benefit until you find yourself in a position whereby you are able to afford the higher premiums.
  • Increase Your Co-Insurance – A co-insurance is an option found on the majority of worldwide health insurance plans. This is simply the percentage of money you have to pay towards your treatment. For example, if you have a co-insurance of 20% on out-patient care, you will have to pay 20% of the final medical bill and the insurer will pay the remaining 80%. This means the premium will be charged by the insurer will be less than if they had to pay 100% of the cost.
  • Switch Insurer – As the renewal period approaches you may want to look into the possibility of going for a different provider. Assess the various insurance companies worldwide that are available to you. You may be able to locate a virtually identical policy yet at a cheaper rate from a different provider.
  • Look Into A Group Scheme – Last but not least, one of the most effective ways to save money on international health insurance is to enrol in a group scheme. The cost of insurance will decrease by a significant amount for each member of the group. If you cannot join a group scheme, why not look into the possibility of creating one?

All in all, premiums are of course one of the most pivotal factors that must be carefully considered when choosing an international medical insurance plan. You need to ensure the policy is right for you both in terms of benefits and whether you can comfortably afford it. Hopefully this post will have given you all of the information you require to move forward and make a more educated decision regarding policy premiums.

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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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