Immigration to a different nation itself is full of challenges. However, while adapting to new cultures and systems, it is also essential to remember the necessity and importance of medical care. As every country has its distinct healthcare system, international medical or expat health insurance often becomes the most reliable and occasionally the sole approach to ensure that one receives the necessary coverage in emergencies. Health emergencies are unexpected and a health insurance policy can assist the insurer in being financially prepared for facing health challenges.
Benefits of Expatriate Health Insurance Plans
Following are some advantages of an Expat health insurance plan:
● Freedom to Choose Doctor Internationally - Health insurance plans for expats often offer a global medical care network, giving the insurer the freedom to choose healthcare professionals and facilities worldwide.
● No Longer Wait Periods - Access to private medical facilities to get faster medical appointments and surgery slots, thereby helping the insurer avoid long wait periods in public health facilities.
● No Language Barrier - Language barriers can be challenging in overseas countries. Expats can overcome this challenge with an international insurance plan that connects them to local private medical facilities with English-speaking staff and provide language assistance and interpretation services if needed.
● Universal Coverage - An international health insurance plan can provide universal coverage for insurers and their families, protecting them from health risks and providing peace of mind.
● Protection from Financial Risks - Expats should ensure their insurance plan includes medical evacuation and repatriation coverage to avoid financial risks in emergencies.
What does health insurance for expats cover?
The coverage and benefits of expat insurance include the following:
- Medical benefits from reputed expat insurance providers include basic wellness and medical benefits like inpatient and daycare cover, emergency treatment and evacuation, and prescription benefits
- Coverage for severe health issues like cancer treatment, oncology, MRI, and CTI
- Coverage for outpatient care and treatment, outpatient pathology, X-rays, prescribed drugs, and dressings
- Post and pre-natal maternity medical coverage
- Optional additional coverage for evacuation and repatriation
- Coverage for routine dental checkups, cleaning, and simple non-surgical extractions
- Coverage for ophthalmology-related issues
- Coverage for mental health and wellbeing services
However, the type of coverage will depend upon the plan chosen by the insurer.
What factors to consider before buying International Health Insurance?
Expats should consider the following factors before selecting a comprehensive international health insurance plan:
- An expat health insurance plan should be flexible to provide insurers with health coverage even if they move from one region or state to another.
- The insurance provider should have an extensive network of partnerships and tie-ups to avoid out-of-pocket expenses when making a claim.
- The type and details of the medical benefits and coverage provided by the expat health insurance plan.
- Online and telephonic support for customers should be available round the clock for easy access to policy information and claim submission.
- The reputation and capabilities of the insurance company ensure that they can handle claims and provide support when needed.
About Health Insurance for Expats in Middle East
Expat health insurance in UAE
The requirements for health insurance in the UAE can vary depending on the Emirate where the insurer resides. For example, in Abu Dhabi, UAE nationals are covered under the Thiqa program, while employers are responsible for providing health insurance for expat employees and their families. Similarly, in Dubai, employers of expats must provide them with standard health insurance coverage that meets or exceeds the minimum benefits laid out by the Dubai Health Authority. It is mandatory for all residents of the UAE, both employed and unemployed, to have health insurance. Health insurance for expats helps them to access private healthcare facilities without the fear of financial burnout. For expats considering getting an individual health plan, Cigna provides an affordable and comprehensive health insurance plan to those needing health coverage in a foreign country.
Medical Insurance in Saudi Arabia for Expats
With the rising population of Saudi Arabia over the last two decades, the kingdom has the private sector and shifted towards an insurance-based system to finance healthcare. According to a mandate issued in 2005, expats must have health insurance provided by their employers. However, the public healthcare system offers free services to Saudi citizens and public sector employees, including general and dental services, hospital treatment, and prescription medicines. However, expats can get medical attention through private hospitals, clinics, and health centers.
Health Insurance in Oman for Expats
Though expats in Oman do not have access to subsidized healthcare facilities like nationals, exceptions are approved in case of emergencies or if referred to by a health center. The patient party, however, must pay all medical bills immediately. Furthermore, since January 1, 2018, Oman has mandated all public hospital payments be made by card; hence it is recommended that expats should secure appropriate private health insurance in Oman.
Medical Insurance in Bahrain for Expats
Bahrain has public, private, and military healthcare facilities, all providing high-quality healthcare services. However, the Social Health Insurance Fund Authority (SHIFA) provides certain free healthcare services to the nationals but holds fewer benefits for the expats. However, expats are entitled to a mandatory health insurance package by their employers, including only primary and emergency healthcare. Expats in Bahrain should also have private health insurance coverage that includes emergency evacuation since healthcare costs for non-Bahraini citizens are expensive. This coverage can protect against the financial burden of severe illness and the need for transportation to another country for treatment.
Health Insurance in Kuwait for Expatriates
Kuwait has five administrative regions, each with a public hospital providing comprehensive outpatient facilities and round-the-clock emergency services. Expats can access public healthcare facilities. However, some private clinics may not accept local health insurance, so expats should ensure they have alternative coverage, including medical repatriation, in case of serious illness.
Health Insurance in Qatar for Expats
Both public and private hospitals in Qatar provide high-quality healthcare services regulated by the government and can be accessed by the residents and expats for free or at a highly subsidized cost. Subscribing to Qatar's compulsory health insurance system is essential, and it offers basic medical coverage. Expats must have health coverage before arriving in the country. They can apply for a health card to access state-sponsored healthcare, including emergency treatment, for free, with nominal charges for further checkups, medication, and inpatient care. The health card is valid at any public facility, and a person can complete the application process at any government clinic or hospital.