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What is International Health Insurance?

By Pratima Singh
  | Published: 27 May 2021

Don’t gamble with your health, get the right cover at the right price.

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International Health Insurance is a type of health insurance that covers your medical expenses in case of illness, routine healthcare, or emergency when you are traveling to or living in a foreign country. The international health insurance plans offered by various insurance providers in the UAE help you access quality medical treatment at affordable prices when you are away from your homeland. This type of insurance is to make sure that you are taken care of nicely in case of a medical emergency in a foreign land.

International Health Insurance - Who is it for?

Healthcare in a foreign country

Health becomes a bigger concern when you are leaving your country to live in a foreign land for an extended period. Seeking medical care in a foreign country can be a pricey affair without insurance and can easily dent your savings. With international health insurance, you are entitled to receive quality health care support at affordable price points. These plans are designed to address medical emergencies irrespective of the insured person’s geographic location. Sometimes, your basic health insurance is not valid in your current country, in such cases, international health insurance becomes an ideal choice for a person who’s planning to reside in a foreign land.

Legal Compulsion

Some countries have legal restrictions which demand that the migrants should possess health insurance to cover their medical expenditure before acquiring a visa or moving. Under such circumstances, it becomes necessary for you to purchase international medical insurance that is to take care of your medical expenses in a foreign country.

Saves Money

The United States has the most expensive health care system in the world where a medical consultation with a general practitioner costs around AED 697 (average) per visit. Some of the European counties like Switzerland, Norway, and Germany possess the best healthcare facilities in the world but the cost to avail these facilities is high. If you are planning to move to a country with a costly health care system, international health insurance is likely to save you a considerable amount of money. In such cases, international health insurance allows you to receive medical attention at reasonable prices.

Better Access

You may be moving to a country that provides universal health care to all residents, including expats. However, you will likely encounter a long waiting time, lengthy cues, and of course, a possible language barrier that may further delay a process that needs urgent medical attention. International medical insurance in UAE allows you to avail of private facilities, that are otherwise quite expensive and not easily accessible.

What does International Medical Insurance in UAE cover?

International health insurance in UAE is similar to your regular health insurance in UAE except it covers your medical expense for living in a foreign country. It usually covers:

  • Admission and stay in hospital
  • Routine Check-ups
  • Choice of Medical Providers
  • Chronic Conditions

An International Health Insurance does not cover you if you are already receiving treatment for a medical condition before moving. However, some companies offer extensive plans to provide extra cover for:

1. Pre-existing condition

Any disease, injury, or illness you have been diagnosed with or received treatment for or suffered its symptoms, is termed as a pre-existing condition. Some companies cover your expenditure for pre-existing conditions as well providing you maximum protection and support.

2. Dental Care

The most basic international health insurance plans usually do not cover dental care but you can purchase a more comprehensive level of International Health Insurance in the UAE if you want to add dental care to the list.

Wouldn’t it be more beneficial if I choose Domestic Health Insurance in the country I am moving to?

Buying domestic health insurance in the country you are moving to is always a cheaper option. However, you need to remember that it is cheaper for multiple reasons:

  • Cheaper Domestic health insurance usually provides fewer facilities than international health insurance.
  • It will not cover insurance if you move to another country while international health insurance allows you to change your region and enjoy the benefits on all the specified locations.
  • In some cases, if you are not a permanent resident of the country you are moving to, you may not be eligible for domestic health insurance or state-provided cover. 

Do you need International Health Insurance if you have Travel Insurance?

More often, people confuse travel insurance with international health insurance. However, the features of the two vary and it is important to understand this difference to use them for your benefit:

Travel Insurance International Health Insurance
  • Covers those who are traveling for a short period of time.
  • Covers those who are living in a foreign country for a few months or years.
  • People who are based in their native country but spend a long time abroad for business, studies, research, or lifestyle.
  • People seeking better medical treatment abroad.
  • Covers the loss of luggage.
  • Cancellations
  • Emergency medical treatment for a short time.
  • Would not cover your day-to-day visit to the doctor, pregnancy, or medical cost for the rest of the year.
  • Covers routine health check-ups and visits to doctors and dentists.
  • Planned medical treatment or pregnancy.
  • Covers medical treatment cost for a much longer period.
  • Cost roughly varies between AED 107 to AED 260 per trip.
  • Cost roughly varies between AED 900 and AED 18000 as per the insurance plan and the age of the insured person.

Types of International Health Insurance in the UAE

Broadly, there are four types of international health insurance:

1. For Individual

This type of insurance is suitable for solo travelers who live outside their country for a few years due to work or education. If you are going to live abroad for a few years alone, this is the best international health insurance for you. 

2. For Family

In case you are moving to a new country along with your whole family, then this type of insurance is an ideal choice for you to keep all the members in your family covered. 

3. For International Students

This type of insurance is generally reasonably priced, specially designed for students in foreign lands.

4. For Companies

If you are an employer seeking a viable option to provide health care to your immigrant employees, then this type of insurance offers unique plans to meet your needs.

How does an International Health Insurance claim work?

Using your plan and making a claim will depend on your location and the health care facility. There are two ways of claiming your insurance:

1. Cashless Treatment

As the name suggests, a cashless treatment allows you to avail of medical facilities without paying any cash. This facility can be availed by showing your policy documents or e-card to the hospital. The hospital will confirm your documents and allow you access to the treatment. However, in some cases, confirming your documents may take a few days. Therefore, it is suggested that you consult with your health insurance provider before availing of this treatment if it is a planned treatment.

In case of an emergency, contact the company’s customer care, and the representative will help you find the nearest cashless facility. The insurance providers keep the hospital inform about your arrival so that the treatment can start as soon as you arrive.

2. Reimbursement

When you opt to get treated at a non-network hospital, you may be required to pay off the bills initially and get them reimbursed later. If that’s the case, make sure to collect all original bills from the hospital because they need to be produced as proof of expenditures. Your insurance provider will not reimburse any money you if you fail to produce original bills. Once you submit the bills, they are sent back to the hospital for verification. Once the formalities are complete, your reimbursement claim will be transferred to your registered bank account. 

How to buy International Health Insurance in the UAE?

Premiums and Plans

Different insurance companies provide multiple kinds of plans with varying premiums to maximize your coverage. The premium of your policy will vary according to the region you are moving to and the facilities you want to avail yourself. Therefore, it is advised that you compare all the companies and the policies to find the most beneficial international health insurance plans as per your need.  

Many international health insurance companies in the UAE have posted their insurance plans on their website. You can visit their web page to extract all the required information, compare and buy a plan. 

Pratima Singh
Pratima Singh10 Posts

Editor | This is me saying HEY! from behind the screen you're staring into. I am a pop culture junkie who derives pleasure in writing fresh, informative, and fun content.