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What our health insurance covers

Hospital cover for expats

  • Cover for the entire duration of your hospital stay
  • Private or semi-private hospital room
  • Up to 60 days of hospital cash benefit

Why is hospital insurance so important for expats?

It’s well-known that healthcare in many countries – including the USA, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Thailand – can be staggeringly expensive.

As an expatriate, you could be in line for exorbitant costs if you don’t have the right level of cover.

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What is hospital cover for expats?

International hospital insurance covers you for a range of services received from a hospital, anywhere in the world. It insures you for the duration of your stay in the hospital, plus ambulance transfers, and any essential treatments or drugs.

The types of treatment you should expect to find covered by your hospital insurance plan include:

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Covers the duration of your stay in hospital, whether you are a day-patient or in-patient.

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

Accommodation for parents

If you are a parent of a child under 18 years old who is admitted to hospital, you will also receive accommodation in the hospital.

Ambulance transfers

When your journey to the hospital requires a local air ambulance.

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


Covers services not specifically intended to improve your condition, such as X-rays, diagnostic tests, nursing care, drugs and so on.

Want to learn more about other benefits?

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Which hospital treatments does William Russell international health insurance cover?

We want your stay in hospital to be as comfortable as possible. That’s why, with William Russell’s international health insurance policy, you are covered for:

  • the entire duration of your hospital stay in a private or semi-private hospital room
  • inpatient treatments covered
  • ambulance transfer if required
  • up to 60 days of hospital cash benefit
It’s reassuring that when I had my surgery, the money side of things was being handled in a completely professional manner.
P.C., China
William Russell Member

You don’t need to worry about when, where, or how you ended up in hospital. Our international health insurance policy covers you anywhere in the world and will provide the most comprehensive cover possible to ensure your treatment is the best it can be.

Here is a breakdown of what your William Russell international health insurance covers by way of hospital costs:

Hospital accommodation

While receiving treatment for certain conditions, you may have to stay in a hospital for several days or weeks. In these situations, we will endeavour to make your stay as comfortable as possible by ensuring you have a private or semi-private hospital room for the duration of your stay.

Tier Bronze SilverLite Silver Gold
Semi-private hospital room
Private hospital room
with upgrade

with upgrade

Accommodation in a private hospital room is only available under the Bronze and SilverLite plans if you have selected this option.
Every private hospital room will include a personal en-suite bath or shower room, while semi-private hospital rooms will include semi-private en-suite bath and shower rooms.

Accommodation for parents

If the person staying in a hospital is under 18 years of age, one parent will be permitted to stay with them for the duration of their treatment. Parent accommodation is provided with full cover as standard at all tiers.

Local ambulance transfer

If your journey to your nearest available hospital requires a transfer by ambulance, all necessary journeys, including treatment received inside that ambulance, will be covered. In situations where a journey to hospital cannot be made by road, this policy will cover the cost of an air ambulance transfer. Ambulance cover extends up to:

Bronze SilverLite Silver Gold
Up to US$1,600/£1,065/€1,200 per period of cover


Hospital treatment

While staying in hospital, you’re likely to have routine medical procedures rather than treatments designed to specifically treat a disease or infirmity. These treatments will be covered by your hospital treatment plan.

The range of treatments you could expect to receive includes:

  • Fees for surgeons, anaesthetists, and doctors
  • Nursing care
  • Drugs
  • Surgical dressings
  • Operating theatre charges
  • Intensive care charges
  • Pathology
  • X-rays
  • Scans
  • Diagnostic tests
  • Physiotherapy

This cover also extends to surgical removal, either as an in-patient or day-patient, of impacted, buried or unerupted wisdom teeth, where the procedure is carried out by a doctor (not a dentist) in a hospital under general anaesthetic.

All levels of plan provide full cover for hospital treatment costs.

Hospital cash benefit

The hospital cash benefit is a benefit that can be claimed if you choose to use a facility that is free such as state care. For example, if you were in the UK and needed an operation but instead of going private you used the NHS, you could then claim for hospital cash for each night as we wouldn’t be paying for the claim itself.

It is payable for each night spent in a hospital when you receive treatment eligible for cover by your plan for which no charge is made by the hospital. Benefit is paid for up to a maximum of 60 nights per period of cover. If selected, your excess will not be applied to this benefit.

Bronze SilverLite Silver Gold
US$150/£100/€113 per night US$200/£132/€150 per night US$200/£132/€150 per night US$350/£231/€263 per night
What Sharon, our medical expert, says
“All our plans provide comprehensive benefits for when you’re admitted to hospital for an illness or injury as an in-patient or day-patient.”

Why choose
William Russell?

At William Russell, we have nearly 30 years of helping expatriates settle into their new lives overseas by providing world-class international health insurance.

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

Enjoy peace of mind, no matter where you live and work abroad

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How to choose the right international hospital 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 annum.

FAQs on hospital insurance

Choosing international health insurance gives you total peace of mind – knowing that your hospital stay will be covered. That way, you can relax and focus on your treatment, rather than worrying about the cost.

With ambulance transfers, medical procedures, drugs, and nursing included in your policy, plus a hospital cash benefit to cover your expenses, you’ll be able to call on the level of support you need, when you need it.

Our hospital care insurance promises you a stay in either a semi-private (Bronze and SilverLite) or private (Silver and Gold) hospital room with en-suite facilities, so you can experience the benefit of added peace and dignity during your stay.

While we can’t promise you “better” care, we can promise the highest possible standard in any given situation.

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Hospital insurance does not cover the cost of specific treatments. These will be covered by other parts of your health insurance policy, according to the level of cover you have taken out.

For instance, if you receive cancer treatment while at a hospital, this will be covered by your cancer care policy rather than your expat hospital stay policy.

You will therefore need to make sure your policy extends to any areas you may require, such as maternity care and mental health.

In general, expatriates are recommended to take out domestic insurance while living in the USA. Because of the extremely high cost of healthcare, we have included the United States as an optional country with our global health insurance policies.

There are certain unique restrictions that apply to these policies which you will need to be aware of before travelling to the United States.

Learn more about USA hospital care cover

The simple answer is that you will be entitled to receive treatment, but you will be liable for the full cost of that treatment.

This includes situations where you are taken to hospital without your consent, for instance, if you are unconscious at the time of arrival.

If you don’t have insurance, you will be liable to pay the full cost for all medical services upon completion of your treatment, including doctors’ bills, nursing, drugs, procedures and treatments, accommodation, and any other expenses.

This could potentially be a huge sum of money – one you never even agreed to pay. This is why it’s essential to have insurance, so that you’re covered for any eventuality while living abroad.

In 2021, William Russell revealed the eye-watering costs of healthcare bills around the world. Among the highest claims we paid out in 2019–2020 included:

  • US$393,998 for cancer treatment in Hong Kong
  • US$8,336 for dental treatment in Indonesia
  • US$6,806.91 for diabetes care in Thailand

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.

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This will always depend on the specific laws governing a country, however in the United States – as one example of a country where all healthcare is self-funded – all people, regardless of their insurance status, are entitled to receive emergency medical care as and when they need it.

In other words, it would be deemed potentially illegal for a medical professional to deny treatment to someone in need because they were uninsured.

However, as you might have guessed, the problem comes much later. If you are uninsured, and have to receive emergency medical treatment, you are likely to leave hospital with a substantial bill, which you may end up paying off over several years.

Some people have been thrust into financial hardship by the astronomical costs of healthcare in some countries, so it’s always highly recommended that you take out insurance.

Once again, the laws will be different depending on which country. But in the USA, once you are receiving treatment in a hospital, and if you are deemed to be in need of that treatment, the hospital is obligated to treat you.

If the hospital is aware that you are uninsured, they may consult with you about a reduced service, or recommend you to a different hospital, but they cannot refuse to serve you once you have started treatment.

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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Important notes
You must obtain pre-authorisation for all benefits in this section.