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Frequently Asked Questions

Buying health insurance can be confusing. There are lots of providers and health plans out there, each with different benefits, different perks – and different insurance jargon. To make things worse, healthcare experiences vary across the world; what works in one country won’t necessarily work in others! We want you to make informed decisions about your healthcare. That’s why we’re committed to being upfront and transparent about our health plans, what you’re covered for, and how we calculate your premium.

International health insurance gives you access to private healthcare around the world. While most domestic health plans only cover you in one country, international 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 health insurance plans also include emergency medical evacuation so you can access urgent treatment even if it’s not available in your location.

It depends on the policy you buy and the insurance provider you buy it from. Most international health insurance includes cover for medical treatment you receive when you’re admitted to hospital, plus cover for serious issues such as cancer and mental health. Other international health insurance includes cover for everyday visits to your doctor or pharmacy. Generally speaking, plans with higher levels of cover will come at a higher cost. Most international health insurance doesn’t cover pre-existing medical conditions – conditions you had before you took out the plan – as standard. To make sure your William Russell plan suits your needs, you can customise it with a range of optional extras, such as cover for dental treatment.

International health insurance is generally more expensive than local health insurance. Local health insurance only gives you cover in a single country, but with international health insurance you have cover in multiple countries and cover for emergency medical evacuation if you need treatment that isn’t available where you are. How much you pay depends on your circumstances.

At William Russell, the most important factors when we calculate your insurance premium are your age and where you live. Premiums tend to increase as you get older, and will be higher in countries or regions where the cost of private healthcare is higher. However, your claims history won’t affect your insurance premium, and we don’t take your credit score into account.

How We Calculate Your Health Insurance Premium

You can choose between individual health insurance, family or business health insurance plans. All plans include international cover, generous benefits for hospital costs, cancer treatment, and emergency medical evacuation.

International health insurance and travel insurance are designed for different purposes. Travel insurance protects you and your possessions while you’re travelling abroad, and there may be some limited cover for emergency medical treatment. International health insurance covers you for medical treatment you receive while you’re at home and abroad, and not just for emergency treatment.

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Pre-existing medical conditions are conditions that exist before the proposed start date of your plan.

Like most health insurance providers, our plans do not cover pre-existing medical conditions.

We can only accept applications for international health insurance if you’re under the age of 75. However, once you’re a member with William Russell, you can renew your health plan for as long as you need—even if your state of health deteriorates.

All our plans include cover for emergency in-patient dental treatment. We also have options for routine dental care on our Silver and Gold plans.

International health insurance may be suitable for expats living and working abroad or people needing cover for private healthcare in multiple countries. We provide cover for expat families and individuals, international citizens, remote workers, frequent travellers, start-up companies, global businesses, governmental organisations, and non-governmental organisations.

The right excess for you depends on your needs. We see the excess as a partnership between you and us. A higher excess helps us reduce our spending on medical treatment, and we pass on savings to your premium. So—as a rule of thumb, a higher excess means a lower premium.

Choosing An Excess

There are quite a few things worth checking. First, you might want to check the insurance company behind the plan. People generally prefer a reputable insurance company with a good financial strength rating. The insurer of our plans is AWP Health & Life SA, a French insurer that’s part of the Allianz group of companies. Secondly, you might want to check the geographical limits of your cover. Will you be covered for private healthcare when you travel home? Will you be covered when you travel for holidays? Thirdly, you should check whether the cover the health plan offers meets your needs and circumstances.

With direct billing we have an arrangement with hospitals and clinics where we pay for medical treatment directly. This means you won’t be out of pocket for your treatment costs. It comes as standard on all our health plans when you’re admitted to a hospital in our medical network for in-patient or day-patient treatment. You can also choose direct billing for out-patient treatment with some plans if you’re living in a country where direct billing is common. This means we’ll settle your bills for doctor and specialist consultations directly with the clinic.

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Local healthcare systems vary, and you may find that medical treatment you need urgently is not available locally. In these cases, we’ll evacuate you by land, sea or air to the nearest suitable location.

We’ll evacuate you for life-threatening or limb-threatening conditions, and there’s also an option for evacuations for cancer treatment and advanced diagnostic tests.

Once we have your completed digital application form, it usually takes 2 days to get your plan started.

Our dedicated onboarding team is on hand to help you choose the right plan and guide you through the medical questionnaire.

Even if you have health insurance in your home country it’s unlikely that it covers you for medical treatment abroad. If you want access to private healthcare with English-speaking doctors, you’ll need some form of international health insurance. You’ll find that some travel insurance plans include some temporary cover for medical treatment. Our plans include cover for serious conditions such as cancer and heart disease, childbirth, and emergency medical evacuation.

We can provide plans to people of all nationalities in most countries around the world . You must be under age 70 when your plan starts, and you must be living or working in a country different from your country of nationality.

While you must be under age 70 when your plan starts, you can renew your plan for as long as you need it. Once your plan has started, we won’t ask you to answer medical questions each year – even if your health deteriorates.

Once your plan has started, we won’t ask you to answer medical questions each year —even if your health deteriorates.

If you want to keep your health insurance cover, you must renew your plan each year. Renewing your plan is straightforward, and it usually happens automatically.

Your insurance premium is likely to increase each year. However, when you’re a member with William Russell the number of claims you make doesn’t affect your renewal, and we won’t need to ask to answer medical questions when your plan renews.

Countries like the UK, New Zealand and Italy have public healthcare systems funded by national insurance contributions from taxpayers. However, these services may not be fully available to people who aren’t citizens of the country, so having international health insurance may still be necessary. It can also offer other benefits, including access to doctors who speak your language and medical evacuation or repatriation if urgent treatment isn’t available where you are.

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