About the Resource Library
This international health insurance FAQs page contains dozens of short articles that will help you quickly understand international insurance. For example, “What does it cost to be uninsured?” “Why insurance is important” etc. Click on a subject from the topics below.
List of Articles
- Applying for international health insurance online
- Automatic credit card deductions
- Avoid being declined for health insurance
- Before you go – a travel medical checklist
- Choosing a health insurance plan – What to look for
- DON’T COUNT ON ALWAYS BEING HEALTHY! (Importance of International Health Insurance)
- Good health is more important than good health insurance
- Having “no insurance” isn’t free – What it costs to be uninsured
- Health Insurance for Frequent Travelers
- How Does Medical Evacuation Work?
- Low deductible vs high deductible. What’s best?
- Medical evacuation – How much coverage do we need?
- Paying for medical care received inside/outside the USA
- Please read your policy
- Survey: Why Americans want international health coverage
- The difference between an insurance agent and a broker
- The difference between gambling and insurance
- Trip cancellation & Travel insurance – What’s the difference?
- Trip cancellation and medical insurance in one package
- When is the best time to get health insurance?
- When should I submit my insurance application?
- Why Is Insurance Important?
- Why use a broker for international insurance? How much does it cost?
Applying for international health insurance online
Ninety percent of the plans offered by Good Neighbor Insurance can now be purchased online.
Below are a few things to be aware of when applying online:
- Do not apply online if you are not sure what you are getting. Study the health insurance plan you are purchasing, especially the benefit page and the exclusion page. If you cannot find an exclusion page on the web site, do not purchase online.
- Before you purchase online, check to see if there is a telephone number for an agent somewhere on the site. Write the number down and have it handy if you run into a problem. Be sure to also record the web site address so you can find it again if necessary. As a general rule, the larger your investment the more careful you want to be when purchasing international health insurance online.
- What are the advantages with an online purchase? First, it is often quicker. Second, in most cases, you receive an immediate confirmation of coverage. Generally, an online purchase for short-term health insurance can speed up delivery of your medical ID cards and policy by two-three days. Third, an important advantage is that you can apply while outside the USA, away from contact with an agent or insurance personnel. You can purchase via a friend’s computer or in a computer kiosk and at any time. So applying online and knowing how to apply online for international short-term health insurance gives you much flexibility.
Automatic credit card deductions
Most insurance companies are seeking to cut their administrative costs.
One way they do that is by encouraging automatic credit card deductions for your premium payments. Very few international companies will bill a client on a monthly basis or permit a monthly payment to be sent in. And if they do, the insurance is generally more expensive.
One of the major benefits of the credit card deduction is it insures that your policy will not lapse. As an insurance broker, I have seen this happen several times where a good client, because of a busy schedule or forgetfulness, failed to mail in the monthly premium. In one case, my client had to wait almost two years to find someone to insure her.
So the automatic credit card deduction is your “insurance” against losing your insurance. When applying for long-term (career) health insurance, ask about this option.
Avoid being declined for health insurance
“Have you ever been declined when applying for health insurance?”
Many insurance applications ask: Have you ever been declined when applying for health insurance? It is good to avoid being declined so that you will never have to say “Yes” to that question. The best way to avoid a declination is to “Pre-qualify.” Good Neighbor Insurance provides an electronic “Pre-qualifying Medical Questionnaire” that you can fill out and return to us. We then run this by the various insurance companies to see how they will handle your application. If one company says that you might or would probably be declined if you applied, you can avoid applying for insurance with that company and thus avoid being declined for health insurance.
It is always best to fill out the “Pre-qualifying Medical Questionnaire” for it aids us in giving you appropriate advice about what plans will give you the best coverage. If you are interested in seeing if you qualify for career health insurance plans, let us know. Of course, you never have to pre-qualify for short-term plans. They are “guaranteed issue” plans that ask no medical questions. You are automatically covered once you submit your application to the insurance company.
Before you go – A travel medical checklist
Use A Checklist
Some countries require that you be insured before you apply for a visa. In cases like this getting international medical insurance is not an option. You will not get a visa for your destination without proper health insurance.
Determine what special immunizations may also be needed for your target destination. Often you can find this information on the web; for example, at www.cdc.gov or www.who.int.
We have created what we think is one of the best all-around travel medical checklists anywhere! It is part of our free Travel Medical Guide, but you can also download it by itself to print out and use before each trip.
If you are suffering from a chronic or pre-existing condition, it would be good for you to have a short medical history on hand. If you can, keep prescriptions in original packaging. A letter from your doctor stating that you need certain medications would be a great help in getting through customs if you run into a problem. Did you know that nearly half of all visitors to developing countries get sick during their stays? So go prepared! I always take a small packet of first-aid items: salve for infections, aspirins, lozenges and band-aids. Divide your prescriptions between two bags so that you will always have some of your medications. Make sure you have adequate prescriptions for your trip, and also know the generic equivalent in case you need to purchase some while on your trip.
Choosing a health insurance plan
What to look for
- You want to make sure it is really “health insurance” and not a “caring” or “sharing” plan. These plans have worked for some, but many participants have been disillusioned.
- Check out the A.A. Best Rating for the company that underwrites the plan. This is not hard to obtain. An A+ rating is good, but a B+ is often acceptable for health insurance companies.
- Check out the company administering the plan. These companies are called “Third Party Administrators” (TPAs). Some TPAs that have been around for a while and have grown large give poor service, while younger and smaller TPAs give good service. So don’t turn a TPA down just
because it is small.
- Read the plan carefully to make sure the benefits match your needs, e.g., does the plan have maternity, medical evacuation, preventive care, etc? What is the policy regarding pre-existing conditions? Do they rider/waiver them or give limited coverage?
- Have their annual price increases been reasonable? At the present time “reasonable” would be somewhere in the 8 percent to 15 percent range.
- Do they offer the deductible you desire? Remember, the most cost-effective deductible is generally $1,000.
- How do they handle co-insurance? Do you pay co-insurance overseas or only in the USA?
- What is excluded from coverage? All insurance brochures have an “exclusion” section. Read that section carefully. Remember this key proverb when purchasing health insurance: THE LARGE PRINT GIVETH AND THE SMALL PRINT TAKETH AWAY!
- How good is the company at paying claims? Ask your broker this question. If he has represented the company for a year, he will have a pretty good idea of the speed with which claims are paid. Remember, the bottom line is that insurance is only as good as the claims-paying ability of the company.
- Finally, it is best to work through a broker who represents several companies. An agent technically represents just one company. If so, he only puts bread on his table if he sells you his product. A broker is different. He helps you search for a policy that will work for you, and is not dependent on selling you a specific plan. The good news is that Good Neighbor Insurance is a brokerage that represents seven major international health insurance companies. Thus we have a wide array of health plans from which you may chose.
DON’T COUNT ON ALWAYS BEING HEALTHY! (Importance of International Health Insurance)
Pre-existing conditions Can Make Getting Insurance Difficult
International health insurance is not important at all if you are well!! Healthy!!! And won’t get sick!!! But you work overseas. What if you come down with a rare sickness? Or develop a chronic illness? Then what? You will find that there is no insurance company that will cover you on an individual plan if that happens. But you might say, “I am healthy. It will never happen to me!” If you read the e-mails that we receive from people living all over the world who have no insurance and have contracted a serious illness, you would not say that. It is amazing how some people who have been perfectly healthy all their lives are suddenly hit with a serious illness. They write to us hoping we can find some insurance for them. It is next to impossible to find insurance for a person who presently has cancer, had a recent heart attack, has become a diabetic, etc. Insurance companies won’t cover individuals with such serious preexisting conditions.
Don’t count on always being healthy! If you can’t afford a “Cadillac” insurance plan, than buy a “Chevrolet” plan. Purchase a plan with a high deductible. But please do buy some kind of insurance! Don’t count on always being healthy!!!!
Good health is more important than good health insurance
Healthy Life-style Means Good Health and Lower Health Insurance Rates
I’ve always tried following a healthy life-style, but on January 1, 1998, I made a serious resolution to really focus on my health for that year. What did I do? I lost some weight, became consistent in my exercise program, started taking some anti-oxidants, got a complete medical and dental check-up, started learning a bit about naturopathic medicine and organically grown foods, applied for a better health insurance policy, and took out Long Term Care insurance.
Our most valuable asset is our health, and we are the real experts on our body. There are many things we can do to improve this “temple” that we live in. We all know that smoking, drugs, drinking, and over-eating are detrimental to good health. Why not give ourselves a Christmas gift every day by dealing with those problems?
On the positive side we know that exercise is a plus. Many books and articles tell us that taking anti-oxidants is helpful. Since childhood we have had the importance of a balanced diet drilled into our heads. What about alternative medicine? Dr. Andrew Weil of the University of Arizona publishes a regular bulletin called “Self-Healing.” Interested in how to subscribe? Write me. Then there is the matter of natural foods grown organically. In many places our fruits and vegetables are permeated with insecticides, etc. I know that in Indonesia, where I worked for over 30 years, chemicals that were banned in the USA were readily available for all farmers to use.
Good health insurance is certainly important to have, but good health is even more important. Start today getting your body healthy by focusing on healthy living for the rest of your life.
Having “no insurance” isn’t free – What it costs to be uninsured
What it costs to be uninsured?
Consequence of not being insured
One study concluded that the uninsured are three times likelier to die earlier than those insured. The study, by the Center for Health Policy at Georgetown University, involved 592,598 hospitalized people nationwide in 1987. It concluded, “. . . in 13 of 16 patient groups matched for age, sex, and race, researchers found the uninsured were sicker when they arrived at the hospital, as evidenced by their 44 percent to 124 percent greater likelihood of dying at that time.”
Even more startling was the finding that the uninsured were “. . . 29 percent to 75 percent less likely to undergo each of five medical procedures that were costly or that allowed a wide degree of discretion in deciding whether they were needed.” Doctors and hospitals hesitate to perform expensive tests or procedures if the patient can’t pay.
It is definitely “healthy”‘ to have health insurance. No one wants to find himself or herself in a hospital unable to receive the treatment necessary because they do not have an insurance policy or because their current policy has numerous exclusions.
Health Insurance for Frequent Travelers
There is now health insurance for frequent travelers!
Instead of filling out a short-term insurance application for every trip outside the USA, you can now apply for one plan that will cover multiple trips. For a USA citizen the rate is $240 a year plus $110 for a spouse and up to two dependents. This plan offers $1,000,000 in medical protection, medical evacuation, trip cancellation, $25,000 Accidental Death and Dismemberment, emergency dental, emergency reunion, and repatriation of mortal remains. Like all plans of this type, pre-existing conditions are not covered. If you are interested in this type of plan, please contact Good Neighbor Insurance.p us involved in overseas work. I felt that they had a “right” to expect us to use part of their financial support to purchase international health insurance.
How Does Medical Evacuation Work?
The goal of medical evacuation is to save a patient’s life and/or limit the extent of an injury.
If the patient’s condition is stable and not at risk from flying, insurance companies will fly him to the nearest adequate medical facility. For example, if he is in Cambodia they would fly him to Bangkok, if in West Africa, to France. Once stabilized, if needed, they will fly him to his home country.
International health insurance companies provide insurance coverage for people all over the world. No insurance company is large enough to have their own fleet of planes available in every country. Instead, they have contact with medical evacuation companies and planes worldwide and can quickly sub-contract a plane for a medical evacuation.
Many international insurance companies have divisions within their company that handle medical evacuation 24/7 for clients. One company GNI works with has 10 nurses and 1 Medical Officer (doctor) in their medical evacuation division.
Depending on the physical location of the patient medical evacuation can happen quickly, often within 2 to 3 hours. Here is the general procedure:
- The insurance company is contacted concerning a needed medical evacuation.
- The Medical Evacuation Division in the company makes a quick and complete evaluation of the illness or injury. This is generally done in consultation with a physician that works with the insurance company and medical personnel that are on the ground stabilizing the patient.
- Evaluation of the physical/geographic location of the patient, e.g., nearest airport and nearest adequate medical facilities, is considered.
- The patient is evacuated to the nearest adequate medical facility, and if necessary, once stabilized, evacuated back to his or her home country.
- If the medical condition is not overly serious, they will use a common carrier for the evacuation, often sending along medical personnel to assist the patient in flight. If very serious, they will charter a plan from a medical evacuation company in the region.
Low deductible vs high deductible.
People generally choose a deductible based on their ability to meet that deductible. If you have no problem finding $5,000 to pay the deductible in the case of a major catastrophe, then a $5,000 deductible is a good option. If you think you could only find $1,000 in a crisis, then $1,000 would be a reasonable deductible.
Many folks think that going with a high deductible saves a lot of money. You do save, but sometimes not so much. Note the changes in annual premium for a 30-34 year old male based on various deductibles:
- $250 deductible = $1,275
- $500 deductible = $1,120
- $1,000 deductible = $871
- $5,000 deductible = $632
- $10,000 deductible = $498
The largest saving of $249 comes between the $500 and $1,000 deductible. Going from $1,000 to $2,500 saves only $99, and from $2,500 to $5,000 only saves $140. In fact, going from $1,000 to $,5000 saves only $239 per year even though you have added $4,000 to the deductible. So increasing the deductible does not produce great savings. Up to the present time, with all companies, the $1,000 deductible seems to be the most cost-efficient.
How much coverage do we need?
Medical evacuation or Emergency evacuation is meant to get you to a place of treatment and safe your life when adequate medical treatment or a treatment center is not available locally. It is also used regularly when your long-term well-being may be affected if you are injured and there are not good facilities near you for treatment or specialists with skill or experience treating your condition. In that case you will be medically transported (sometimes by commercial jet with accompaniment if feasible, sometimes by helicopter,…) to the next closest center or country that can treat you.
All of our short trip international health insurance plans provide medical evacuation coverage, and almost all of our long-term plans do as well although each may offer a different maximum amount of emergency evacuation benefit. You may have good insurance and only need evacuation coverage – You can view a list of specific “emergency evacuation only” plans on the medical evacuation insurance page.
How much medical evacuation coverage is necessary? This depends on where your international workers are. If Americans staff your agency and all are working in Mexico, $25,000 should be adequate. On the other hand, if you have workers in Central Africa or Papua New Guinea, it would be wise to have a plan with $100,000 in coverage.
International health insurance companies charge around $12-$15 a month for medical evacuation coverage. Obviously, you will pay more for $100,000 than you would for $25,000. You can avoid over-insuring in this area by considering the country(ies) where you or your employees are going/working when purchasing medical evacuation coverage.
Paying for medical care received inside/outside the USA
The differences between being overseas or being in the U.S.
There are some differences between being overseas or being in the U.S. when paying for medical care. If you are receiving medical care in the USA, it is important for you to look on the web site of your present insurance company and find a healthcare provider in their network. This way you will receive the full benefit from your plan.
If you go to a provider in the company’s PPO network, that provider will call the insurance company to see if your insurance is valid. If you have not yet reached your deductible, often the provider will ask you to pay up front for medical care received. But in some cases they will bill the insurance company directly.
Generally the provider will take care of your medical needs and then invoice your insurance company for care received. Of course, the provider may ask you to pay up front and then you will be reimbursed by the insurance company; however, in most cases they will invoice the company. This is always better for you, for the insurance company will often re-price the bill, thus decreasing the charges of the medical provider. This will save you money. The insurance company will send you an Explanation of Benefits explaining how much the insurance company is paying your insurance provider.
If you have major surgery done overseas, the hospital will often call your insurance company. If the insurance company pre-certifies the surgery, the insurance company will often provide a “guarantee of payment.” If the insurance company does not do this, then you will need to pay up front.
Please read your policy
“I didn’t know that wasn’t covered on the policy.”
One repeated statement we hear from the insured is, “I didn’t know that wasn’t covered on the policy.” This is why it’s important to read your policy! Of course, when we face a major medical difficulty it is very discouraging to find out that a medical condition is not covered on our insurance policy.
I know of no insurance policy that covers “everything.” Insurance companies are very careful to state what they cover on the “Benefit Page” and what they do not cover on the “Exclusion Page” of their brochures. Although we may not like the exclusion page, it is one way insurance companies limit coverage on certain conditions and thus control premiums.
It is also important to note that most insurance plans in the same category cover basically the same things. When comparing plans that are similar, do not compare just the premiums, but also pay careful attention to the small differences in benefits. For example, one plan may have better maternity coverage. Also, if one plan has rates that are much lower than others, you can be assured that the benefits they are offering are not as rich as other comparable plans.
Above all, keep in mind that no insurance plan will cover all possible medical situations.
Survey: Why Americans want international health coverage
Americans and International Medical Insurance
WARREN, N.J., Jan. 11 /PRNewswire/ — More than 70% of Americans surveyed said their greatest concern when traveling is suffering a medical emergency (e.g., broken bones, heart attack, other sudden or serious injury or illness), according to a nationwide survey sponsored by the Chubb Group of Insurance Companies. The survey of 1,585 people, conducted this month by Impulse Research of Los Angeles, found that the concern regarding a medical emergency (73.5%) is more than double the fear of being mugged (30.7%), three times the fear of being injured in a terrorist attack (23.4%) and 10 times the fear of being sexually assaulted (7.6%) or being abducted (7.2%).
More than half the respondents (55.3%) are most concerned about incurring a serious injury while traveling. Nearly one-third (32.5%) are worried about serious illness, and 12.2% fear a heart attack or stroke. Nearly 13% have required hospitalization while traveling, and more than 15% of survey participants have had to cut a trip short for a medical reason.
An overwhelming 92.4% of those surveyed said that if they experienced a medical emergency while traveling overseas, they would want the option of transferring to a U.S. or other advanced medical facility. Therefore, it’s important to have international health coverage before you travel!
The difference between an insurance agent and a broker
What’s the difference between an insurance agent and a broker?
Generally an insurance agency represents one company. Their task is to sell the product of that one company. These are generally “captive” agents, and are not allowed by the company to offer products other than the company’s products.
An insurance brokerage is contracted with numerous companies. Their main purpose is to represent their client to the company. Thus their main loyalty is to their client. If one company is not giving their client good rates or service, then they can direct the client to another company.
Good Neighbor Insurance, Inc. is an insurance brokerage. As a brokerage we presently represent 12 international health insurance companies. This gives us the advantage of being able to direct our clients to insurance plans that best meet their needs. We handle all kinds of insurance products including group and individual health, short-term team, short-term worker, trip cancellation, term life, furlough, kidnap and ransom, liability insurance, etc. And in all cases we are in contact with multiple companies that sell these kinds of insurance plans.
The difference between gambling and insurance
Compare Health and Life Insurance to Gambling
Risk is the possibility (uncertainty) that a loss might occur, and it is the reason people buy insurance. Some people think the risk you take with insurance is the same as the risk involved with gambling.
The risk in gambling is “speculative” risk. Gambling creates a risk situation that offers an opportunity for gain as well as for loss. Insurance deals with “pure” risk. With pure risk there is the possibility that a certain event will occur, e.g., accident or sickness.
What is the difference between insurance and gambling? The purpose of insurance is to restore the insured to his original position, not to afford the injured person the possibility of making a profit. There might be gain in gambling. In insurance there is no possibility of gain.
Trip cancellation & Travel insurance – What’s the difference?
Regarding Travel Insurance: Trip cancellation versus International travel medical insurance – What’s the difference?
“International Short-term Medical Insurance” can be easily confused with “Trip Cancellation Insurance.”
After all, both are called “travel insurance“ (as is flight insurance which is just a life insurance, or AD&D, policy in case the airplane was to crash – This coverage is always part of both types of plans below and therefore we do not recommend flight insurance).
Here is the main difference between Trip Cancellation Insurance and Travel Medical Plans:
“Trip Cancellation Insurance” focuses on insuring the cost of your trip, e.g. airline tickets, hotel reservations, etc. It may also include minimal health insurance and/or medical evacuation coverage, but first and foremost the goal is to make sure you are reimbursed money you otherwise lose if you had to cancel your trip. (Such as your deposit in case of sickness, a death on the family, loss of job, etc.) For those who want either a trip cancellation policy with strong medical coverage and emergency evacuation, we have great affordable options. We also have trip cancellation ONLY options for those whose domestic insurance will also protect them outside their national borders when they travel. Usually these types of plans are more expensive (per day) based on the length and cost of your trip.
Just make sure you already have emergency medical evacuation protection when buying a trip cancellation plan. If you are looking for a great trip cancellation policy, please go to https://www.gninsurance.com/trip-cancellation-trip-interruption-insurance/ If you need emergency medical insurance, read below.
“Short-term Travel Health Insurance” focuses on insuring you in case of illness or injury overseas or while traveling. It usually has good to very strong medical evacuation coverage and maximum medical coverage up to $1,000,000 or more. Usually our Short-term travel health insurance plans will include missed flight coverage, lost baggage coverage, translation services, help with lost documents, etc. If you are looking for a short-term (under 1 year) travel health insurance policy, please go to https://www.gninsurance.com/travel/
These types of plans are very affordable, usually starting at about a dollar a day based on your age.
We are always available to help answer any other questions you may have about this topic since people use the terms interchangeably and inadvertently create confusion. Just use the comment/question form to the right.
Trip cancellation and medical insurance in one package
International Travel health insurance with great trip cancellation and medical benefits
Many international travelers are looking for good trip cancellation insurance including medical coverage abroad and strong medical benefits at a good price. Generally short-term international travel health insurance plans have very weak or no trip cancellation coverage. And generally trip cancellation insurance plans have very little medical and medical evacuation coverage. Is there a solution that provides adequate international travel health insurance with great trip cancellation and medical benefits? Absolutely!
Two excellent plans that provide both trip cancellation insurance and international travel health insurance are the Trip Protector Preferred and Trawick Safe Travel Trip Protection plans. These plans provide total coverage for your trip costs for any of the covered reasons for cancellation or interruption of your trip. “Trip cancellation” is the term used when you haven’t yet left on your trip. Whereas “Trip Interruption” is the term used when your trip has started and you have to cancel, or cut your trip short for some reason. Typically, the reasons that an insurance company will reimburse you either trip cancellation or trip interruption are the same. There are certain covered reasons but here is one of the common ones across pretty much all international trip cancellation insurance plans: Sickness, injury, or unexpected death of you, a family member, or your traveling companion. Trip interruption is primarily meant to protect your finances in case you pay non-refundable trip costs or deposits up front. But these outstanding international trip insurance plans also provide medical coverage up to $500,000 and medical evacuation insurance up to $500,000. Other benefits are included as well such as, return of mortal remains, emergency reunion, and accidental death and dismemberment.
For U.S. residents, we recommend the Trip Protector Preferred https://www.gninsurance.com/geoblue_trip_cancellation_trip_protector/, as it provides coverage for trip which originate from the U.S. This plan has one of the best worldwide medical provider networks, so you have access to high quality medical care in many countries around the world. The Trip Protector Preferred international trip insurance also provides a waiver of the exclusion for pre-existing medical conditions, if you secure coverage within 21 days from the initial trip deposit. Also provided are the Classic and Economy levels of coverage on the Trip Protector, which has less benefits but for a lower premium.
For non-U.S. residents, we recommend the Trawick Safe Travels Trip Protection International https://www.gninsurance.com/travel/trip-cancellation/trawick-multinational/ or America https://www.gninsurance.com/travel/trip-cancellation/trawick-usa/. The Trawick Trip Protection plans provide coverage outside your home country, which is great for people whose home country is not the U.S. because they can get these amazing international travel health insurance benefits at a very budget friendly price. The Trawick Safe Travels Trip Protection USA is for those traveling outside of their home country to the U.S.A. The Trawick Safe Travels Trip Protection International is for traveling anywhere outside of the U.S. and also outside of one’s home country.
There are our most popular recommendations for international trip insurance for our guests. You can click on the links above to see more information, quickly obtain online quotes, as well as complete to brief online application. The online application takes about ten minutes or less and the policy confirmation is sent by email to you.
When is the best time to get health insurance?
The Best Time for Health Insurance is When You Are Healthy
That sounds like a weird question. Is it better to get it in the Spring or Fall or on Monday? No, that’s not the point. The best time to get health insurance is when you are healthy. We are a brokerage, and get hundreds of calls every year asking for insurance. Often their great motivating factors: I am pregnant. I have an ulcer. I need to go to the doctor. I can’t pay for my prescription medication. The worst time to try to get insurance is when you are sick or need to see the doctor. Sometimes a person will say, “I just don’t know what is wrong with me.” That is worse than having an ulcer, and it will be a certain decline on an insurance application. Insurance companies always want to know what the health problem is, i.e., what they are insuring.
The best time to get health insurance is when you are healthy. Often young men don’t think that they need insurance. They will say, “I never get sick.” If you are certain one hundred percent that you will never get sick, then you don’t need health insurance. But who knows that? Someone will say, “I am 52 and have never been sick and have never had insurance.” You have been very fortunate. However, you may get sick tomorrow. And the odds of you having major medical problems increase with age; and over the age of 50 the odds increase dramatically.
If you are now healthy, this is the best time for you to get insurance. If you develop a medical condition, it is going to be very difficult to get insurance or good insurance with a pre-existing medical condition.
When should I submit my insurance application?
When should you submit your insurance application?
We had one person call us from a pay phone in the airport and apply for coverage just before her plane was to depart. We don’t advise that.
For short-term individual plans and team plans try to get your application in two weeks before you leave. This enables the insurance company to mail you your medical ID card, policy, and letter of confirmation. You can also apply for your short-term plans up to three or four months before you go if you wish.
Most career insurance plans will provide one months coverage in the USA before you leave. If you are interested in being covered with insurance during those last 30 days before you depart for overseas, then you can apply for your career plan 60 days before you leave. The principle is that international insurers will not accept an application that has been signed more that thirty days before the effective date of the coverage. But it is important to submit your career plan within 30 days of your effective date. Your application will have to go through underwriting, and the insurance company may ask for medical records. Often this can take weeks.
Our goal is to have your medical insurance approved and get your medical ID cards and policy to you before you leave the USA. We can only do that if you plan ahead and apply early, thereby giving us ample time to clear your application with the insurance company.
Why Is Insurance Important?
Importance of Insurance
A common question GNI receives is, “Why is insurance important?” You might be thinking, “Well, it’s not important. I’m healthy (never been sick), my wife is healthy and also my children. Insurance is a rip-off, a waste of money! I don’t really need it!” If you were 100 percent sure you or your family will never get sick or injured tomorrow, next week or next month, it would be a rip off. Are you 100 percent sure? Do you know the future? If you are 100 percent sure that you will never get sick, you should “never” get insurance!
Unfortunately, no one is brilliant enough to see what tomorrow holds. But you say, “I will take my chances.” Okay, but if you or your family gets ill or is injured, who will pay for it? Do you have $50,000 or $100,000 set aside for such emergencies? It could take $25,000 just to med-evac an injured family member to your home country. And what if the care was life long? What if a family member developed Crone’s disease or diabetes, etc.? Now you need tens of thousands of dollars for life-long care.
I have a friend in Phoenix who, as a young college student, made a simple jump from a hillside and broke his back. He has been in tremendous pain for years. His medications are now costing him $2,000 a month. (By the way, he strongly believes in insurance.) Now, if you don’t have money set aside for medical expenses, you will have to turn to your friends and family, or to your donor base if you are a volunteer worker. How will they feel? Will they consider you a good steward? And will they be able to finance your medical needs for years to come? Won’t their charity eventually be exhausted? These are all very real questions of real situations that happen every day. The very existence of insurance companies is proof that insurance is meeting very real needs. It is important that all of us, especially overseas workers, have good health insurance.
Why use a broker for international insurance? How much does it cost?
The main difference between using a broker and going direct to an insurance carrier for coverage is that a broker doesn’t work for the carrier and so can honestly tell you the good and the bad about any particular plan or rider.
In addition, if a broker represents multiple carriers like we do, they can tell you about other plans or a product that might fit your needs better or at a better price. So we can do the work for you which is especially important if you have a young family, have a pre-existing medical condition, are relocating to a region without as much medical care,…You can’t expect a carrier to know that, or do that for you.
In addition, most of our staff have lived and worked overseas so we know what you need — and more importantly, what you don’t — Rather than an agent trying to sell you a series of upgrades, additional coverages, yet has never been out of the country, or used his insurance himself!
SERVICE AND ANSWERS
Using a broker saves a lot of time. Because a broker can pre-qualify you, they can save you time from going to each carrier yourself for quotes, and filling out multiple applications with all the same questions. They’ll also know ahead of time which will fit you better, or save you money, so you don’t have to discover that the hard way through trial and error.
Another huge benefit of having a broker is when filing a claim or when you have a question. Getting help is much easier when you have someone working for you that knows you and can be an advocate as well as advise you when filing a claim. We take away some of those headaches when, and if, you need insurance (but we always hope you don’t!).
The good news is that it does not cost you any extra to use an agent or broker versus going directly to an insurance carrier! There is no surcharge, and you pay exactly the same price if you went directly to the company since that carrier pays the broker the commission their internal sales agent would have received. You never pay an extra penny for using an agent.
Most of our clients are always looking for better, or cheaper options. We understand that. So at renewal, we are always asking if there is a better plan, or option. However, we also know which insurance companies have had problems, are slow to respond, or are difficult to work with and we avoid those companies. So while there may be a better or cheaper option out there on the internet, be careful. Some of them may not be all that they promise. They may not be there when you need them most. We have seen this time and again when a client listens to someone online offering unbelievably low prices on overseas health insurance. We know because we are always looking for the best carriers and the best rates/benefit packages for our clients. But we also make our carriers stand behind their promises. Or we stop sell their plans.
So how else do agents help?
Well, usually an agent is the representative of just one company, so expect them to know those plans well. A broker that represents multiple carriers should be able to direct you to a carrier and plan based on a few questions and your specific needs. A good agent should also help you understand the insurance plan and what is included and not included. He should build a personal relationship with you or at least take the time to be able to advise you, something large companies cannot do because of the volume of their business. If he is a good agent, his focus will be on service, and he makes an effort to be available for you.
SUMMARY: So why use a broker for international health insurance?
A broker represents you, the client, and not a specific company.
A broker, because he has contact with many companies, can offer you a wider variety of products to help you find the best plan for your specific needs and budget.
A broker saves you time by having you fill out one application, rather than having to do it over and over.
A broker is also a client if they are widely traveled themselves – They use and trust certain products themselves for a reason.
A broker knows which companies are better and more responsive when handling your claims – “Because insurance doesn’t have to be expensive, it just has to be good.”
Good Neighbor Insurance is a broker, contracted with approximately ten different international health insurance companies. We have a large array of insurance plans to offer you and the expertise you can trust whether going on vacation or relocating overseas . See all of our plans by going to our corporate web site: www.gninsurance.com.
For more, see our About GNI pages at: https://www.gninsurance.com/good-neighbor-insurance-purpose/
Medical evacuation, repatriation of remains, emergency reunion, terrorism cover, lost luggage, and many other benefits
- This international travel insurance policy is for vacations, business trips, extreme sports trips, cruises, and long term / residential coverage overseas
- Available for up to one year and then may re-apply
- Owned by HCC Insurance Holdings Inc (NYSE: HCC) and reinsurer is Lloyd’s of London
- As of 4.1.2015 – For under age 70, coverage for sudden and unexpected onset of pre-existing conditions, is to the policy limit selected
- Current policy holder: please click here to extend coverage or to get ID card
BUPA Medical And Evacuation Travel Insurance Policy
UNLIMITED MEDICAL AND EVACUATION COVERAGE
- Travel insurance policy coverage per day up to 12 months and longer
- Political evacuation in case of epidemic, war, rioting, martial law, terrorism, or other acts where the U.S. St. Department or British Foreign Office (FCO) encourages citizens to immediately leave the country.
- Most dangerous sports and occupations are covered
- Additional non-medical option and trip cancellation option also if desired
- 100% coverage for emergency treatment and medical evacuation
- Willing to make direct payments to any hospital worldwide
- Free coverage for children under the age of two
- For non-U.S. and non-Canadian residents traveling anywhere incl. the U.S. or Canada
- Covers worldwide outside policy holder country of residence
- Coverage in all risk and war zones (a loading may apply).
- No deductible and no co-insurance
GEOBLUE TREKKER MULTI-TRIP PLANS
UNLIMITED TRIPS OVERSEAS FOR A YEAR, UP TO 70 DAYS PER TRIP OUTSIDE OF THE U.S.A.
- Requires you have a primary health insurance plan
- Covers pre-existing medical conditions for medical services and medical evacuation
- Choice of two plans: Choice and Essential
- Covers U.S. residents outside of the U.S.
- The trip must originate from the U.S.
- Automatically covers act of terrorism
- For ages 84 or younger
- Underwritten by HM Life Insurance Company which is rated A- (Excellent) by A.M. Best Company
INTERNATIONAL PATRIOT ADVENTURE SPORTS INSURANCE
COVERAGE PERIOD FROM 30 DAYS TO 6 MONTHS FOR NON-CONTACT SPORTS
- Medical coverage combined with evacuation coverage of $50,000
- Deductible of $250
- Coverage for U.S. citizens traveling outside the U.S.
- Non U.S. citizens traveling outside their country of citizenship with coverage to also include the U.S.
- May include Trip Cancellation coverage as an added benefit