Continued from Getting Expat Health Insurance – Part 1…
There are additional considerations when choosing an insurance provider for your expat health care plan. These depend on your lifestyle habits, whether you do sports, and what type of transportation you use. Another factor to consider is whether you plan to visit certain countries like the US or Canada on a regular basis.
When you are shopping plans, here are some things you want to see in a good plan for expatriates:
Covers motorcycle accidents to some extent
Read the fine print especially if you plan to ride a motorcycle. They can be very finicky about covering motorbike accidents, such as not covering motorcycles with engines larger than 150cc or 200cc. They could also wriggle out of paying your claim if alcohol is a factor or when you’re found driving without a valid international driver’s permit. There are lots of “exceptions” when dealing with motorcycle accidents. Caveat emptor.
Side note: World Nomad does not cover motorbike accidents.
Another side note: If you plan on operating a vehicle outside of the country you are licensed in, get an international driver’s permit, which is usually valid for one year per issue. Getting one is fast, easy, and inexpensive.
Counts as preventative and “creditable” insurance
This is important if you come back to the US and sign up with an Obamacare recognized insurer. They will get the creditable letter from your international insurer. Just be sure to get an electronic copy of an official letter saying your international plan is creditable, and hold on to it – just in case. World Nomad is not a “creditable” insurance provider.
This is only important if you intend to repatriate back into the US in the future.
Includes optional adventure sports and terrorism riders
It’s up to you whether you want to take on the risk of doing adventure sports like mountain climbing or surfing, and whether you’ll pay out of pocket if you injure yourself. The problem here is that adventure sports riders are only available on the upper tier plans like gold and platinum. Disclosure: I personally opted to not get a sports rider. If I ever decide to try mountain climbing, I can always tack a sports rider on.
I cannot comment much on terrorism riders because I personally haven’t looked into it. Personally, I’m not really worried about terrorism. Statistically, I have a much higher chance of getting run over by a bus than becoming a terrorism statistic. But if you’re worried about terrorism, they do offer coverage for it on the higher end plans.
Includes optional coverage in the US
You can save a little money by excluding US coverage. However, if you plan on visiting the US at least once a year, you might want to pay a little extra so you have coverage during your US visits. This is also true for other Western countries like Canada, UK, Australia, etc.
I find that the cost of comprehensive plans with IMG isn’t that much more than the cost of a World Nomad plan, which seems to be quite popular with travelers and some expats. Cigna is a little more expensive than these two. I went the former because that provider is more reputable and I get more value for my premiums.
But — and this is a BIG but — the true test of insurance is when you actually file a claim. I have not yet filed a claim with any of the above providers, so I can’t say how good they are with response times and reimbursing claims.
What I did was to run the numbers, compared plans against each other, and picked a plan I liked best. I bought that plan online, set up my account on their online portal, and printed out my new insurance card. Then I laminated my new card at a local Office Depot store and put it in my wallet. The hardest part is doing the research and comparing plans. Once you pick a plan, the rest is easy. Do keep in mind some plans don’t let you sign up more than a month in advance.
To be continued… Go to Part 3