Good Neighbor Insurance (GNI) provides international expatriate health insurance for those moving overseas or living internationally for 12 months or longer. We specialize in expat insurance for individuals and families moving abroad for work, social good projects, missions, entrepreneurship, choosing to live abroad, digital nomads, or retirement. We provide insurance solutions of all ages and nearly every destination.
We offer expatriate health insurance in addition to international term life insurance, travel insurance (for those going abroad less than 365 days), group team insurance, international employer group insurance, and nomad insurance.
We feel these “understanding your expat insurance” videos will provide you valuable information. However, our international insurance agents are here anytime you want to connect with them via email (firstname.lastname@example.org), phone (1-480-813-9100), or live chat (gninsurance.com) for more detailed information on your expat medical insurance.
- Understanding how pre-certification works on your expat medical insurance
- Understanding how underwriting works on your expat medical insurance
- Understanding eligible medical expenses on your expat health insurance policy
Ask Doug – Understanding how pre-certification works on your expat medical insurance
The phone rings at our office here in Gilbert, Arizona “Help me understand what pre-certification means on our expatriate insurance,” says Jim, one of our clients who is currently residing in Brazil with his family.
Ask Doug – about expat medical insurance is a series of videos providing information on how to use your expatriate insurance best for you and your family – https://www.gninsurance.com/health. Most expatriate insurance plans require you to pre-certify certain medical treatments. This video will go over important information regarding pre-certification.
- Not all plans require the same pre-certification.
- When in doubt is always best to call the international insurance carrier.
- On your insurance ID cards, you will find the 24-Hour contact information for your insurance carrier.
Jim, before we continue, let me share a typical definition of pre-certification from one of our international insurance companies plans –
- Pre-certification; Pre-certify: A general determination of medical necessity only, made by the company in reliance and based upon the completeness and accuracy of the information provided by the insured person and / or the insured person’s healthcare or medical service providers, guardians, relatives and / or proxies at the time thereof.
- Pre-certification is not an assurance, authorization, pre-authorization or verification of coverage, a verification of benefits, or a guarantee of payment.
Jim, on international insurance plans, https://www.gninsurance.com/health, pre-certification is done by you, the policyholder.
- Here in the U.S. the pre-certification on ACA (Affordable Care Act) plans for U.S. residents are done by your medical doctor and their staff automatically without you knowing about it.
- This is one of the many reasons a U.S. medical insurance for U.S. residents are a bit higher in premium than an expatriate medical insurance policy.
- Typically, the most common medical treatments that must be pre-certified are:
- Inpatient treatment if you must be admitted to the hospital.
- Surgery or Surgical procedures
- MRI’s, CAT, or PET scans
- For most expatriate insurance plans, emergency pre-certification is required between 2 & 5 days prior the need.
- If you are not physically able to call the international insurance company, typically a provider, family member or friend may call on your behalf.
- If you fail to pre-certify, your international medical insurance benefits may be reduced between 30% – 50%, depending on the international insurance carrier.
We wish you, Jim and your family, an amazing, safe, and spectacular expat journey in Brazil.
Understanding how underwriting works on your expat medical insurance
Megan called into our Good Neighbor Insurance international brokerage office (https://www.gninsurance.com) this past week here in Gilbert, Arizona.
She, and her husband Tyler with their three children, are heading over to Portugal to work with one of the leading social good foundations. Their home base will be right outside of Lisbon, the capital of Portugal.
Megan wanted to know all about expat medical insurance options for her family of five and how the underwriting process works, since this was their first time living as expatriates.
Ask Doug – about expat medical insurance is a series of videos providing information on how to use your expatriate insurance best for you and your family. This video will go over important information regarding the process of underwriting on an expatriate insurance.
Long-term comprehensive international medical insurance, also called expatriate medical insurance – https://www.gninsurance.com/health, applications require full medical underwriting. Medical underwriting is the process which the international insurance company reviews the medical history of the applicant to determine whether the international insurance company will be able to offer medical coverage. International medical insurance companies have underwriters who will take your application and go through the underwriting process.
A side note – here is a definition of an insurance underwriter from Investopedia – “Insurance underwriters are professionals who evaluate and analyze the risks involved in insuring people and assets. Insurance underwriters establish pricing for accepted insurable risks. The term underwriting means receiving remuneration for the willingness to pay a potential risk.” – https://www.investopedia.com/terms/i/insurance-underwriter.asp#:~:text=Insurance%20underwriters%20are%20professionals%20who,to%20pay%20a%20potential%20risk.
Megan, here are some additional things to consider when it comes to underwriting your expat insurance application.
- Depending on the insurance company, underwriters may exclude a specific medical condition or ask for additional premium to cover the medical conditions on your application.
- If you are currently having or recently had medical challenges, underwriting may ask for medical records.
- If there are no medical challenges and everyone is healthy, underwriting may take as little as one to three business days to complete.
- If medical records are required, underwriting may take up to 10 to 14 business days.
- For most international insurance companies, applicants over the age of 55 will be asked to submit their most recent physical records to the underwriters.
We wish you, Megan and your family, an amazing, safe, and spectacular expat journey in Portugal.
Ask Doug – Understanding eligible medical expenses on your expat health insurance policy
The phone rings at our office here in Gilbert, Arizona “Please help me understand what is medically covered on our expatriate insurance policy,” asks Sarah, one of our clients who has traveled over to Thailand a couple times this past year with her family. In a couple months Sarah and her husband and their four children will be expatriates residing in Thailand for at least the next 10 years and are investing in a more long-term international insurance policy, what are also called expat insurance policies – https://www.gninsurance.com/health.
Ask Doug – about expat medical insurance is a series of videos providing information on how to use your expatriate insurance best for you and your family. This video will help explain how to know what an “eligible medical expense” is, and how to find out what is covered on your international expat health insurance policy – https://www.gninsurance.com/resources/ask-doug.
Sarah, that is a great question!
- Every international medical insurance policy is different.
- Not all expat medical insurance options are created equal!
Your investment of an expatriate medical insurance policy will be based on your medical insurance priorities for your family while as an expatriate such as
- Coverage throughout the world to include the U.S. or coverage throughout the world to exclude the U.S.
- Lower premiums which mean lower medical benefits or a robust expatriate medical insurance policy with a higher investment dollar amount.
All expat medical insurance policies will have a Summary of Benefits included in the full certificate of coverage. It is important to review this summary of benefits for a better understanding of what is considered an eligible medical expense on your international insurance plan.
Sarah, here are a few other key points to consider when looking for the best expatriate medical insurance option for your family. Some medical benefits may have a monetary limit, an additional deductible, or not covered out-of-network even if it is an eligible medical expense.
Some eligible medical expenses may require a waiting period before your policy covers the certain benefit.
- Common expenses that may have waiting periods, if included in your coverage, we be:
- Wellness or preventative medicine
- Pre-existing medical conditions
It is also important to know what is not covered on your expat insurance policy.
- Your international medical insurance certificate will also have a list of exclusions. Common exclusions on international expat insurance plans will be:
- Hazardous activities, including adventure sports
- Maternity on the more expatriate medical insurance budget-friendly plans
- Elective surgery or medically unnecessary surgery
- Non-disclosed medical pre-existing conditions
Since expatriate medical insurance are for those residing outside one’s home country, such as a U.S. citizen residing outside the U.S., these international policies do not have to follow U.S. Affordable Care Act (ACA) rules and regulations. ACA rules are for U.S. residents needing long term robust U.S. medical insurance.
All expat insurance policies will have a Summary of Benefits included in the full medical certificate of coverage. It is important to review this summary to know the limitations of this coverage of your expatriate medical insurance.
We wish you and your family Sarah, an amazing, safe, and spectacular expat journey in Thailand!