Is your Health Plan Portable if you Move?

Is your Health Plan Portable if you Move?

6th March, 2015

Nowadays an increasing number of people are moving from country to country. The community has become increasingly mobile for a number of different reasons. People are now a lot more open to the thought of moving overseas and trying something new. Nonetheless a lot of the moving represents people and businesses adapting to the flourishing economies in some countries and the faltering economics in other areas.

However, irrespective of why you are moving country, one thing that everyone has to take into consideration is international medical insurance. It doesn’t matter where you are going or what you are planning to do there, health care is something that affects everyone and portable insurance is one of the most pivotal factors in the current day and age.

Unfortunately health care is also something that is becoming a lot more difficult to understand and manage. New and more stringent legislations are cropping up all of the time, which is making the overall picture a bit cloudy.

Don’t Simply Assume You’re Covered

You undoubtedly want to make sure you are covered if you move. If you have a global medical insurance already, don’t make the mistake of thinking that your plan covers you everywhere. There are some plans that may have limited or no cover in certain countries. Because of this, it becomes imperative to assess your cover before you move. The last thing you want to do is find yourself without insurance and facing a huge medical bill.

Choose An International Health Insurance Policy

The first thing you need to do is actually make sure you have the correct health plan in place to begin with. What sort of cover do you have at present? Generally speaking, health insurance can be split up into three different offerings – local policies, travel insurance and global medical insurance. It is imperative that you opt for the latter option if you are travelling or moving abroad.

Your local policy certainly will not cover you. After all, it is only designed for use in the place in which you have taken out the policy. Travel plans can represent a bit of a grey area for a lot of people. Because they offer coverage abroad, many individuals think that they are sufficient enough for expats. However this is certainly not the case. Travel plans are trip specific. Moreover, the level of cover is very low, as are the benefit amounts. This type of policy is not suited to anyone that is moving abroad or travelling from country to country on a regular basis.

Instead, you will need an international health insurance plan. These plans are designed for global coverage. They were created with expats in mind. Taking care to note if there are any restrictions to your cover in certain areas of the world such as the USA , you will get access to health care in a huge number of different countries, meaning you can reap the benefits of the best facilities, doctors and hospitals. Of course when you are choosing a plan you will need to make sure that it covers your medical expenses in your new country, as well as any other destinations you are likely to visit regularly.

Portable Plans Are Vital Due To Changing Expat Profile

This is only the start of the different aspects you have to think about. Portable plans are vital because the expat profile has changed. Since the global economic slowdown there has been a big movement in the expat population, with a lot of people moving to the East from the West. This has highlighted just how important it is for portable insurance to be in place. Insurers have to think fast to adapt to these changing conditions. Because of this, expats can also be met with a lot of hurdles along the way.

Another way in which the expat profile has changed is because there are fewer opportunities to take postings overseas on a long-term basis with large salaries and lots of perks. Instead, most people seem to be taking short-term assignments, which do not last any longer than 34 months. This further highlights why it is so vital to have a portable health insurance plan in place.

Changing Regulations Lead To Portability Hurdles

One of the main issues is that a lot of countries are now changing their regulations in regards to expats and health insurance. The likes of Dubai and China have put down stringent levels of mandatory health cover for all expats. Because of this, some expats now have to make sure they purchase a health insurance plan that is provided by a local company or is offered by an international insurer that has local ties.

Suitable Plans For Moving Abroad For Retirement

As touched upon earlier, one of the most vital things you need to do is make sure you have the right international health insurance plan in place to start with. This is especially vital for those that are planning to move abroad at retirement age. The older you are the more difficult it becomes to take out a plan or indeed transfer your existing one. This is because you are considered a higher risk. After the age of 60, private global medical insurance tends to become very costly, and this can price people out of the market.

All of this comes together to highlight the importance of making sure you have a portable plan from day one. You can go for a big provider, that has domestic networks, or you can opt for a smaller provider that has ties with local insurers. It does not matter, so long as the company is able to provide a seamless transfer if you do intend to relocate to another country in the future.

When you take into account all of the points that have been mentioned in this post, it is not difficult to see why you need to determine whether you health plan is portable or not. The sooner you do this the better. You may not intend to move abroad in the immediate future, but if you do not have a portable plan now you are essentially putting further hurdles in your way later down the line. If you are unsure about the ins and outs of your policy, or what would happen if you were to relocate, don’t hesitate to give your insurer a call and ask.

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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.

Contact Alison Massey

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