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It is an unfortunate fact of life that the cost of medical treatment worldwide is high and increasing faster than the rate of inflation, particularly in the Asia Pacific region. For this reason, all expats living in Asia need to ensure that they have suitable medical insurance in place to cover themselves and their families should the need arise.
Unfortunately, finding the right policy can be a tricky business as there are a whole host of factors to take into consideration. So we’ve put together this handy 12 point checklist for you to use when comparing policies from different providers.
1. Are you covered internationally?
Certain policies may exclude cover in countries where the cost of medical care is high, such as in the US. You need to check that the countries which you live and work in are not excluded, as well as any countries you plan to travel to.
2. Can you choose where you are treated?
The majority of medical insurance policies in Asia will allow you to choose which hospital you are treated at. Some companies may offer repatriation to your homeland, or treatment in countries other than where you live. Check how flexible your insurer is on this.
3. Is there an excess on your policy?
The excess is the payment you have to make personally if you make a claim on your policy. This can vary significantly from one insurer to another so check this amount. A higher excess may mean that cover is cheaper but you need to make sure that you would have sufficient funds available to pay the excess if you needed to make a claim.
4. Are pre-existing and chronic conditions excluded?
It is not uncommon for insurance companies to exclude cover for any conditions which exist before you apply for your health policy. Some insurers may offer different solutions including offering restricted cover or cover once a condition has been treated. If you have a chronic condition which will require regular ongoing treatment you need to flag this up to your insurer and check what will be covered and what won’t.
5. Does your cover include emergency evacuation?
This is standard for most international medical insurance policies these days but it is worth checking all the same. Policies can also cover the cost of someone to accompany you – ask about this if you think it may be important.
6. Is it possible to pay premiums monthly?
Spreading the cost of your annual premium can help you manage your finances and may suit you better than paying in one lump sum. Check whether monthly payments are possible and if there is a fee to set this up.
7. How are claims dealt with?
The larger insurance companies often have deals with hospitals to pay them directly for any treatment, which means that you don’t have to fork out and wait to be reimbursed. This could be important -especially if medical treatment is extremely expensive, or required for a lengthy period.
8. Who do you contact if you need emergency medical advice and assistance?
9. Do you need access to alternative and complementary medicine?
These kinds of treatment may not be covered as standard by most insurers so it is worth checking if they are of interest to you.
10. How do you transfer from another policy?
If you have been covered on a group health insurance policy and need to transfer it to your personal name, make sure that the same cover is retained. Check also if the premium can be reduced.
11. Is there an age limit attached to the policy?
Some policies state age limits so it is essential to check. At the same time, ensure you are aware of are any renewability clauses.
12. Are there any additional benefits to the policy?
In today’s competitive market, insurers are fighting for your custom and may offer attractive add-ons to the policy such as free health checks. Look at the small print to see how often you are entitled to these and how long after cover is place you can take advantage of them.
There is a lot to consider here and certain terms and conditions often only come to light when you wade through the small print. If you’re one of those people who skim over it, you could easily miss something which could be important down the line. You might find it easier to consult a professional adviser who will be more au fait with medical insurance policies and can check the small print for you and answer any questions you have.
This is service offered by Infinity Solutions and the good news is that there is no cost to you as we are paid by the insurance provider. There are many other benefits to using our services too. We can often get you a better deal on a policy than if you approached the company directly, we deal with all the major insurance providers active in the Asian market so we can offer you choice and match your specific requirements. Furthermore, we provide support on an ongoing basis, assistance with claims, troubleshoot problems and we will even review your policy with you on an annual basis to make sure that you and your family continue to have appropriate medical cover for your needs.
It really does make sense to use us, get in touch to arrange a meeting with one of our friendly and professional advisers to discuss your medical insurance requirements and get the best cover in place for you and your family.