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International Health Insurance
International health insurance provides coverage
for travellers, expatriates and international students while they
are in foreign countries.
For citizens of the United Kingdom, the NHS does not operate in
foreign countries. You can travel back to the UK for treatment, but
this is an expensive option. Also, there are rules for people who
have been living abroad for certain periods of time. Those who have
been in European Union countries for more than six months during a
year are not eligible for NHS treatment. The period is more than
three months in a year if you have been living in non-EU countries.
Most international health insurance is designed for short trips and
for short illnesses. Long-term health care for serious illnesses is
often not covered. However, expatriates and foreign students will
need to seek more comprehensive, long-term policies. One aspect of
this type of insurance, especially travellerís insurance, is that
expenses for repatriation back to oneís home country is often
included in the policy.
The types of plans and coverage available differ widely, so it pays
to read the fine print when choosing a policy. For example, you
might want a policy that covers dental treatment or preventive care.
Generally, international health insurance is geared more toward
emergency care and treatment of common illnesses.
Of course, wider coverage generally means a more expensive insurance
policy. There are also specialized packaged designed for specific
needs. For example, frequent travellers can purchase annual
international health insurance that covers multiple trips throughout
the year. There are policies geared toward travellers who work as Au
Pairs. If you are engaging in dangerous activities like scuba diving
or skiing while abroad make sure your policy provides coverage in
this area. Some policies may exclude certain types of activities.
Also, if you are travelling through countries that are considered
dangerous because of war or political instability, you should also
make sure your policy does not have any exclusions for such travel.
International health insurance is often combined together with
travel insurance; however you should not depend on the medical
coverage provided in travel insurance policies alone. In most cases,
this will only cover limited types of treatment, and often requires
that you pay first and get reimbursed later.
International health insurance provides you with a safety net and
peace of mind while travelling or living abroad. However, make sure
your policy provides the coverage your require.