Top 4 Tips for Expats Choosing Effective Health Insurance

Joe panicked when he found out that the local immigration authorities appeared to be cracking down on the paperwork needed to renew his visa.  The person handling his application was told on a Tuesday morning that the usual laminated health insurance card was not enough, and a version with a ‘special stamp’ was needed.  He needed service, and fast.

Last-minute health insurance for visa requirements is a common predicament for expats living abroad. Another common scenario is the need to find a doctor in times of unforeseen emergency. Titas, an Asian web-designer living in Europe, had woken up one morning suffering from an excruciating pain in his shoulder completely out of the blue.  He couldn’t afford to miss work because of a looming project deadline, and more critically, couldn’t stand to live with the constant shooting pain shearing through the left side of his body.

Situations like this call for an immediate response from your health insurance company that can deliver a prompt, effective service.  There are a myriad of medical insurance companies out there, but how can expats find a suitable one that they can be sure will fulfill their needs?

4 Top Tips for choosing effective health insurance

There are four primary areas that people living abroad need to consider when choosing health insurance:

  1. Choice of doctor:  Access to doctors and facilities of your choice can actually be made possible through selected health insurance brokers.  These companies take a more progressive approach, enabling you to visit your preferred doctor under your selected health insurance plan by taking care of all paperwork and inviting the preferred doctor to contract with their network.  So if, for example, you just moved to Berlin and wanted to use your friend’s doctor that wasn’t originally on the list of providers, connecting to the right health insurance company can help ensure that doctor will be covered.
  2. Cost:  Whether a health insurance plan resides within your budget usually comes within a close second to choice of doctor.  Prices can be compared in a relatively straightforward manner, yet be aware of the factors that make up those costs. This includes whether the original jurisdiction of the health insurance provider is located in a high- or low-cost part of the world, because these expenses or savings will ultimately get passed down to you.
  3. Speed of delivery:  As seen in the examples of Joe and Titas above, speed of issue can become of critical importance.  These are situations that require same or next business day service, preferably with an email response given within a couple of hours at maximum.
  4. Accessibility:  An effective follow-up service can also mean you are able to save on effort and time.  Look for a company that is willing to take care of the insurance paperwork with your doctor, so you don’t have to.

Getting stuff done

What all this basically sums up to is level of service.  How far is your health insurance provider willing to go? Will they deal with your last-minute requests in English?  Will they actually answer the phone and get back to you during your time of need?

After calling Access HMO at 9am Tuesday morning, Joe had the required health insurance issued on the spot and couriered to the authorities by 11am, at no extra cost.  And Titas was surprised to not only get a next-day appointment, but with a well-known orthopaedist at a respected clinic.  He was even more thrilled because one day later he was feeling fine again and able to complete his project on time.

Joe explained, “For me as a person living abroad, when it’s tough in general to get stuff done, it is down to a matter of service. And with Access HMO, it just worked”.

Titas agreed saying, “I like their service very much. There are many other insurance companies, but in my experience they do not provide the same type of fast service, with such a good level of communication and support.”

To speak to Access HMO about your health insurance needs, please contact us here.