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What our health insurance covers

Cancer treatment for expats

  • Full cover for essential treatments
  • Genome testing, dental treatment and other support included
  • Access to the highest-quality cancer treatment

Why is cancer insurance so important for expats?

Cancer will impact around one in two of us during our lives.

So, when you’ve started a new life overseas, it’s important to know that you and your family can still rely on the highest-quality care and treatment if you need it.

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What cancer care do I get with William Russell?

When you choose international health insurance with William Russell, you’ll receive full cover for cancer treatments on all of our Bronze, SilverLite, Silver and Gold plans – with additional options available on some plans.

In-patient and day-patient treatment received in a recognised mental health unit of a hospital

Cancer treatment

Full cover for chemotherapy, radiotherapy, immunotherapy, consultations, tests, scans and drugs on all plans.

Specialist mental health consultations

Genome testing

Full cover on all plans to sequence the genes of cancer cells.

Medication - Prescribed by a medical doctor or registered psychiatrist.

Additional benefits

Wigs following chemotherapy, counselling, prescribed drugs and dietitian consultations included with all plans.

Want to learn more about other benefits?

Learn more about our plans

What to look out for when it comes to cancer treatment

Cancer treatments are constantly evolving, with many new drugs being approved. Treatment may involve surgery to remove tumours, and can also include chemotherapy, radiotherapy and immunotherapy.

International health insurance from William Russell offers cover for all these types of treatment, as well as tests, scans and drugs.

Looking out for your mental wellbeing, as well as your physical health is important in preparing for any cancer treatment. Cancer Research UK advises a varied diet and trying to stay physically active, to help you cope with any side effects of treatment and improve your long-term health.

Why take expat cancer insurance with William Russell?

Our international health insurance plans offer access to the latest cancer treatments and therapies, giving you the best quality treatment for cancer while you’re living overseas.

This includes:

  • Cancer treatments including chemotherapy, radiotherapy and immunotherapy
  • Consultations
  • Scans, tests and drugs
  • Genome testing
  • Emotional support during treatment and recovery
  • A tailored diet plan
  • Wigs
  • Restorative dental treatment following chemotherapy or radiotherapy

Being diagnosed with cancer is an emotional experience at any time, but expats face additional challenges such as:

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Access to treatment

Difficulty accessing high-quality cancer care in your country of residence.

Language barriers-Adapting to language becomes a cause of new stress in itself

Language barriers

Language and cultural barriers between you and medical staff.

Culture barriers-moving to a foreign country often feels highly precarious

Feeling alone

Feeling isolated from friends and family, or experiencing homesickness while undergoing treatment.

What Sharon, our medical expert, says
"Cancer can affect you anywhere, at any time. We take its diagnosis and treatment very seriously, and our claims team is there to support our cancer patients throughout their treatment. We also cover pioneering treatment such as tumour genome testing."

Cancer care and treatment
as part of your health plan

We’ll help hospital admissions run as smoothly as possible, with a dedicated case manager looking after cancer patients. They will closely monitor treatment plans, liaising with doctors to get clinical updates and making sure the necessary documentation is sent to the hospital in advance.

Any time you need us

You can call our 24/7 emergency medical helpline

Choose your hospital

You're free to choose which hospital you visit for treatment

Worldwide network

We have a worldwide network of hospitals and doctors to call upon

What is covered with cancer care?

When you take out international healthcare insurance with William Russell, you will be covered for:

1/ Cancer treatment

Full cover for treatments including:

  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiotherapy
  • Immunotherapy
  • Consultations
  • Tests
  • Scans
  • Drugs
  • Restorative dental treatment*

*Following chemotherapy or radiotherapy.

2/ Genome Testing

Full cover for cancer genome testing, which sequences the genes of your cancerous cells to help determine the best course of treatment for you.


Help towards the cost of a wig following chemotherapy, up to a lifetime cost of:

  • US$150/GB£100/€113 for Bronze, SilverLite and Silver policy holders
  • US$250/GB£165/€188 for Gold policy holders

4/ Counselling

Consultations with a registered psychologist/counsellor when you’ve received cancer treatment covered by your plan, up to a lifetime limit of 10 consultations and a lifetime cost of:

  • US$500/GB£330/€375 for Bronze, SilverLite and Silver policy holders
  • US$750/GB£500/€563 for Gold policy holders

The price of drugs prescribed by a medical doctor is also included.

5/ Dietitian

Consultation with a registered dietitian when you’ve received cancer treatment covered by your plan, up to a lifetime limit of two consultations and a lifetime cost of:

  • US$100/GB£67/€75 for Bronze, SilverLite and Silver policy holders
  • US$250/GB£165/€188 for Gold policy holders

In addition, your plan may cover you for treatments or surgeries you may need as a result of having had cancer, such as:

6/ Reconstructive surgery

A maximum of two surgeries per lifetime to restore your appearance after a surgical procedure for cancer which was covered by our plan, within two years of the original surgery.

  • In-patient, day-patient and post-hospital treatment received within the 90-day period following the date you are discharged from hospital for Bronze policy holders
  • Full cover for SilverLite, Silver and Gold policy holders

Gold policy holders who have held their policies for at least six months prior to a first diagnosis will also receive a cash benefit payment of US$5,000/£3,330/€3,750 made on diagnosis of any malignant cancer except non-melanoma skin cancer or prostate cancer, except where these have spread to other organs or glands.

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Medical evacuations

As a William Russell policyholder, you have the option to add Medevac Plus to your coverage. This entitles you to a medical evacuation to undergo cancer treatment such as radiotherapy or chemotherapy, where these cannot be adequately provided locally.

If eligible, your medical evacuation will return you either to your country of nationality (if it is within your area of cover), or to your country of residence, excluding the USA. In cases where you’re not eligible, we will instead arrange to evacuate you to the nearest place within your area of cover where appropriate treatment is available.

Learn more about Medevac

How to choose the right international health insurance cover

Here are some of our top tips:

  1. Make sure the plan covers the country where you live. Insurance companies sometimes limit your cover in certain countries. Make sure you’ll be fully covered where you and your family live and work.
  2. Pick the right plan. Health insurance gives you access to private healthcare. Your health plan sets the rules and limits of your access. That’s why it’s important to find a health plan with the benefits you need.
  3. Personalise your plan. Most insurance companies allow you to personalise your health plan. You’ll have options to increase your cover for certain benefits, e.g., dental cover, doctor visits). William Russell also gives you options to save money on your premium.
  4. Pick an excess. After choosing your plan, the excess you select is the most important factor affecting your premium. Most of our members choose a US$250 per annum excess, but larger excesses give a bigger discount on your premium. We offer excesses up to US$10,000 per claim!

FAQs on cancer treatment

Cancer can affect you, wherever you live. According to the World Cancer Research Fund and American Institute for Cancer Research, the countries with the highest proportion of cancer diagnoses are (general average for men and women):

Country Diagnoses per 10,000 population
AustraliaAustralia 468.0
New ZealandNew Zealand 438.1
IrelandIreland 373.7
HungaryHungary 368.1
USAUSA 352.2
BelgiumBelgium 345.8
FranceFrance (metropolitan) 344.1
NorwayNorway 337.8
NetherlandsNetherlands 334.1
CanadaCanada 334.0

There were an estimated 18 million cancer cases around the world in 2018. Of these, 9.5 million cases were in men and 8.5 million were in women.

As a William Russell client, you’re always entitled to access private healthcare in your area of cover.

In some cases, this may open the door for you to receive a higher standard of cancer care than is available through that country’s public healthcare system.

In all cases, William Russell will cover the cost of additional personal expenses you may incur as a result of your cancer treatment, such as the cost of wigs or reconstructive surgery.

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We recommend having Medevac Plus. This entitles you to a medical evacuation to undergo cancer treatment such as radiotherapy or chemotherapy, where these cannot be adequately provided locally.

We will do everything we can to move you to your home country so that you can receive treatment there if:

  • Your country of residence isn’t equipped to handle your specific cancer case, and
  • Your home country is included in your area of cover, and
  • You have the suitable level of Medevac cover

Depending on the circumstances, we may also be able to help with expenses incurred in relocating you.

This excludes the USA, but does include the UK.

More frequently asked questions on international health insurance

Global health insurance (also known as international private medical insurance) gives you access to private healthcare around the world.

While most domestic health plans only cover you in one country, international health plans cover you in multiple (or even all) countries. They’re great for people who live and work abroad, or who spend lots of time travelling. Some international medical plans also include emergency medical evacuation cover so you can access urgent treatment even if it’s not available in your location.

Find out more

With Medevac Plus, you will be entitled to a medical evacuation to undergo cancer treatment such as radiotherapy or chemotherapy, where these cannot be adequately provided locally.

Depending on your level of cover, we will always try to accommodate a companion on your medical evacuation. We may be able to cover:

  • Their travel expenses, which will include an economy-class return ticket in either the type of transport that you take, or on an appropriate alternative.
  • Their accommodation expenses, for up to 15 nights during the period of cover in a suitable hotel.

Find out more about emergency medical evacuation

In most cases, we can only provide insurance to expats. By expat, we mean people living and working outside of their country of nationality (e.g., a Dutch national living in Taiwan or a Canadian national living in India).

Typically, our members reside permanently in a foreign country. But we can sometimes provide cover to people expecting to spend at least 6 months of the year living or travelling abroad. In certain countries, we can cover people living in the same country that issues their passport. These countries are Botswana, Kenya, Nigeria, Mauritius, Estonia and Malawi.

We can provide plans to people of all nationalities in most countries around the world. You must be under age 76 when your plan starts, and you must be living or working in a country different from your country of nationality.

Definition of an 'expat'

Making a claim with us is really easy.

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.

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