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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! Here, we translate the jargon, explain health plan differences and how these vary across the world. We are transparent about our international health plans, what you’re covered for, and how we calculate your premium.

There are three main types of international health insurance with William Russell. 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.

quick guide to insurance jargon

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.

Find out more about international health insurance

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.

What Our International Health Insurance Covers

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 A Health Insurance Excess

Direct billing is 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.

Medical evacuation is when you are transported to an appropriate hospital or medical facility. This could be by road, sea or air with life-saving medical equipment in the vehicle. If you become seriously ill or injured while working on a remote island, for example, you may be flown by air ambulance or private plane to a hospital in the nearest city on the mainland.
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.

It takes less than 3 minutes to fill in our online quote for international health insurance.
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.

where do we offer cover

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 international 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 slightly each year, which is normal in the health cover industry. 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. This helps us continue to support you through life’s twists and turns, from pregnancy to surprise diagnoses.

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.

Our international health policies don’t include a no-claim bonus, since we don’t want to discourage members from having medical treatment. On the flipside, we do not penalise members at their plan renewal if they claim for treatment. Things are slightly different if you live in Hong Kong. We do offer a low claims discount to our members living in Hong Kong.

We speak in plain English, but sometimes insurance terms are inevitable. We’ve put together a quick glossary of the most important insurance terms.

We work with one of the leading independent review collectors, Feefo, to collect our reviews. You can see what our members are saying about right now.

You can also read more here about why our customers stick with us.

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