In Part I of "Things to consider when choosing an International Health Insurance Plan", we have outlined the following salient points one should consider when choosing an International Health Insurance plan:
- Insurer's Financial Strength,
- Administrator's Track Record,
- Worldwide Assistance, and
- Geographic Coverage.
In this Part II of the Paper, we present four (4) other key points that one should not over look when it comes to selecting an International Health Insurance plan.
Continuation of Coverage
Continuation of coverage should be one of the most important considerations if not the most important consideration when it comes to choosing a health insurance plan. Why? Because of the peccary clause called "Pre-existing condition" found in almost all health insurance contracts. Simply put it, pre-existing conditions are medical conditions that have detected before you purchase the insurance policy.
There are actually two aspects in terms of coverage continuity.
First, you want to look for a health insurance plan that is guaranteed renewable and at each renewal there will be no further medical underwriting (that is no medical question asked). This is important because as we age, we are all going to develop some kind of medical conditions. Therefore, you want to choose a plan that will cover these medical conditions that you have developed over the years just like any other illness. On the same token, it would be wise to stay with the same health insurance plan for as long as you can.
Secondly, continuation of coverage means you should be able to continue with your coverage or with the same insurer when you relocate to another foreign country or back to your home country. Again, the main consideration here is you do not want to have to reapply for a new health insurance policy when you relocate or move back home and you do not want to subject yourself to another medical underwriting and pre-existing condition limitations or exclusions .
Pre-existing Conditions Limitations
The above paragraphs should provide you with a good understanding of the importance of pre-existing conditions in health insurance coverage. You should always declare all pre-existing conditions you have in your insurance application. Why? Because any claim related to undeclared pre-existing condition will be rejected by all insurers and any declared pre-existing conditions if accepted by insurer will be covered, in full or in part, as any other illness.
So be sure you understand what the pre-existing conditions limitations are, if there is any, when choosing an International Health Insurance plan. If you are reliably healthy, then pre-existing conditions limits clause should not be a major concern to you.
Most health insurance plans come with a list of exceptions and if you compare them, they are pretty much the same set of exclusions. In other words, exclusions are quite standard. Why do health insurance plans have exclusions? The answer is simple. Insurance premiums are developed based on averages – average person with average health in the case of health insurance – in order to make sure that you are not paying for any medical condition that you do not have or any medical service that you do not need . The exceptions list helps to keep the premium rate down.
In short, to most people exclusives should not be a major concern in deciding which International Health Insurance plan to choose from.
Deductible & Coinsurance
Deductible and coinsurance are your part of cost sharing in paying medical claims. The higher your cost sharing, the lower your premium rate will be. The ruling factor here is what is your budget for the International Health Insurance plan? And what you can afford to pay or prepare to fork out should a claim arises?
Comparing to all the other factors mentioned here, Deductible & Coinsurance should not be the overwriting factors when it comes to deciding which International Health plan is more suitable for you and your family.
In conclusion, we have presented in this 2-part series of Paper a total of eight points which, in our opinion, are of significant importance when it comes to shopping for International Health Insurance.
To recap, here are the eight points:
1. Insurer's Financial Strength,
2. Administrator's Track Record,
3. Worldwide Assistance, and
4. Geographical Coverage
5. Continuation of Coverage
6. Pre-existing Conditions Limitations
8. Deductible & Coinsurance
It should be pointed out that the above list is not meant to be exhaustive.
Go see the world, but do not leave home without a good International Health Insurance!