Where will I have international health insurance cover?
With a global medical insurance, you have access to private healthcare in multiple countries. That’s why international insurance is an excellent choice for people who live and work abroad, or who spend much of the year travelling for business or pleasure. But what does ‘international’ really mean? Is it all countries, or just some? How can you be confident that you’ll be covered when and where you need it? In this guide, we take a closer look at the different international coverage options you can choose with William Russell. We call these options ‘areas of cover’.
What does ‘area of cover’ mean?
The area of cover means the territorial limits of your cover under your health insurance plan. Each area of cover has clear rules on the countries you have cover in (and how much), and the countries where you have no cover.
All our plans give you international cover
Our health plans are designed for expats, a demographic of people with travel in their DNA. For this reason, all our health plans come with international cover as standard.
International cover is, of course, marvellous! But it creates a challenge for insurance providers: how do we calculate premiums fairly for customers living in different countries?
With fully worldwide cover, it’s entirely possible that two customers in Canada and Vietnam could travel to each other’s country for medical treatment. Yet, it’s far more likely that the Canada resident will stay in Canada for their treatment (where costs are higher) while the Vietnam resident will stay in Vietnam for their treatment (where costs are lower).
So, while both of these customers have the same area of cover (worldwide), the expected costs are likely to be very different. How can we calculate premiums that are fair for both customers living in countries where private healthcare is expensive and customers living in countries where it’s cheaper?
We deal with this challenge in two ways:
- We calculate premiums according to the country where you live, so you don’t pay over the odds for the private healthcare available in your country
- We have different areas of cover so you can minimise the impact of expensive private healthcare in countries (that perhaps you’re not planning to visit) on your premiums
|Zone 1||Zone 2||Zone 3|
|Worldwide cover (excl. the USA)||Full cover in most countries, limited cover where private healthcare is expensive & no cover in the USA||Special area of cover for residents in Indonesia, with limited cover where private healthcare is expensive & no cover in the USA|
Zone 1 (worldwide excluding the United States of America)
Zone 1 means full cover for private healthcare in all countries in the world, except the USA. And what’s more, you have the freedom to choose any hospital, clinic or doctor for your medical treatment.
“Freedom to choose any hospital, anywhere in the world (except the USA)”
By any, we mean any. We’re quite different from other insurance providers because we don’t have a restrictive network of preferred hospitals and clinics in each country. You’re free to choose the best hospitals where you live. Or, if you wish to have treatment at home, you can travel home.
Plus, if you suffer an illness or injury where the urgent hospital treatment you need is not available locally, we evacuate you to the nearest suitable hospital.*
So, why don’t we cover you in the USA? It’s no secret that private healthcare costs in the USA are astronomical. And only a fraction of our members needs cover there. So, rather than make all members pay for something they don’t need, we exclude cover in the USA from our premium calculation algorithms.
Zone 1 is available to everyone, no matter where they live.
*It’s important to note that we don’t cover evacuations from, within or to the USA.
Zone 2 (full cover in most countries, limited cover where private healthcare is expensive)
As a rule of thumb, the cost of private healthcare drives the cost of health insurance premiums. So, if you have truly worldwide cover, it’s likely that expensive private healthcare in cities like Vancouver, Hong Kong and Singapore is putting pressure on your insurance premiums.
But if you live in a country where private healthcare is less expensive (e.g., Kenya, Vietnam), why pay for cover in more expensive countries that you may never even visit?
Zone 2 can help by limiting your cover in countries where private healthcare is expensive to accident & emergency treatment only. In return, you can save up to 20% on your insurance premium.
So, what does international cover look like with Zone 2?
|Most countries around the world||Countries where private healthcare is expensive|
*Here’s the definitive list of where your cover is limited to accident & emergency treatment with Zone 2: United Kingdom, all countries in the European Economic Area, Andorra, the Channel Islands, Gibraltar, Greenland, Monaco, San Marino, Switzerland, the UAE, Singapore, Thailand, China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the Caribbean countries and islands.
Of course, Zone 2 is only available if you live in a country where private healthcare is less expensive. It’s designed for expats living in Latin America, Africa, the Indian Subcontinent, and Southeast Asia who don’t really need cover in countries and regions where private healthcare is expensive (e.g., Europe, East Asia).
Zone 2 wouldn’t work well for residents of Hong Kong or France, because they’d only have cover for accident & emergency treatment where they live and work.
Okay then, so what kind of saving can you expect on your premium with Zone 2?
- 20% on personal health plans with Zone 2 (compared to Zone 1)
- 20% on health plans for businesses with Zone 2 (compared to Zone 1)
Zone 3 (special area of cover for people living in Indonesia)
The ideas behind Zone 3 and Zone 2 are similar: we help you to reduce your premium by limiting your cover in countries where private healthcare is expensive. But there are a few crucial differences:
- Zone 3 is only available if you live in Indonesia
- The countries where you have limited cover under your health plan are different
- The cover limitations in those countries are different
Why is there a special area of cover for people living in Indonesia?
Indonesia is one of the largest countries in Southeast Asia by population, and its popular with expats and tourists alike. It might surprise you to know that there are hundreds of companies in Bali operating in the health insurance industry!
But Indonesia poses a unique challenge for health insurance companies. It’s an archipelago of islands like Bali, some of which are incredibly remote and many of which have limited healthcare systems. As a result, island residents must often travel to Jakarta for medical treatment.
Sometimes, expats prefer to travel to foreign cities like Singapore and Hong Kong for their medical treatment. While there is nothing wrong with this practice (if international travel is medically safe), it does cause a problem for insurance providers.
Private healthcare in cities like Singapore is considerably more expensive than in Jakarta. So, we need a way to calculate premiums that are fair for expats who are happy to stay in Indonesia for most (if not all) of their medical treatment.
That’s where Zone 3 comes in. It’s perfect for expats in Indonesia who are happy to receive their medical treatment in Indonesia (or other countries in Southeast Asia where private healthcare is less expensive). In return for a 20% premium discount, Zone 3 limits the cover you receive in China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Japan, Singapore, Switzerland and the London area.
Where is my cover limited with Zone 3?
Here’s the definitive list of where your cover is limited with Zone 3: China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Japan, Singapore, Switzerland and the London area. There is no cover at all in the USA.
How is my cover limited in those countries?
There are two different limitations. In the countries listed above, you have:
- 80% cover for elective treatment costs
- 100% cover for accident & emergency treatment (up to US$100,000)
So, what kind of saving can you expect if you choose Zone 3?
- 15% on personal health plans with Zone 3 (compared to Zone 1)
- 15% on health plans for businesses with Zone 3 (compared to Zone 1)
Cover in the United States of America
Most of our members will never need cover for private healthcare in the USA. So, rather than making them pay for something they’d never use, we’ve made cover in the USA optional.
The two options below might be useful if you make regular business trips or holidays into the USA. Alternatively, if you’re a US citizen and you’re lapsing your domestic insurance, you might want some cover for trips home.
It’s important to note that the options only give you cover on temporary trips to the USA. However, there is no limit to the number of trips you can make in a single year. Final detail: the USA options are also only available if you choose Zone 1 as your area of cover.
The USA options are also only available if you choose Zone 1 as your area of cover.
This option gives you cover for private healthcare in the USA while you’re making a temporary trip of up to 45 days. The overall amount we pay towards your treatment is US$250,000 each year, but there are two important caveats:
- We only pay for medically-necessary treatment you receive in the USA up to US$100,000
- We pay up to US$250,000 for accident & emergency treatment that you receive in the USA as long as you’ve never suffered from that condition before starting your trip
Even with the USA-45 option, we don’t cover you for emergency medical evacuations to, from or within the USA.
This option gives you cover for private healthcare in the USA while you’re making a temporary trip of up to 90 days. The overall amount we pay towards your treatment is US$250,000 each year, and that includes both medically-necessary treatment and accident & emergency treatment.
Even with the USA-90 option, we don’t cover you for emergency medical evacuations to, from or within the USA.
If you live in a Southeast Asian country like Malaysia or Vietnam (where private healthcare is less expensive), Zone 2 might be a good place to start. You have full cover in most Southeast Asian countries and cover for accident & emergencies when travelling in Europe and East Asia. Plus, you save up to 20% on your premium.
If you live in Singapore and Thailand, your only option is Zone 1. This is because private healthcare in Singapore and Thailand is expensive (almost as much as Hong Kong, Europe and Canada for certain treatments).
If you live in Indonesia, you can choose any of the three area of cover options. The right option for you depends on your preferences:
- If you want to keep things simple and you have the budget, Zone 1 gives you worldwide cover except the USA. This means you have full cover if you wish to travel to Singapore or Thailand for treatment.
- If you want to save money on your premium, you can consider Zones 2 and 3. These give you full cover in Indonesia and most Southeast Asian countries, but limited cover in places like Hong Kong and Singapore.
East Asia (also known as the Far East) typically includes the following countries: China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, South Korea, Mongolia and Japan.
Suppose you live in South Korea or Mongolia. In that case, you could consider Zone 2, which gives you full cover in those two countries and accident & emergency cover elsewhere in the region and when you travel to regions where private healthcare is expensive (e.g., Europe, Australia).
If you live in another East Asian country (e.g., China, Japan), Zone 1 is the only available option, which gives you full cover worldwide except the USA.
The Indian Subcontinent typically includes the following countries: India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Nepal and the Maldives.
If you’re looking for cover while you’re living, working and traveling in the Indian Subcontinent, then Zone 2 might be a good option for you. You have full cover across the Subcontinent, Africa and Southeast Asia, and limited cover for treatment when you’re travelling in countries where private healthcare is expensive.
If you require full cover in Europe and the more expensive locations in Southeast Asia and East Asia, then Zone 1 might be best for you.
If you’re only looking for cover while you’re living, working and travelling in the African continent, then Zone 2 might be a good option for you. You have full cover in all African countries, full cover if you travel to India for treatment, and cover for accident & emergency treatment when travelling in countries where private healthcare is expensive.
If you require full cover in Europe and the more expensive locations in Southeast Asia and East Asia, then Zone 1 might be best for you.
If you’re only looking for cover while you’re living, working and travelling in Latin America continent, then Zone 2 might be a good option for you. You’ll have full cover in all Central and South American countries (including Mexico). You also have cover for accident and emergency treatment in Canada and the Caribbean.
Suppose you’re looking for cover in the USA. In that case, you can consider Zone 1 with one of the options for temporary cover in the USA.
Europe & the United Kingdom
If you live in Europe or the UK, Zone 1 is the only available option, which gives you full cover worldwide except the USA.
Notes on the areas of cover
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.