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The Differences Between Travel Insurance and International Medical Insurance Coverage

Posted on May 16, 2013 by Sergio Ulloa ()  | Tags: Health Insurance, International Health Insurance, Medical Insurance, travel, travel insurance

As an expatriate, making sure your health and wellness needs are adequately met is one of the most important things to consider when planning your move abroad. Depending on the country, often times medical facilities and their practices can be very different than what many people are used to in their home country.

One of the best ways to make sure that you are not put in the overwhelming situation of trying to navigate a foreign country's healthcare system, is by protecting yourself with international health insurance coverage. This will usually cover doctor's visits, vaccinations, health checks and prescriptions. There are even options to cover other items like chiropractor visits or physiotherapy treatment.

Some may wonder if they already have travel insurance, whether they need international health insurance too. The short answer is yes. If you are living abroad long term and need medical insurance coverage, you should ideally obtain an international medical insurance policy. Travel insurance is designed for short or time-restricted holidays and is not meant to serve as insurance for long stays or residence in that country.

Furthermore, travel insurance often times will limit coverage to emergency situations, and will not typically cover routine medical needs such as prescriptions, general check-ups and other similar visits. These plans are not designed for expatriates. On the other hand, international medical insurance plans have been uniquely designed with the expatriate in mind, knowing that they may need a different option for healthcare coverage while in their residing country.

One of the most beneficial aspects of obtaining an international medical insurance policy is being able to access coverage for medical relocation. As an expatriate, you may have to travel to more remote areas, where healthcare standards may not be high and where there may not be facilities that can meet your need. With international medical insurance, you will be able to be transported to a facility within that country that can adequately treat you.

This differs slightly from a medical evacuation benefit, whereby if you need to be evacuated to your home country, transportation costs as well as medical costs can be covered. Furthermore, coverage will usually cover transportation and spending costs for a close family member to travel with you.

Another important thing to know about international medical insurance is that there are a number of different options when it comes to coverage.  First of all, many insurance companies offer special insurance to students, an option many students tend to overlook. One benefit of these plans is that they can be valid for the length of a semester or for a full year. These flexible plans provide full coverage for students studying overseas.

There are a plethora of benefits that accompany obtaining international medical insurance while living overseas. Coverage options vary and often times can be specially tailored to meet people's more unique needs or requests. In addition to providing coverage for routine medical needs, emergency care, vaccinations and prescriptions, many policies are broadening their scope of coverage and are offering coverage options for alternative benefits such as Chinese traditional medicine, dental, acupuncture and more.

Travel insurance is adequate enough for short term travelling or vacationing, but to ensure the most comprehensive care possible when abroad, an international medical insurance plan clearly offers many more benefits.

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