International health insurance plans can be complex medical insurance plans. To help you understand the cover provided we have highlighted some of the key terms that will appear in your policy, and how they translate into plain language.

In-patient treatment occurs when your medical treatment requires an overnight stay.

Your medical treatment is administered during the day and no overnight stay is required.

Pre-existing conditions
Any existing medical conditions you have when you apply for a new international health insurance policy, for example, asthma or diabetes. It is important to declare all pre-existing conditions when applying for cover from a new insurer.

Medical network
This is the insurer’s network of medical facilities and consultants around the world. Insurers will encourage you to seek treatment in one of their network facilities where they have an agreement in place for both fees and payments, allowing them to settle your bills direct with the medical provider.

Medical evacuation
Your health insurance provider will arrange for you to be evacuated when the treatment you need is not available locally. This may happen in the case of an emergency, such as an accident in a remote location. You may also be evacuated if your condition requires you to be moved (under medical supervision) to a different country to access the care you need.

An insurer will arrange for your repatriation when it is in your best interest to be treated in your country of origin. Insurer terms vary but typically international private medical insurance allows you to access the treatment you need in your home country.

Cash benefit
Hospital stays and other plan benefits often come with the option to choose a cash benefit over the standard policy benefit. If your policy will pay for a private hospital room, for example, you may be able to choose a cash benefit if you stay in a semi-private ward instead.

Annual Plan Limit
The maximum amount of money your insurer will pay for your treatment during the course of a policy year. Annual plan limits for international private medical insurance are usually high so it is rare for the limit to be reached. 

Individual benefit level
Benefits listed in your plan have their own annual limits – typically a monetary amount or maximum number of sessions, in the case of physiotherapy. 

Waiting Period/Moratorium
Some treatments won’t be covered immediately when your international health insurance plan starts. Maternity cover, for example, is usually not covered until 10 months after the policy inception.

Chronic Conditions
Medical conditions are referred to as chronic if that reoccur frequently, are long lasting or permanent and should always be declared when you apply for your insurance cover. Asthma, diabetes, cancer and HIV are usually considered to be chronic. 

Country of Residence
The country where you live and/or spend the majority of your time.

Excesses and deductibles can affect the cover you receive and the premium you pay.

A deductible is the upfront payment that need to make before your insurer will cover the cost of treatment during your policy year. If you opt for deductible to the value of £1,000, and your first two claims amount to £1,000, you’ll need to cover all of these costs yourself. Once you’ve paid out the £1,000, however, your insurer will cover the full cost of any subsequent treatment until the end of your policy.

Excesses are the amount you pay each time you make a claim for treatment during your policy year. For example, if your policy excess is €100 and your treatment costs €2,000, you pay the first €100 and your insurer pays the remaining €1,900.

These are just a few of the terms contained in your international health insurance policy. The terms used can be a little confusing at times, but it’s worth remembering that your broker will always be on hand to help you understand the language and make the most out of your cover.

About Us

Riviera-Expat is a specialist insurance broker operating in the International Private Medical Insurance market. We source quality health insurance cover for expatriates around the world every day. Contact us today to find out more about international health insurance and find the right plan for you and your family.