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Medical insurance for professionals abroad

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International medical insurance for professionals, individuals and frequent flyers

Falling ill or injured when you’re an expat overseas can be highly stressful, so it’s important to know you can access healthcare if you need it. Are you moving abroad for a fixed-term contract or a permanent position? Or perhaps you’re already based overseas, and you’re looking for the right international medical insurance plan? It’s worth spending some time choosing the right health insurance for living abroad.

Whether you’re a professional living or working abroad or you travel a lot on your own, international medical insurance can take care of your medical and healthcare needs. Our health plans for expats are flexible and personalised.

How does international medical insurance for individuals work?

International medical insurance is specially designed for professionals and frequent flyers living and working in other countries. With each country having its own unique health system, taking out international private medical insurance (IPMI) is the best (and sometimes only) way to guarantee you’ll have the coverage you need, when you need it.

With international medical insurance you can access high-quality private healthcare around the world. Many expats have health insurance for peace of mind should they need urgent medical care while living or working abroad. It covers you for a wide range of medical needs, including:

Knowing your healthcare needs are taken care of can help you enjoy your time overseas to the full. Here are the main benefits that our plans give you:

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Excellent customer service

For three decades, William Russell has specialised in providing international medical insurance to expats around the globe.

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Plan tailored to your needs

Get the plan to suit your lifestyle, with a choice of plan level, excess and cover zone, and lower-cost options.

Modern benefits to keep you healthy

Our product teams keep an eye on global healthcare, looking out for breakthroughs in medical science and monitoring trends.

Most people have a limited impression of insurance companies – but William Russell definitely changed this impression for me. Extremely impressed and definitely do not hesitate to recommend!
D.P., Thailand
William Russell Member

Will my international medical insurance plan work internationally?

We provide health insurance to expats in over 150 countries. Our plans are created especially for expats, and, unlike domestic healthcare insurance, will cover you in multiple countries.

It’s important to know what type of healthcare system a country has before moving there. There are four main healthcare systems worldwide. In countries that rely on private (‘out-of-pocket’) healthcare, taking insurance might save you money on future medical care.

What do you cover with your international medical insurance plans?

Our plans are flexible and personalised, so coverage is bespoke to you and your needs. The range of illnesses covered is extensive and, depending on your level of cover, you could access a variety of treatments for conditions including cancer, transplants, kidney dialysis and more. All our plans include emergency medical evacuation as standard. In general, you can expect to be covered for being admitted to hospital and serious issues such as cancer. Most plans don’t cover pre-existing health conditions, so check before you decide on a plan.





Annual benefit limit
Hospital accommodation
Semi-private room
Semi-private room
Private room
Private room
Hospital treatment
Cancer treatment
Mental health treatment lifetime sublimit
Vaccinations for kids and adults
Out-patient treatment annual sublimit
No limit*
Up to US$10,000
No limit
No limit
Preventive health & well-being benefits
Routine dental care
Routine maternity care
Emergency medical evacuation

Certain benefits in this table of benefits specify a waiting period. You must be covered by the same plan for the full duration of the specified waiting period before you can claim for that benefit. No benefit is payable for any treatment costs incurred during the waiting period.

*Cover is limited to post-hospital care.

What Sharon, our medical expert, says
“Moving abroad can be challenging, but with a comprehensive international medical insurance plan to cover you, you can take some of the pressure off.”

How much does an international medical insurance plan cost?

The cost of international medical insurance for individuals can vary. Although it’s generally more expensive than a local health plan, it gives you more coverage. For example, most international medical insurance plans include cover in multiple countries and emergency medical evacuation. To calculate your premium, we look at a number of factors including your age and where you live or work.

Example premiums

Example monthly premium based on a 30-year-old man living in Vietnam, with a US$250 per annum excess and Zone 2 cover. These examples do not include the current New Member 15% discount.

Bronze plan

Silver plan

Gold plan

US$95 per month
US$175 per month
US$297 per month

See our full plan description here – and if you need anything explained, feel free to contact us.

The expert view

Inez CooperInez Cooper, Managing Director and Founder of William Russell shares her recommendations on what expatriates should look for when choosing a international medical insurance policy:

Getting familiar with a country’s healthcare system and health culture is one of the biggest challenges that expats face when relocating overseas. Whether you are moving abroad for the first time or you have experience being an expat in many different locations, it’s beneficial to understand the key healthcare factors when deciding to live and work abroad.

Not only this, the pandemic has caused additional challenges that you need to be aware of when researching the healthcare system of your potential new home.

You need to ask yourself several important questions, such as:

Do you already have healthcare cover?

If you’re relocating abroad for work, it’s common to receive health insurance through your job. Therefore, you may already be covered, especially if you are moving abroad with your company.

However, it’s good to look into what your company healthcare plan covers you for, as it may not be sufficient for your specific needs. These plans often do not become effective immediately.

How good is the healthcare system in your new country?

You probably already know that healthcare quality can vary significantly from country to country.

In some cases, the healthcare standards in your new home might be as good or even better than those you’re used to in your current one. In other cases, healthcare standards may not be as high as they are in your home country.

Find out whether it’s better to visit private hospitals or use the public healthcare system in your new home. You can often do this through your embassy or consulate, or you can reach out to other expats in the community for recommendations. Also, make sure that you are aware of how the emergency medical services function in the country that you are moving to.

Which insurance coverage do you need: local, private or expat insurance?

If you already have private insurance in your home country, you should speak to your provider before your move – their plan may cover you in your new country.

On the other hand, remember travel insurance policies are usually designed for short stays and typically only cover medical emergencies.

Globally mobile citizens will therefore typically require an international medical insurance plan if they want to be fully covered in the countries they frequent.

How to pick the best international medical insurance cover?

When picking a plan, make sure all your needs are tailored for.

This includes making sure your plan covers your destination, or destinations, and considering what level of coverage you are going to need.

While most health insurance gives you access to private healthcare, the health plan you choose defines the rules and limitations of that access. Consider age restrictions, how pre-existing conditions are handled and what exclusions might exist when making a claim.

Finally, remember it’s better to be safe than sorry. Accidents, emergencies, and new diagnoses can seriously disrupt your life and – depending where you live – can have a serious impact on your finances too. Think carefully about the risks attached to not having a comprehensive health insurance plan.

Why choose William Russell?


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

How to choose the right international medical 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 live and work, and in any other countries you might need cover.
  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, such as dental cover and 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. For new members, we offer excesses up to $10,000 per annum.

FAQs on international medical insurance

Every country has its own unique healthcare system, and healthcare in some countries is better than in others.

It’s important to know what type of healthcare system a country has before moving there. If the country uses an out-of-pocket system (where people pay for treatment as and when they need it), you will almost certainly need international medical insurance.

In some countries, such as the United States, you may even need highly specialised insurance (see ‘Where you have cover’ for more information).

Make sure to check with your employer if you’re living abroad for work, as they may offer IPMI as part of their global employee policy.

If you’re an employer managing global employees, you may be interested in our curated Employee Benefits package which includes IPMI for your worldwide staff.

Yes, it can do. Healthcare plans from William Russell are international, so your cover doesn’t need to stop if you travel abroad or return home temporarily, provided this is within your cover zone.

If you return home permanently, we can offer cover in your home country. Please note the cover is not available to you if the USA, Iran, Libya, North Korea, South Sudan, Syria or Yemen is or becomes your country of residence, irrespective of your nationality.

It is in some destinations, so make sure you check. Before you travel, it’s also a good idea to research the public healthcare. Look at the quality and availability of medical care, for both illness and accidents, and what the eligibility criteria are for accessing it. For extra coverage and peace of mind, you may decide to arrange international medical insurance for you and your family.

Our healthcare insurance plans are divided into 5 zones:

Zone 1

Worldwide cover, with restricted cover in the USA.

Zone 2

Provides cover in most countries. But in countries where the cost of private health insurance is high, this is subject to certain limits. There is no cover in the USA.

Zone 3

Special area of cover for residents in Indonesia, with restricted cover where private healthcare is expensive but no cover in the USA.

Zone 4

Full cover in Africa & Indian Subcontinent, with restricted cover elsewhere but no cover in the USA.

Zone 5

Full cover in Africa (except South Africa) & Indian Subcontinent, with restricted cover elsewhere but no cover in the USA.

All William Russell plans come with some cover for for emergency dental treatment following an accident, and you may be able to add more depending on what plan you choose.

The Silver plan is a popular choice amongst our members without partners or families, you have:

  • cover for hospital treatment
  • everyday medical costs such as doctor visits and specialist consultations
  • wellness and vaccination cover
  • mental health benefits
  • cover on business trips
  • holidays
  • trips home to visit family or friends

We have a range of tools and options to keep your premium low, so you can put together the right health plan for you whether you’re purchasing a plan yourself or with your employer’s help.

Yes. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the concept of remote working into mainstream conversations about work-life balance.

Why slog away in an office in rainy London or freezing New York when you could do your job quite comfortably in a more exotic location?

We can cover you if you’re living abroad but working remotely, even if you’re hopping from place to place and you occasionally return home for business or leisure.

Ultimately, you’ll want to find a international medical insurance policy that covers you for eligible medical conditions relevant to yourself and your family, gives you peace of mind for the future, and suits your lifestyle and budget.

A comprehensive IPMI policy may cover you for a variety of medical conditions, including but not limited to:

  • Any long-term illnesses, hereditary conditions, or disabilities you already receive treatment for at the time you move abroad, e.g. diabetes
  • Accidents and emergencies, especially where these require urgent treatment in a hospital
  • Diagnosis, treatment, and after-care consultation for major illnesses such as cancer
  • Mental health conditions, since it has been shown expatriates are at high risk of experiencing mental health illness
  • Maternity cover that covers all aspects of pregnancy, delivery, and after-care for newborn children
  • Optional extras such as dentistry and physiotherapy
  • Contingency plans in case you’re unable to receive medical treatment in your country of residence, e.g. medical evacuations

When shopping for an international medical insurance policy, you should have three questions in mind:

  1. Will this policy meet my needs, i.e. will it cover everything I need it to cover?
  2. Will this policy meet the requirements of the country/countries I want to live in?
  3. Can I afford this policy?

You may also wish to consider taking out a separate life insurance policy and income protection, especially if you’re living abroad with your family.

While most of our customers are expats, you don’t have to live overseas permanently to purchase one of our health plans. Suppose you’re lucky enough to spend at least six months of the year living, travelling or working outside your country of nationality. In that case, you can usually apply for international health insurance with us.

We are also able to offer plans to nationals of Botswana, Kenya, Malawi, Mauritius and Nigeria who are resident in their home country and also to Estonian nationals.

Purchasing an international medical insurance plan can have several benefits over a travel insurance policy. You’ll have cover for:

  • emergency medical evacuations
  • everyday medical costs such as doctor visits and specialist consultations
  • medical treatment while you’re not travelling away from home

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