International Health Insurance Plans (2024)

How much does international health insurance cost?

The annual cost of an international medical insurance plan will range from as low as $500, with limited benefits, to as much as$8,000 for a comprehensive global medical insurance policy, including coverage in the USA.

The average cost is $5,500 per year. Costs, or premiums, are based on a policyholder’s age, medical history, area of coverage, and the deductible and maximum coverage selected (typically not on an individual’s claims history).

Policies will normally offer various areas of cover; Worldwide, Worldwide excluding the USA, Europe only, or even in your home and residence countries only. Excluding cover in the USA will save significant costs. You can exclude countries like Canada, Hong Kong, and other more expensive countries for treatment with some plans. Treatment in these countries is more expensive. At times, international providers (i.e., GeoBlueandCigna) will rank countries by healthcare costs and have premiums adjusted accordingly.

Request a Quote online to get custom pricing from multiple providers.

*Cost estimates are based on 8,000+ historical sales to our clients in over 100 countries over the previous 18 months.

International Medical Insurance Costs by Country of Residence

Often, the most popular countries and destinations for expats also happen to have the most expensive healthcare services. As a result, insurance policies for international citizens residing abroad in those countries will be more expensive.

Here are the average premiums for immigrants and expats living in the following countries.

RankCountry of ResidenceCost Per Year
1Hong Kong$12,154
2United States$7,205
4Costa Rica$6,193
7United Kingdom$5,651

This is an average based on more than 8,000 sales to clients worldwide. Premiums vary for each client.

Costs of Coverage by Age

Younger clients will pay less for their coverage as they typically are healthier and need less care. As you age or possibly start a family, the cost of your plan will increase dramatically. Below are the average per year costs in US$ by select age groupings.

Age RangeCost Per year
18 to 24$2,019
25 to 34$2,965
35 to 44$4,986
45 to 64$6,779
65 Plus$9,344

As you can see from the examples above, the cost of a policy will vary widely by demographics, provider, and plan type. You can purchase either a comprehensive policy that will be more expensive or a more affordable option that will cover only the bare minimum.

Factors such as age and the preferred deductible amount will also further impact the cost of the policy. For example, older clients who decide to retire in Costa Rica may have to face higher policy costs because the price there is driven up by the average age of applicants.

See the example below for an explanation of how the discussed factors affect the cost of worldwide health insurance plans.

Example:For a husband and wife, ages 62 and 60, one plan,IMG Global Medical, offers the following coverage options:

  1. Worldwide excluding the U.S., Canada, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Macau, Singapore, and Taiwan or
  2. Worldwide coverage (including the US, etc.)

IMG’s policy would cost (ages 60 and 62) as little as $2,950 per year for a policy excluding the US and other countries with a $10,000 deductible. Conversely, it could cost $60,476 for Worldwide coverage and a $100 deductible. Silver, Gold, and Platinum benefits for these plan levels also differ, including maximum benefit limits.

Premiums are typically in US Dollars, Euros, or GBP.

GeoBlue Xplorer (for US Citizens or internationals residing in the USA) offers two options. Worldwide coverage, including the US, is the more expensive option. Worldwide coverage, excluding the US, is the less expensive option. The Cigna International plan will adjust pricing based on where you live and your nationality.

Make it easier to select the most suitable provider for you and your family. Request a Quote today to get a custom estimate from multiple providers.

Can I buy health insurance in a foreign country?

Some foreign countries offer a local insurance plan only available to their citizens, residents, or immigrants after a waiting period. In some cases, after you or your family have resided in that country for a certain length of time, you can apply for the local health insurance plan offered by the government.

In any case, an alternative is to buy local private insurance in your host country. However, this type of plan would only cover your medical expenses in that country but will not cover costs in other countries. Once you become an expatriate, the said local insurance will most likely not be accepted in your home country.

The best option to get comprehensive insurance for your healthcare is to buy an international plan valid abroad from one of the trusted providers we recommend here. The international plans these providers offer will cover the medical expenses you incur whether you are in your country of residence, your home country, or any other country worldwide; the choice of where you would like to be treated can be left to your preference. The primary benefit of a worldwide health insurance plan is to provide you with the choice of when and where you can readily access healthcare services.

Read: Compare International Medical Plans

Are there certain countries where international medical insurance costs more?

In general, yes. When it comes to international health insurance costs, where you are living will have a huge impact on the policy.

Plans will always cost more if you want US coverage since costs and rates are highest in the US. If you are going to be living in a country like Singapore or France, expect to also face costlier premiums since medical costs there are higher compared to other countries. Likewise, if you are living in a place where the cost of care is relatively low, you may see lower rates when requesting policy quotes.

Countries with High Cost of Medical Care

The United States has the highest cost of healthcare in the world, as the country spends significantly more per capita on its medical welfare than anywhere else in the world.

In Europe, Switzerland leads the way in terms of cost of care, with the Netherlands and Germany close behind.

In Asia, Japan, China, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Korea have higher than average costs to treat their patients. Often, international patients are treated differently than local patients, and there may be an associated cost difference in those situations.

Check out the OECD website to know which countries spend high on health care. You can see how other countries in this list, including Iceland and Australia fare, compared to others.

Is there an underwriting process when applying for expatriate healthcare?

Medical underwriting, which pertains to the review of your medical history, is required by international healthcare companies when you apply for one of their global plans.

If you are applying for an international family health insurance plan, all family members will have to provide their history.

For US citizens familiar with the benefits and protections of the Affordable Care Act (AKA Obamacare), take note that it does not apply here. You can be turned down or denied coverage.

The underwriting process is generally done to obtain and review your medical history. It is not overly burdensome as most providers can complete the underwriting process in 3 to 5 business days. However, the process may take longer in case some unusual circ*mstances arise.

How do pre-existing conditions affect my global health insurance application?

A great question without a simple answer. Many applicants who come with pre-existing conditions have a difficult time finding a suitable plan. In some cases, pre-existing conditions would prohibit coverage from a provider. Other issues in your medical history can be managed with adjustments to the plan (riders, exclusions, or cost adjustments), or the cost of the coverage might be adjusted.

Read: Pre-existing Conditions in International health Plans

GeoBlue’s Xplorer Plan, a policy for US Citizens living abroad and foreigners living in the USA, has a process to address pre-ex; from GeoBlue’s website:

“If you were previously covered by a group or individual U.S. health plan that issues you a Certificate of Creditable Coverage, GeoBlue would apply this prior coverage to the pre-existing conditions waiting period, provided you meet GeoBlue’s underwriting criteria. GeoBlue will also consider private health insurance issued in other countries as creditable coverage with certain limitations.

Your waiting period may be eliminated if you have six or more months of creditable coverage. If you have less than six months of creditable coverage, your waiting period may be reduced by the number of months you had creditable international health insurance coverage. For example, if you have two months of creditable coverage, your waiting period will be reduced from six months to four months.”

With other providers, if you have pre-existing conditions, your condition will typically be handled in one of four ways.

  • The pre-existing condition will be covered as any other illness. This is usually the case with a minor pre-existing condition such as allergies.
  • The pre-existing condition will be excluded.
  • The policy will cover the condition, but you may be charged a "rate up" to cover the additional costs associated with that condition, or specific limits will be placed on any associated costs.
  • Your application will be denied.

How does international health insurance work?

It is a tough challenge to provide cover to individuals and families wherever they want to go. To answer the increasing needs of people to be protected against the expenses stemming from medical concerns, insurers have created a vast, international network of doctors, clinics, and hospitals worldwide. They created a system similar to how insurance plans work in your home country and then widened it to a global scale. The result is a reliable global system that can cover you both at home and in foreign lands.

International health plans benefit you by letting you access healthcare services, visit a doctor, and get admitted to a local hospital when needed. Contact your insurance provider and they will help you find a local health care provider accredited under your plan. If there is no local service provider, the insurer will cover your expenses at the provider of your choice. Alternatively, you can file a claim with the insurer and wait for reimbursem*nt for the covered expenses you incurred.

In case you need other services,including emergency medical evacuation, repatriation of remains, vision, or dental care, your international health insurance plan can cover them as well. You just need to make sure that when you purchase the plan, it includes all the benefits you desire and covers everything you want to be covered.

Having a valid international medical plan while abroad can make your life easier. When everything is in place, all you need to do is coordinate service with your insurer so they can facilitate payment to your service provider.

Related: How Does International Health Insurance Work?

What are the eligibility requirements with international medical plans?

The common eligibility criteria for most international health insurance plans is that you should live or be living in a foreign country for at least 3 months per year. There are underwriting requirements, so you will be asked to provide your medical history and additional medical information upon application.

Some insurance providers may not be able to sell policies to individuals who are coming from or going to a few select countries. These countries have local insurance regulatory rules or compliance laws that prohibit insurers from providing coverage within the territory. Do not worry because our agents can help you find coverage for almost any situation. Just make sure that after you request a quote, you follow up with the agent you talked to for expert guidance.

Are There Age Restrictions on Expatriate Plans?

There may be limitations and restrictions based on age when applying for international health plans.

GeoBlue will not allow anyone over the age of 74 to apply for a new Xplorer policy. However, if you have a plan in place with them before age 75, they will allow you to continue with coverage to age 84.

IMGwill allow you to apply up to age 74 and coverage will terminate after you turn 75. If you have had a plan with them before your 65th birthday and have maintained coverage through age 75, they provide a Senior Plan option to allow you to continue coverage. This plan has fewer benefits and lower maximum coverage amounts – but it is an option.

Cigna Globalwill allow customers of any age to apply and will provide coverage for life.

Do I need international health insurance?

Most local and national health plans that provide coverage in your home country do not protect you when you go overseas. In rare cases that they do, they will most likely have limited coverage designed for emergencies only. So, you may not be protected if you do not have a reliable international health insurance plan that includes overseas coverage.

A quality global health insurance plan is an investment toward your future health. Having health insurance valid abroad will cover you and your family wherever you are should you get sick or injured, either of which requires medical care. An international health insurance plan also provides additional benefits, including vision, dental, and medical transport, to name a few.

If you were to get injured or ill while living overseas, your bills might run into thousands of dollars that can become out of hand. We strongly recommend that our clients get an international health insurance plan that covers their needs, reduces risks, and helps provide peace of mind while living in another country.

One benefit that people appreciate of an international health plan is how it gives access to private doctors and hospitals. Established insurance companies usually have close relationships with the best hospitals and doctors worldwide. A quality global health insurance plan means you get access to world-class facilities and trustworthy doctors through your relationship with the insurer.

Request a quote for international health insurance.

What is the best international health insurance?

There are many different international health insurance companies with various plans to choose from, but they are not all the same. Some provide benefits and add-ons that others do not, and some have a larger coverage area and countries included in their policies.

Choosing the best global medical insurance plan will depend on your specific health needs and budget. You may need an affordable option with minimum coverage or a comprehensive family plan with a wide range of benefits.

We work with the best health insurance companies with a proven track record in delivering excellent health care service to their clients, families living abroad, expatriates, and global nomads. Together with our expert team, we can help you decide on a plan that is right for you.

Start by requesting a quote to let us know what is important to you and our expert agents can discuss your needs and budget.

International Health Insurance Plans (2024)
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