An Expat Guide: Short Term vs Long Term Healthcare Insurance

Contributed by Expatriate Healthcare, 16 August, 2017

Heading overseas can have any expats' head in a spin when it comes to health insurance policies. There seems to be a bottomless pit of different healthcare plans offering varying degrees of cover, perks and benefits. Save yourself a headache when choosing your overseas healthcare insurance by answering two simple questions:

How Long Will You Be Abroad?

Those who are heading abroad for over a year would be more suited to a long term healthcare policy. These plans are annually renewable, which means you can extend the period of your healthcare protection if you plan on remaining overseas for a further year.

If you have more of a solid plan in place and know the exact period of time you will be away for, a short term healthcare plan will be ideal. These are a one-off payment and often utilised by business and pleasure travellers, volunteers, and students on semesters abroad.

What Level of Cover is Best For You?

Another aspect of healthcare insurance policies that will likely affect your decision is based upon your own health. If you require general coverage, such as the occasional visit to the doctor, short term health insurance would be a great decision.

However, if you have a pre-existing condition, plan on conceiving, are currently pregnant, or simply require a more comprehensive package, investing in a long term healthcare plan would be best for you.

Short Term Healthcare Insurance

Short term policies can cover periods of up to one year and, unlike long term plans, you can select the exact period of time you require protection. This allows for greater flexibility as, if you do end up lengthening your trip, you can purchase another short term policy and not be tied into a long term healthcare plan.

Who Suits Short Term Plans?

Anybody who has an idea of how long they are going to be abroad for would benefit from a short term healthcare policy. Workers on secondments and students studying abroad for a term or two often opt for this service. It is also suited to business jetsetters and travellers who will be voyaging the globe for under a year.

Furthermore, many expats who are staying abroad indefinitely use a short term plan to bridge the gap whilst waiting for an employer to finalise long term coverage.

What Does Short Term Healthcare Cover?

If you are pregnant, plan on becoming pregnant, or live with a pre-existing condition, a short term policy will not cover your medical expenses abroad. Any illness or injury acquired overseas, no matter the severity, will be covered. This includes both doctor and hospital visits and any prescriptions administered.

How Do I Pay for My Policy?

Short term policies are settled with a one-off payment. They are often considered more affordable than long term insurance plans. Policy holders should remember short term plans are not renewable.

Long Term Healthcare Insurance

Comprehensive and annually renewable, long term healthcare insurance policies cover individuals who are abroad for periods over 12 months. Each year, the customer will receive a renewal notice and they can select to continue the plan. Some expats end up utilising the same insurance policy for years and years. Although more expensive than short term healthcare plans, they often have additional benefits and perks.

Who Suits Long Term Plans?

Anybody requiring healthcare protection for a minimum of one year can purchase a long term plan. Expats are a key market who purchase these plans, as well as international students who want to keep the same insurance plan throughout their three or four years studying abroad.

Long term healthcare insurance also covers individuals with pre-existing medical conditions, those who are pregnant, and those who conceive whilst abroad and need prenatal treatment.

What Does Long Term Healthcare Cover?

Long term healthcare insurance policies are fully comprehensive, which is what you expect from a more expensive premium. In simplistic terms, you name it, a long term healthcare policy will cover it. Whether you require preventative care, mental-health treatment or pre-existing condition help, you will be protected. Although no insurance plan can cover every single visit or treatment, long term solutions undeniably give the most complete level of protection and help.

How Do I Pay for My Policy?

The way in which you pay for your long term health insurance policy will depend on your provider. Premium payments are often flexible, giving customers the choice to pay annually, semi-annually, quarterly, or monthly. Sometimes, insurance companies offer a discount if you pay for the year up front.

Tags: business | Healthcare | Work | Expats | Healthcare | individuals | Insurance | insurance |



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