What is Health Insurance?
A health insurance policy, often known as private medical insurance, covers the costs of private healthcare from diagnosis to treatment. You’ll pay a monthly fee to cover all or part of the cost of treatment for patients’ conditions that arise after your health insurance coverage has started.
You may choose to purchase private health insurance since it allows you to receive medical treatment quickly. You can compare several levels of private health insurance coverage with us: Treatment and Care are both comprehensive.
What Is the Affordable Care Act?
Individuals and families now have more inexpensive health insurance alternatives thanks to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), including medical, dental, vision, and other types of health insurance that were previously unavailable. The ACA stipulates that:
- You might be able to get health insurance through a state or federal marketplace with a variety of options.
- Insurers are not allowed to refuse coverage because of a person’s gender or a pre-existing ailment.
- There are no coverage limits on a lifetime or annual basis.
- Young adults can remain on their parents’ insurance plan until they reach the age of 26.
- Seniors who fall into the Medicare Prescription Drug Plan coverage gap, sometimes known as the “donut hole,” may qualify for a drug discount.
What Foreigners Should Know About Health Insurance in the United States
Everyone in the United States is concerned about health insurance.
Given that healthcare prices in the United States are among the highest in the world, it is a difficult subject.
The fact that each state has its own set of rules and regulations when it comes to health insurance further adds to the confusion.
If you live in the state of New York, for example, you may be unable to obtain foreign insurance due to state requirements. However, if you live in California, you may be able to obtain worldwide coverage.
With that in mind, this guide to health insurance in the United States will outline the public and private health insurance alternatives accessible to you, as well as the premiums you can anticipate to pay and the steps you must take to locate the best coverage for your needs.
This way, if you have a medical emergency in the United States, you won’t be forced to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars out of pocket.
Why Do You Need It?
People buy health insurance for a variety of reasons. Some people want it to keep their money safe. Some people want it to provide them with added peace of mind. Some people want it so they can go to the hospital without having to pay astronomical medical fees.
The following are the top two reasons why most ex-pats in the United States purchase health insurance:
Medical Costs are Too High to Pay Out-of-Pocket
Any ex-pat who travels long distances or commutes back and forth to work has the same risk of becoming injured.
In the United States, this translates to money being spent on one of the country’s most expensive commodities: healthcare.
When I went to an orthopedic doctor, for example, I simply had one consultation and was ordered to rest my leg. For the x-rays and the visit, I was charged $600. Fortunately, I was covered by insurance.
I didn’t have to pay for any of it out of my own pocket.
Spending one day in the hospital will set you back at least $3,949 on average. Depending on the type of care you receive, a single day in the hospital could cost you $15,734 on average.
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Anyone Can Get Injured
If you don’t want to pay so much out of your own pocket, health insurance is an option to explore.
As an ex-pat living in the United States, you have various possibilities, including:
- Insurance on a global scale
- Insurance that is purchased privately
- Insurance provided by the government
- Insurance for a group
- Insurance for travel
We’ll go through them in further detail later in the article.
You may believe that you are in good health and are not prone to accidents. It’s possible that you won’t be covered. Just keep in mind that anything might happen.
I once flew to see my brother and his family for the holidays. I had a terrific vacation, but on the way back, just as I was about to step off the plane, the unexpected happened.
My mother needed to go to the restroom right away, so I jumped up hastily to let her squeeze by me and heard a POP! My patellar tendon in my knee was dislocated.
I couldn’t put any weight on the tendon when it shifted. I just had one leg that was useful.
To make matters worse, I had to be dragged off the plane and pushed through the airport in a wheelchair.
It took a little more than a month for me to be able to walk without the use of a cane or a brace. Before that, I had been a perfectly healthy specimen who would be well one minute and then be unable to walk the next.
Fortunately, I was working from home before the incident, so I didn’t have to miss any work. However, my mobility was significantly restricted. It was especially difficult to sit or get up from a seated posture.
HMO, PPO, and POS are three types of healthcare plans.
When looking for insurance in the United States, you’ll come across terms like HMO, PPO, and POS.
In a nutshell, this is what they mean:
- Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) is an acronym for Health Maintenance Organization. HMO plans are believed to be cost-effective. You select a Primary Care Physician (PCP) from the HMO network and schedule medical appointments with him or her.
- Preferred Provider Organization is an acronym for Preferred Provider Organization. You won’t have to choose a PCP with this plan, and you can go to any hospital or doctor as long as it’s a) in your insurance network or b) you’re willing to pay additional out-of-pocket charges. Premiums, on the other hand, are more expensive.
- The term “point of service” is an acronym for “point of sale.” It’s essentially a hybrid of HMO and PPO health plans. You must still choose a PCP and can be treated at any of the POS network’s medical facilities.
For ex-pats living in the United States, international insurance is very common. It’s also known as ex-pat insurance or offshore insurance.
This sort of insurance is designed specifically for foreigners, as the name implies.
One of the best aspects of international insurance is that it provides coverage all around the world.
This means that you can have your medical treatment paid for by your insurance company regardless of where you are in the world, including your own country.
International insurance also offers a variety of programs and alternatives. You can create your own strategy by selecting the following options:
- coverage limit
- area of coverage
You can keep the plan even if you depart the United States.
Many international insurance policies, on the other hand, consider U.S. coverage to be supplementary coverage, resulting in much higher costs.
Nonetheless, it is a popular choice among ex-pats in the United States.
Here’s a quick review of foreign insurance’s benefits and drawbacks.
- It is accessible to everybody.
- You can keep the plan even if you leave the United States.
- As long as it’s mentioned in your coverage area, you can seek treatment anywhere in the globe.
- In your native language, you can communicate with customer support professional.
- You can go to a number of prestigious private hospitals in the United States and have your insurance cover the costs.
- Plans and providers can be tailored to meet your specific requirements.
- The insurance premium, depending on your plan, maybe the most expensive of all insurance options.
- To get the benefits of foreign insurance, you must have a thorough understanding of what you are getting.
- Insurance Companies from Around the World
- Let’s take a deeper look at some of the most well-known insurance companies in the United States that provide foreign health insurance to expats.
Because of their large network and low pricing, GeoBlue International insurance plans are often suggested for expats who need coverage in the United States—as well as U.S. citizens living abroad.
logo of geoblue
They teamed up with Blue Cross Blue Shield, which has a big network that spans all fifty states in the United States.
Its network is so large that it covers a third of the population of the United States.
GeoBlue has a long history of providing generous maximum medical coverage with no limitations for extreme activities.
GeoBlue plans are also reasonably priced. More information about GeoBlue can be found in our review.
Cigna International is a global health insurance company.
Cigna Global is a well-known international ex-pat insurance provider. Many ex-pats will talk about them wherever they are in the world.
logo of geoblue
Cigna’s plans are comprehensive and adaptable, which is one of the main reasons individuals choose it.
To create the ideal plan, you can choose which coverage you require and which you do not.
They also provide excellent customer service and have a global network.
Despite the fact that their plans aren’t the lowest on the market, they’re competitive in terms of premium per coverage.
Cigna’s policies also do not have any age limits.
When purchasing insurance from Cigna Global, you’ll often need to complete the following.
- Choose from three different plans: Silver, Gold, or Platinum.
- Choose between the world including the United States and the world excluding the United States as your coverage area. The cost of coverage in the United States skyrockets.
- Customize your plan by adding or removing services: International Outpatient; International Medical Evacuation (free transportation to healthcare facilities in other regions if needed); International Health and Wellbeing; and International Vision and Dental.
- Select from a variety of cost-sharing and deductible alternatives.
- Cigna provides international coverage in almost 200 countries.
Its coverage covers more than 1.65 million medical professionals and facilities, and it has been in business for 30 years.
For additional details, see our Cigna Global review.
For ex-pats living abroad, IMG International Medical Group (IMG) offers the Global Medical Insurance plan.
IMG’s foreign insurance plans are reasonable because you may choose your deductibles, which range from $100 to $25,000, and this lowers your costs dramatically.
Please keep in mind that if you go to a hospital outside of IMG’s medical network, IMG will only pay 80% of the next US$5,000 in eligible charges before paying everything in full, as long as you stay within your plan’s restrictions.
When you apply for this insurance before reaching 65, you can acquire lifelong coverage and keep it until you’re 75 years old.
After that, you’ll be enrolled in their Global Senior plan, which covers you until you die.
IMG offers a 15-day trial period. After reviewing the policy, you have 15 days to reject it and receive a full refund of your premiums.
IMG has multiple subsidiary companies, including AkesoCareSM, Global Response, and ALC Health, and has been in operation since 1990.
NOW Health NOW Health is a Hong Kong-based multinational insurance provider.
Its WorldCare Plan foreign health insurance plan offers four distinct levels of coverage.