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Expat Healthcare Guide > Health Insurance FAQ Related to Coronavirus

Expat Health Insurance FAQ Related to Coronavirus

By Betsy Burlingame

Updated on: Mar 29, 2020

Summary: It's important that expats take precautions to ensure that that you are sufficiently covered should you need medical care during the coronavirus outbreak , whether for the virus itself or other reasons. Expats have been contacting us to inquire about health insurance options during this time. Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions.

Health Insurance FAQ Related to Coronavirus

Table of Contents

Many health systems throughout the world are likely to experience incredible pressure such as what is being experienced in Italy, where officials are placed in the terrible position of having to decide who can access urgent care and who cannot. We've been receiving a lot of e-mails from expats asking about health insurance options during this time. Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions. We will add more information to this as it becomes available.

If I don't have private expat health insurance, should I purchase it now?

The answer to that question depends upon your personal health needs and preferences. If you need information about the quality of healthcare in your country, our expat healthcare guides are a good resource.

Expat Exchange is partnered several major expat health insurance providers. Below are links to these provider's coronavirus coverage information and links to get a health insurance quote:

What should I do to determine what I am covered for during the coronavirus crisis?

If you have any questions or concerns about what will be covered should you fall ill with the coronavirus, contact your insurer directly. Many major private health insurers have agreed to cover the costs of testing and treatment. However, do not take for granted that you will be covered without checking your policy and/or speaking with your insurer. Note the dates to which the insurers have committed to their coverage of coronavirus testing and treatment. For coronavirus coverage related information from our global expat health insurance partners: Cigna Global Health's coronavirus coverage information, Allianz Care's coronavirus Information and Integra Global's coronavirus Insurance Policy Related FAQ.

What types of Expat Health Insurance exist for expats?

As you probably know, there are a variety of different ways that expats receive healthcare coverage while living abroad. Here is information to help inform your purchasing decisions.

Here are the main choices:

1. Public Health Insurance

Some expats establish sufficient residency in countries that will then provide coverage in their public health system. However, there can be longer waiting times, reduced coverages, denial of access to private providers and facilities, and other limitations. More importantly, these public plans only cover you in the country that provides them, so you are constrained to the public system services, and on the timeline they are able to provide them. In the EU, there is some reciprocity from country-to-country for emergency healthcare. However, with many borders being closed, this is currently less relevant.

2. Private Expat Health Insurance

This consists of health plans for individuals and families that are provided by an insurance company rather than by the government. As one would expect, more expensive plans can be purchased to receive broader coverage that extends beyond public providers and facilities. Additionally, should you want to return home to your home country for an emergency or elective procedure not covered or offered abroad, there are private plans that enable you to do so.

We work with a number of Expat Health Insurance providers who offer private and supplemental insurance policies to expats.

3. Supplemental Private Insurance

This type of insurance offers you or your family the option to add additional coverage for care not offered by a separate policy or a government-issued health plan. The extended coverage MAY include copays, deductibles or payments to help meet everyday expenses such as utility bills.

What will my travel insurance cover if I had purchased trip insurance?

You need to check your individual policy to determine what is and is not covered. At some point, the coronavirus outbreak became a "foreseen event." That means that your policy, if purchased recently, may have excluded the recent outbreak as a reason for reimbursement of your covered costs. If you had a 'Cancel for Any Reason' option on the policy, which would have made the policy far more expensive, you may be able to recoup the costs.

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About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder of Expat Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Some of Betsy's more popular articles include 6 Best Places to Live in Costa Rica, 12 Things to Know Before Moving to The Dominican Republic and 7 Tips for Obtaining Residence in Italy. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.



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