In 2017, when I began my location-independent life, I spent no less than 96-hours researching everything to do with international health insurance.
However, I learned through the process that what’s good for me, a 33-year old healthy, male, may not be good for you.
So it will be impossible for me to choose an overall winner. At the end, I will reveal my international health insurance provider.
The first thing you should do is come up with your absolute must-have’s. Here’s my list:
I decided a nice-to-have was medical evacuation and repatriation. This would depend on cost.
I’m going to make my spreadsheet available, but it’s best to make one yourself with columns only relevant to your needs.
Here are my columns which may or may not be relevant to you. Please use them as a start-off point:
Location of international health insurance company. The customer service reps will likely speak that language so if you don’t speak French you probably don’t want to purchase health insurance from a company based in France.
Name of the company.
Name of the plan.
Name of Representative. You will likely call many times as new questions arise by talking to other providers.
Inpatient Costs. This is defined as being charged for a bed and having to be discharged to leave.
In-patient follow up costs.
Out-patient/Co Pay. These are going to be your routine visits or if you suddenly get sick.
Dental/Vision Add-On. I decide to pay for this out of pocket, but it’s generally very cheap.
Health/Wellness Benefits. Defined as annual checkups, immunizations, vaccinations, blood tests, physicals.
Plans Location Exclusions. Usually the USA and/or Canada will not be covered due to exorbitant costs. I’ve heard good things from this option. Otherwise, just search ‘short term health insurance USA’.
Pre-Existing Conditions Clause. If you have one, you probably know it.
Network. This tells you how big the network is or how easy it will be to find a doctor, specialist, or hospital to see.
Number of Customers and Providers/Physicians In Network. Another indicator of how large the company is. I prefer a large network as I travel throughout the world, but if your travel is limited to certain countries, then certain providers may be smaller, but more well-covered in these particular countries.
Type of Billing.
Prior Claims Effect On Future Premiums.
Any extra notes. One company I spoke with mentioned ‘digital nomads’ when speaking with them. I felt this was a positive as I wouldn’t have to explain my unique situation to an old-school company. Another representative advised that with the plan there is no medical deductible on anything routine like prescription drugs.
Cancer. I asked specifically about getting diagnosed with cancer and it is typically treated an in-patient.
Policy Exclusions. This is the fine print. Ask about this.
AM Best Rating. This company rates insurance providers and I used them as another data source.
Reason For Final Decision. You’re going to want to remember this for when it comes time to renew. Did the main reason you choose them to change? Don’t continue with the same international health insurance company blindly.
The ultimate decision I made was to go with GeoBlue, who I’m still very happy with to this day.
I have had to claim minor expenses like doctor visits which have been reimbursed.
They have direct bill which is very convenient. And, they even will schedule appointments on your behalf. This is incredibly useful if you’re in a county that does not speak the same language as you.
I’ve also been super impressed with their customer service. They answer calls at all hours and actually fix problems instead of outsourcing the call center.