Frequently Asked Questions

01: My company pays for my insurance but I do not know what I am covered for. What should I ask my HR?
02: How much does health insurance cost?
03: Does health insurance cover dental or maternity?
04: I have health insurance back home. Do I still need to be covered?
05: Do I need to do a medical check-up to apply for international medical or travel insurance?
06: I am a young and healthy expatriate. Do I need health insurance?
07: Am I eligible for cover?
08: Can my family members also be covered?
09: Will I be covered for any illness or injuries I have had before joining the plan?
10: Am I covered if I travel away from my area of residence?
11: Can I seek treatment anywhere in the world?
12: Am I covered for winter/water sports?
13: How quickly can I be covered?
14: How is the policy excess applied?
15: How do I know if I'm covered before receiving treatment?
16: Can I change the level of cover during the policy term?
17: I have cancer, will I be covered?
18: Is chiropractics/osteopathy covered?
19: Is physiotherapy covered?
20: If my company covers me, do I still need extra coverage? If yes, what.
21: What is the difference between travel insurance and international health insurance.
22: What should a good international medical insurance cover?
23: If I am no longer working for the company, will I still be covered?
24: I have access to local healthcare system. Do I still need to buy any local supplementary or international medical insurance?
25: Do I really need international medical insurance? Is local health insurance sufficient?
26: Can I change my policy condition during the policy year?
27: How soon will I receive my claim?
28: Can I make a claim immediately after joining?
29: At renewal, will my premium increase due to the numerous claims I made last year?
30: Do I need to give details of my medical history?
31: I would like to change to a new insurer. What do I need to look out for?
32: What are the advantages of an expat medical insurance?
33: How do I know when I am receiving good advice?
34: What is an intermediary?
35: Does expat medical insurance provide coverage for cancer should it occur in future?
36: What is pre-existing conditions?
37: Can my child/children/dependent(s) be covered under my policy?
38: Does my girlfriend/boyfriend count as my spouse/partner?
39: What is a chronic condition and will it be covered?
40: What happens if I want to change my level of cover or cancel my newly purchased policy?
41: Will my medical fee be paid in full?
42: Will my premium increase as I grown older?
43: Is infertility covered?
44: Is cosmetic surgery covered?
45: Can I claim for my psychiatric treatments?
46: Will I be covered for my stay at the hospital if my child is receiving a treatment?
47: How do I make a claim?
48: Does expat medical insurance provide coverage for cancer should it occur in future?
49: I just found out that I am pregnant. Is there any expat medical insurance plan without a waiting period?

01: My company pays for my insurance but I do not know what I am covered for. What should I ask my HR?

Please ask your HR for information pertaining to

- your coverage, whether it covers hospitalization or not
- your annual maximum limit
- whether it covers private clinics or special department of public hospitals
- whether it provides international coverage

The insurer covering your company will have all these information. Should you require assistance to review your cover, please feel free to contact us and our consultants will be able to advise you accordingly.

02: How much does health insurance cost?

It depends on the level of coverage, age of insured, medical condition, area of coverage, etc. To understand what affects the price of health insurance cost, please click here

03: Does health insurance cover dental or maternity?

The key objective of an international health and medical insurance is to cover medical treatment for acute serious illness or injury. After that objective has been met, you can add dental or/and maternity coverage into your policy. Should you need to discuss further, feel free to contact us

04: I have health insurance back home. Do I still need to be covered?

Generally, your insurance in your home country covers the medical costs in your home country only. For international medical cost, it will either be excluded or only a small amount will be covered. If you are staying abroad long enough, for example 3 months, you should consider buying an international medical or travel insurance.

05: Do I need to do a medical check-up to apply for international medical or travel insurance?

No need. On the application form, a medical questionnaire is enclosed. You just need to answer the medical questions. For major pre-existing medical conditions, you will be requested to provide recent medical report.

06: I am a young and healthy expatriate. Do I need health insurance?

Health insurance is always necessary. At the very least, hospitalization coverage is a must in case of an accident as hospitalization cost can be very expensive. Some policies are designed specifically to meet the needs of young, health expatriate. Do feel free to contact us to discuss further.

07: Am I eligible for cover?

You are eligible for cover if you live or work outside of the country for which you are a passport holder. Most insurers will place an age ceiling for new applicants, varying from 60-75. Feel free to contact us should you need to discuss further.

08: Can my family members also be covered?

Yes. Your spouse or adult partner, (whether or not of the same sex), who is permanently living with you can be included as a Dependant. Also, unmarried child/children/dependent(s) under the age of 18 if living with you, or 23 if in full-time education are eligible for cover. Some insurers automatically cover newborn, some up to 90 days. Generally, the minimum age for purchasing a policy is 18. Please feel free to contact us to discuss further.

09: Will I be covered for any illness or injuries I have had before joining the plan?

Cover for all pre-existing conditions are excluded during the first two years of membership. After this period, should an eligible Medical Condition reoccur, provided you have been free of any symptoms, treatment or advice for a continuous period of two years since joining the plan, then future costs will be covered, subject to the terms of your policy. To read more about pre-existing condition, please click here.

10: Am I covered if I travel away from my area of residence?

Yes. Whether you are traveling on holiday or business, you are covered worldwide. If you did not include USA in your area of coverage, it will only be limited to Accident and Emergency Treatment only or it may not be covered at all depending on the plan chosen. To read more about area of coverage, please click here.

11: Can I seek treatment anywhere in the world?

You are free to seek treatment anywhere within your chosen area of coverage. Traveling expenses will only be covered under the evacuation benefit if treatment is not available or appropriate locally. To learn more about area of coverage, please click here.

12: Am I covered for winter/water sports?

Yes, most insurers do cover for winter/water sports. Should an accident occur while you are engaged in the sport, if you have opted for medical evacuation, your insurer should cover for rescue services from the place of accident to the medical treatment facility.

13: How quickly can I be covered?

Depending on what you are claiming for, immediate coverage is possible if you can prove simultaneous transference from an equivalent insurance with another international health insurance company or in the event of acute, serious illness or injury. Insurers usually impose a waiting period which is the length of time you have to wait before making a claim. Different medical treatment has different waiting period. To read more about waiting period, please click here.

14: How is the policy excess applied?

The policy excess or annual deductible is the total amount you have agreed to pay before the insurer will reimburse. Deductibles can be per policy or per medical claim. To read more about policy excess, please click here.

15: How do I know if I’m covered before receiving treatment?

For planned admission to hospital, it is advisable to contact your insurer to clarify and to make payment arrangement. It is important to have a detailed list of benefits and exclusions which can be obtained from your insurer.

16: Can I change the level of cover during the policy term?

You will have a 14-30 day cooling off period, depending on insurer, from receipt of your membership documents in which you can change your level of cover or cancel your policy. After the cooling off period, the terms and conditions stipulated in your policy will remain unchanged until renewal. It is important that you receive all the important information before making that decision. For a list of information to gather before decision is made, please click here.

17: I have cancer, will I be covered?

Yes, you will be covered if you are diagnosed with cancer after purchase of your medical insurance. It will be covered under in-patient and out-patient treatment. Depending on the development of your cancer, it may be considered as a chronic condition which will then be subjected to the limit set by your insurer. If you are diagnosed with cancer prior to purchase, it is considered as a pre-existing condition and therefore, most insurers do not cover. There are some who do but with loading. Should you need to discuss further, please feel free to contact us.

18: Is chiropractics/osteopathy covered?

Whether chiropractics/osteopathy is covered or not and the level of coverage will depend on the terms and conditions of your policy. Should you require chiropractics/osteopathy to be included in your cover, feel free to contact us and our consultants will be able to advise you accordingly.

19: Is physiotherapy covered?

Whether physiotherapy is covered or not and the level of coverage will depend on the terms and conditions of your policy. Should you require physiotherapy to be included in your cover, feel free to contact us and our consultants will be able to advise you accordingly.

20: If my company covers me, do I still need extra coverage? If yes, what.

This all depends on the coverage that your company provides and what you need. You should ask your company to provide a detailed list of benefits and exclusions which should also include information such as:

- your coverage, whether it covers hospitalization or not
- your annual maximum limit
- whether it covers private clinics or special department of public hospitals
- whether it provides international coverage

The insurer covering your company will have all these information. Should you require assistance to review your cover, please feel free to contact us and our consultants will be able to advise you accordingly.

21: What is the difference between travel insurance and international health insurance.

A travel insurance provides short-term medical coverage with no guarantee of renewal. An international medical insurance provides long-term medical coverage with guarantee of renewal. To learn more about international health and medical insurance, please click here.

22: What should a good international medical insurance cover?

What constitutes a good international medical insurance will depend largely on your personal circumstances. It is important to work out your needs so as to have a clear picture of what you are looking for. To help you choose, click here for more information or feel free to contact us to discuss further.

23: If I am no longer working for the company, will I still be covered?

Some insurers cover only group insurance. Thus your cover will cease when you are no longer with the company. Some insurers are able to continue your cover when you leave the company. The terms and benefits may remain the same or differ, depending on insurer. It is important to ensure that you get coverage even after you leave the company, regardless of your state of health. Thus do look for insurers which are able to provide guaranteed lifetime renewal. To read more about Guaranteed Lifetime Renewal, please click here or feel free to contact us to discuss further.

24: I have access to local healthcare system. Do I still need to buy any local supplementary or international medical insurance?

It all depends on whether the local health system is acceptable to you and your loved ones. In some countries, there is a long waiting list and priority goes to local nationals verses expatriates. It is important to consider the needs and requirements of you and your loved ones.

25: Do I really need international medical insurance? Is local health insurance sufficient?

It all depends on your future plans and whether the local medical facilities are acceptable to you or not. If you intend to stay permanently in the country where you have been relocated to, and that the local health system is decent and accessible to you, a local supplementary health insurance could be sufficient. However, if you plan to relocate, having a good international health insurance in place would be a wise decision. To learn more about International medical insurance, please click here.

26: Can I change my policy condition during the policy year?

You will have a 14-30 day cooling off period, depending on insurer, from receipt of your membership documents in which you can change your level of cover or cancel your policy. After the cooling off period, the terms and conditions stipulated in your policy will remain unchanged until renewal. It is important that you receive all the important information before making that decision. For a list of information to gather before decision is made, please click here.

27: How soon will I receive my claim?

Assuming the claim is covered under your plan, all the paperwork are completed and received by your insurer within the time period set out, you should receive your claim in about 2 weeks. To read more about claims, please click here.

28: Can I make a claim immediately after joining?

Yes, depending on what you are claiming for, this is possible if you can prove simultaneous transference from an equivalent insurance with another international health insurance company or in event of acute, serious illness or injury. It is always advisable to check with your insurer. Different medical treatment has different waiting periods. To understand more about different waiting periods, please click here.

29: At renewal, will my premium increase due to the numerous claims I made last year?

Premium increase at renewal is adjusted based on medical inflation, loading and your move into a new age band and not according to the number of claims you made previously. For more information, please read What affects the price of premium.

30: Do I need to give details of my medical history?

At application, you will be required to fill in a Medical Questionnaire. It is important that you provide accurate information. And if you are not sure as to what should be included, it is better to ask.

31: I would like to change to a new insurer. What do I need to look out for?

If you want to change to a new insurer, make sure that your coverage is the same as your current policy. If you are receiving treatment under your current policy, you can apply for CPME under your new policy so as to ensure that your coverage is not interrupted. Be careful not to lose coverage just because you want to save cost. A word of caution, agents or intermediaries are paid based on commission. Make sure you have a very good reason before you switch insurer.

32: What are the advantages of an expat medical insurance?

An expat medical insurance is designed specifically to meet the changing needs of expatriates. It provides expatriates with access to more choices and high level of medical advice, treatment and facility wherever and whenever they need. To learn more, click here.

33: How do I know when I am receiving good advice?

The process of choosing the best international health and medical plan for you and your loved ones is an extremely challenging and demanding process. Thus it is important that you work with the right party who is able to give you sound advice. Choose an intermediary who is professional, experienced, knowledgeable, truly independent and has professional liability.

34: What is an intermediary?

An intermediary is a third party who offers intermediation services between two parties. In purchasing an International health and medical insurance, one can either go through an intermediary or directly with an insurer or their appointed agent. In choosing which intermediary to work with, one has to ensure that the intermediary is independent and has professional liability.

35: Does expat medical insurance provide coverage for cancer should it occur in future?

Most expat medical insurers provide coverage for cancer in their standard plan. Cover may include diagnosis, treatment, surgery, therapy, reconstructive surgery, home nursing, etc. It is important to read what is cover, what is not and the policy wordings before you purchase. To read more about cancer coverage, please click here.

36: What is pre-existing conditions?

A pre-existing condition is any medical condition which you have had before your policy started. To read more about pre-existing conditions, click here.

37: Can my child/children/dependent(s) be covered under my policy?

Yes, unmarried child/children/dependent(s) under the age of 18 if living with you, or 23 if in full-time education are eligible for cover. Some insurers automatically cover newborn, some up to 90 days. Generally, the minimum age for purchasing a policy is 18. Please feel free to contact us to discuss further.

38: Does my girlfriend/boyfriend count as my spouse/partner?

Yes, they will be (even if same sex).

39: What is a chronic condition and will it be covered?

Chronic condition is defined as a disease, illness or injury that possesses at least one of the following characteristics:

  1. ongoing and has no known cure

  2. likely to re-occur

  3. permanent

  4. requires long-term treatment

Some insurers have differing definition of chronic conditions. Some do not cover at all. Some do but with certain terms and conditions. To read more about chronic conditions, please click here or feel free to contact us to discuss further.

40: What happens if I want to change my level of cover or cancel my newly purchased policy?

You will have a 14-30 day cooling off period, depending on insurer, from receipt of your membership documents in which you can change your level of cover or cancel your policy. If you decide to cancel and no claims have been made, the insurer will arrange a full refund of any premium paid, provided that they receive your written authority to cancel within the stipulated period. It is important to receive all the important information before making the decision. For a list of information to gather prior to purchase, please click here.

41: Will my medical fee be paid in full?

This is dependent on the terms and benefits of your policy. If you have chosen a certain level of excess or annual deductible, insurers will only reimburse after that level is achieved. Insurers will pay what is considered usual and customary while your policy is in force.

42: Will my premium increase as I grown older?

Premium increase is due to various factors and age is one of them. As we get older, our body system deteriorates and we are likely to need more medical treatment. This in turn increases the risk exposure of the insurer, which is reflected in the premium. Most insurers will limit the premium increase at age 80. To read more about what affects the price of premium, please click here.

43: Is infertility covered?

Most insurers do not pay for investigations into and the treatment of infertility, contraception, assisted reproduction, sterilization (or its reversal) or any consequence of any of them or of any treatment for them. Even if some do, the amount is limited. Please feel free to contact us to discuss further.

44: Is cosmetic surgery covered?

Yes, cosmetic surgery will only be paid if it is administered immediately after an accident or disease. No insurers will pay for cosmetic (aesthetic) surgery or treatment, or any treatment relating to previous cosmetic or reconstructive treatment. To understand more about what is not covered in your policy, click here.

45: Can I claim for my psychiatric treatments?

Some insurers cover and some do not. The level of coverage depends on the terms and conditions of your policy. For most insurers covering psychiatric treatments to approve the claims, you must follow the guidelines in the policy wording. Generally, gender re-assignment operations, cosmetic surgery and treatment towards late development in children whether physical or psychological is not covered. If you need psychiatric cover to be included in your policy, our consultants will be able to advise you on the appropriate insurer and take you through the definitions. Please feel free to contact us to discuss further.

46: Will I be covered for my stay at the hospital if my child is receiving a treatment?

Yes, this can be included in your cover. The level of coverage will depend on your terms and conditions. If you require this to be covered in your policy, feel free to contact us for further discussion.

47: How do I make a claim?

To make a claim,

  • you can either pay first and claim later, or
  • your insurer will pay directly to your clinic or hospital due to the direct payment network already established or payment guarantee issued prior to admission, or
  • in cases where you need to be hospitalized immediately, most insurers will pay out directly provided they are informed within the time period set out in your policy agreement, usually within 48 hours of admission
To read more about claims, please click here

48: Does expat medical insurance provide coverage for cancer should it occur in future?

Most expat medical insurers provide coverage for cancer in their standard plan. Cover may include diagnosis, treatment, surgery, therapy, reconstructve surgery, home nursing, etc. It is important to read what is cover, what is not and the policy wordings before you purchase. Should you need to discuss further, please feel free to contact us.

49: I just found out that I am pregnant. Is there any expat medical insurance plan without a waiting period?

If you are applying as an individual, all insurers will have a waiting period of between 10-12 months. The only way out to avoid waiting period is to join a group plan, where you are covered by your husband’s company or your employer covers you. Should you need to discuss further, feel free to contact us.

Also See:
Expatmedicare Guide to International Health and Medical Insurance