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How You Can Successfully Get Health Coverage While Staying Abroad

Staying abroad comes with meticulous preparations and requires availability of funds. One of the most important things to put into consideration before moving abroad is your health insurance. This should be sorted out before traveling as your current health insurance plan in your home country might not cover you or be effective abroad. We have outlined 3 important steps to enable you get health coverage while living abroad.

1. Keep Your Existing Health Coverage

Sometimes, your health insurance plan in your country of origin may cover your health insurance abroad, but it will incur an extra expense for being out-of-network or a limit to what can be taken care of by the insurance will be stipulated (for instance, only cases of emergencies will be covered). Some government health plans do not cover the oversea cost. If such is the case, you should consider going back to your home country as a viable option to avoid incurring extra expenses.

You might be required to pay in advance and get reimbursed when you return to the country if your primary insurance plan will cover you while staying overseas. You will need to ascertain the price of certain packages in your current destination, for example, doctor visits, therapies, or medications you may use daily. It may be more or less than you are used to. Also, check if the insurance plan covers services through international travel assistance such as 24-hour toll-free assistance for emergencies or pre-payment or prior approval for treatment, which can be required in some countries. Otherwise, it will be advisable to get your own travel assistance insurance plan.

2. Purchase Individual Travel/Health Coverage

Most times, travel insurance plans can adequately cover health insurance while traveling outside your country of origin for a short period of time. In simpler terms, the services covered in travel insurance include:

  • Medical treatment in cases such as accident or illness
  • Referrals to hospitals and pharmacies worldwide
  • Medication information about your new country
  • Family visitations in the hospital in case of emergency

The health insurance being presented is normally a supplementary coverage to your already existing medical insurance plan. However, in some instances where there is no pre-existing medical insurance, a participant can use it as the only health insurance while staying overseas.

Pay rapt attention to what is covered in your plan.

If the supplementary plans present minimal coverage, you can search for health plans that are well suited for people who work and live abroad as it might cover a broader range compared to what you have now.

3. Qualify For Health Plans In Your New Country

Foreign students who directly enroll in a host university in their destination possess a better chance of qualifying for health services received by local students of that country. The requirements may vary based on the kind of treatment that is to be carried out. Students who have disabilities are advised to find out if they will need additional coverage, for example a Pre-existing Condition Coverage.

Your university health plans must be in accordance with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) regardless of your citizenship, once you are a student to the U.S. In the same vein, for foreign visa holders, there are certain conditions for insurance coverage and repatriation that must meet the ACA requirement for essential health benefits, such as:

  • Ambulatory patient services
  • Emergency services
  • Hospitalization
  • Maternity and newborn care
  • Mental health and the use of substances disorder services, which also includes behavioral health treatment
  • Prescription drugs
  • Rehabilitative and habilitating services and devices
  • Laboratory services
  • Preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management
  • Pediatric services, including oral and vision care

Foreigners legally coming to the United States can get access to the Individual Health Insurance Marketplace. It possesses ACA regulated plans and patient protections such as non-discrimination for pre-existing conditions and the basic essential health benefits.

You are advised to make proper research and speak with your insurance advisor on your insurance coverage abroad before travelling overseas.

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