Purchasing international health insurance can be confusing. There are just so many providers and policies out there, each with different benefits, coverage options, insurance jargon, and service promises. Read on to find out what we cover to match your needs.
What does an international health insurance plan cover?
International health insurance is quite different from holiday or business travel insurance. It’s designed for expats or remote workers living permanently abroad, or for people who spend a great deal of the year travelling. Plus, healthcare systems vary from one country to another. Just because one health insurance plan is appropriate for living in one country, it doesn’t mean that it’s the right fit for another.
We’ve designed our international health insurance around modern expat living. Whether you’re a single professional in Sub-Saharan Africa or you’re a large family in Southeast Asia, together we can build the right cover for you. We have plenty of options to personalise your plans, so you can find the cover that suits your circumstances.
What does a William Russell insurance plan cover?
Once you’ve decided you might need international health insurance, your next challenge is picking the appropriate health plan. You want to get this one right, so you’ll need to think about your circumstances and requirements.
On the one hand, you don’t want to find out after one or two years that you’ve been paying for cover that you don’t really need
On the other hand, you don’t want to find out at the hospital that your health plan doesn’t cover the treatment programme that you’re starting the next day
We’ve organised our international health insurance into four standard plans. These plans describe what you’ll be covered for and what you won’t be covered for.
Annual benefit limit
Mental health treatment
Trips to the doctor
For post-hospital treatment only
Pregnancy & childbirth
Once you’ve picked your standard plan, you can personalise your cover with optional benefits and excesses, but for now—let’s focus on the plans’ healthcare benefits.
As the names of the health plans suggest, some are more comprehensive (and thus extensive) than others. But all the plans include the same essential benefits:
1/ When you’re admitted to hospital
When people think of health insurance, they tend to think about hospital and hospital treatment. Some insurance providers have their own network of hospitals, which means you can only use the hospitals permitted by your provider. We don’t place any such restrictions on where you receive your medical treatment. This means you’ll always have access to the top-rated hospitals and medical clinics within your area of cover.
When you’re admitted to a hospital for treatment, we’ll cover you for:
Your accommodation costs
Surgeon, anesthetist & doctor’s fees
Drugs & surgical dressings
Operating theatre charges
Pathology, X-rays, scans & diagnostic tests
We have close relationships with over 40,000 hospitals around the world and settle your medical bills directly with the hospital, so you won’t be left out-of-pocket
Cancer can affect you anywhere, at any time. So no matter which health plan you select, we’re committed to providing the strongest benefits to give you the best chance of overcoming cancer.
When you need treatment for cancer, we’ll cover you for:
Tests, scans, and cancer drugs
Consultations (both as an out-patient and an in-patient)
Restorative dental treatment following chemotherapy or radiotherapy
Reconstructive surgery to restore your appearance1
We’ll also cover you for cancer genome testing, which sequences the genes of your cancerous cells to help determine the best course of treatment for you.
Finally, cancer is a condition that patients must often learn to live with. So we give you benefits for wigs following chemotherapy, counselling with a psychologist, and consultations with a dietitian.
3/ Doctor visits
International health insurance isn’t just for serious health issues. What about when you just want to pop to the local doctor’s surgery or the pharmacy? All our plans include cover for out-patient treatment (i.e. medical treatment for which you don’t need to be admitted to hospital).
All the plans provide cover for the following common out-patient treatments2:
Doctor visits & specialist consultations
Diagnostic tests (X-rays, MRI scans, CAT scans)
Emergency treatment you receive in the emergency ward of a hospital
What happens if you have a medical emergency and the treatment that you urgently need isn’t available locally? With one of our health plans, we’ll evacuate you by road, sea or air if you suffer a life-threatening or limb-threatening condition that requires an immediate hospital treatment that is not possible locally. We’ll evacuate you to the nearest location within your area of cover where you can get the medical treatment that you need.
But that’s not all you’ll need when you have an emergency medical evacuation. All of our health plans include the following additional benefits:
Access to a 24-hour medical assistance helpline
Return airfare to your country of residence following your evacuation
Travel & accommodation expenses of a companion while you’re hospitalised following your emergency
We’ve seen the essential benefits common to all the health plans. Now, let’s take a look at what sets each of them apart…
We designed the value plans (Bronze, SilverLite) for people who require cost-effective cover against the serious health issues. Private healthcare and health insurance are both expensive, so these value plans aim to keep costs down by focusing on what’s most important.
Typically the value plans cover you for hospital costs, with semi-private accommodation included as standard. Though we always cover out-patient costs for cancer treatment, with the value plans there is only limited cover for other out-patient treatment. With the Bronze plan, we’ll only cover you for out-patient treatment that you receive following your discharge from hospital, while the SilverLite plan gives you a small amount of cover for doctor visits and everyday medical costs.
For this reason, the value plans are most popular with younger, healthier expats who tend to be less concerned about healthcare or people who live in countries with a well-developed public healthcare system.
The Bronze plan can be a good option for people who just want emergency coverage, and is often take with a relatively high excess
The SilverLiteplan can be a good option for people who don’t expect to visit the doctor often
The comprehensive plans (Silver, Gold) give you a wider range of cover for health conditions and treatments, and the benefits generally come with higher annual limits.
You’ll have all the benefits included with the value plans, plus full cover for treatment you receive as an out-patient. You’ll also have cover for private accommodation during hospital stays, mental health treatment, complementary therapies, and cover for well-being and preventive care. The Gold plan also includes cover for basic dental costs, pregnancy, and routine childbirth.
The comprehensive plans are most popular with middle-aged and older expats who tend to be more concerned about healthcare.
The Silver plan can be a good option for families with young children or for people who expect regular visits to the doctor or pharmacy each year
The Gold plan is a good option for people looking to start a family or for people who require the highest level of cover
No matter which health plan you choose with William Russell, you’ll always enjoy the following membership perks:
24-hour medical helpline
Want to know more? Check out our step by step guide on
We want to provide you with an insurance policy you can rely on, so it is important that you fully understand the scope of the cover we provide. Answers to the most common questions on our international health insurance plans are here, but feel free to get in touch and speak to our team. We’d be glad to help.
As stated in the table of benefits, there are certain benefits and treatments for which you must obtain pre-authorisation.
If you need to claim for a benefit or treatment for which you must obtain pre-authorisation, you must contact us in advance of starting your treatment and give us all the information we
require to assess if your proposed treatment will be eligible for cover under your plan.
If your proposed treatment is eligible for cover, we will pre-authorise all eligible expenses. We will not pay for any treatment costs or expenses that have not been preauthorised by us in advance.
You must be under 76 years of age at the commencement date of your plan.
You may apply for cover on behalf of your spouse or partner (provided they are under 76 years of age) and/or on behalf of your unmarried children, provided they are aged less than 18 years old,
or less than 25 years old if in continuous full-time education.
Choosing international health insurance? Choose an insurer with 30 years’ experience
In 2022, William Russell celebrated 30 years of helping expatriates like you to settle into their new lives overseas by providing world-class global health insurance in over 200 countries.
No matter where you go, and no matter what your individual requirements, you can take one thing off your mind. William Russell offers international health insurance that covers you for everything from minor injuries to long hospital stays, and we can even offer medical evacuations to patients who require treatment in other countries.
Notes on the health plans
You won’t find complete information for our plans on this webpage, nor the full T&Cs, limitations, and exclusions that would apply if you purchase one. You can find complete information in the plan agreement, which we suggest you read together with this webpage. All the benefits on this webpage are per member per period of cover, unless we state otherwise. We show the benefit limits in US dollars, but we can also denominate your plan in pounds sterling or Euros.
Hong Kong residents
If you’re resident in Hong Kong, the health plans are slightly different for you:
SilverLite is not available if you live in Hong Kong
Coverage for out-patient treatment is slightly different for residents of Hong Kong
There is a co-insurance for all hospital treatment at the three most expensive hospitals in Hong Kong
For full details, please contact us about the health plans available for Hong Kong residents.
If you’re resident in the UAE, the health plans are also slightly different for you:
SilverLite and Bronze are not available if you live in the UAE
The health plans comply with the UAE Government’s minimum standards, including pregnancy care, out-patient costs, and well-being costs
Members have access to a network in hospitals throughout the UAE
For full details, please contact us about the health plans available for UAE residents.
References 1 With the Bronze plan, you’re only covered for out-patient treatment related to reconstructive surgeries that you receive in the 90-day period following your discharge from hospital
2 With the Bronze plan, you’re only covered for certain out-patient treatments in the 90-day period following your discharge from hospital. With the SilverLite plan, there is an annual limit on how much out-patient treatment you can receive.
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