Before you set out on your journey towards becoming an expat you have to sort out a lot of bureaucratic issues. Chief among them is getting set up with your health insurance. In many of the countries where you may end up, public healthcare plans are for citizens or permanent residents. While you are waiting to become either of those, you have to be covered on your own.
The problem is that many people get confused about the different kinds of insurance and end up getting a policy that doesn’t properly cover them. Mainly they are confused about the differences between international health insurance and travel insurance.
They are quite different and your destination country may have some strict rules about your coverage so you have to understand which one is best before you go. In this article, I will go over what those differences are.
What is international insurance?
International health insurance is simply an insurance policy by global health insurance companies that cover you while you are out of your home country. When you need insurance for an extended period of time then this is usually what you will be looking for.
If you do plan to get on a public scheme at some point then it depends on how long a period you would have to be without insurance as to which policy is best for you and if you even really need international insurance.
Most plans will cover you for:
- Hospital stays – If you need emergency treatment or have an operation that is required then you will usually be covered under most policies.
- Doctor visits – Just like when you have insurance in your home country you will be covered when you have routine checkups or any other visit to your doctor.
- Chronic conditions – Even with pre-existing conditions you are usually covered. If you have an autoimmune disease, for instance, that requires regular treatment then this would normally be covered.
If any of these scenarios seems likely and you would normally be without insurance for longer than the allowed time in another country then this is the right type of insurance for you.
What is travel insurance?
Travel insurance is a lot more specific to your actual travel and not something for your overall health. For instance, it mainly focuses on any travel related emergencies. If your flight is canceled or your luggage is lost are common occurrences that are covered by your travel insurance.
It can also cover you if you have an accident or get ill and need emergency treatment but that is much different than health care types of insurance that aim to keep you healthy and not just treat an emergency. Many travel insurance policies will also cover getting you out of a country due to an emergency like an accident if the healthcare is not good in the country where the accident happened.
In other words, these are short term solutions for when you are on the road and shouldn’t be a substitute for health insurance long term.
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