Reducing International Health Insurance Costs


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Getting good international health insurance and keeping costs as low as possible can be difficult. Yet by talking with an insurance broker who sells international health policies, reviewing your options, and considering one of the suggested tips below, you can be more confident when you go to purchase overseas health insurance.

1. Choose a high deductible. Of at least $1,000. A deductible of $2,500 or $5,000 is better yet if you have some reserve money in savings. This will have a definite impact on your insurance premium.

Increasingly, more people are looking for a higher deductible, even in domestic insurance. That simply means the amount of money you pay before the insurance starts to cover medical costs. Previously, people used to ask for a $100 or $250 deductible. Now we advise clients to consider a plan with a $1,000 deductible. That may sound high, but the premium savings are so significant that generally the money saved in one year from lower premiums (the higher the deductible the lower the premiums) will more than make up for the higher deductible if a person had to use insurance for hospitalization.

Most of us, in a tight spot, could find $5,000. It is the $50,000 and $100,000 bill that scares us. Clients do ask for $5,000 deductibles, and there are health insurance plans that offer $10,000 and $20,000 deductibles. A way to figure out what amount of deductible you want is to ask yourself, "How long has it been since I have been hospitalized? Or had a health insurance bill over $5,000?" If it has been a long time, and you are in relatively good health, maybe a $5,000 deductible would work for you.

2. Select a short-term health insurance plan. Some short-term plans can be renewed up to three years. So if you know you will be overseas for at least three years, buying short term insurance is less expensive than career or long term insurance.

3. Choose a plan with less maximum coverage. Instead of getting $1,000,000 or $5,000,000 in coverage, settle for $500,000.

4. Choose a policy with "capped" coverages. Instead of guaranteeing an unlimited amount of money for a normal childbirth, they limit the coverage to $4,000. That is enough to cover the delivery of a baby almost anywhere in the world.

5. Choose a career plan that will not cover you in the USA. Then, when coming on furlough, take out a short-term plan that will cover you during your visit.

6. Split insurance policies. If you need maternity, put your wife on a maternity plan and yourself and children on a non-maternity plan. This will often save $40 a month or more.

We generally like to have the parents and the kids all on the same health insurance policy. But sometimes you can save a lot of money by splitting the family up and putting different members on different policies. For example: A couple in their twenties with two children ages 5 and 7 would pay a monthly premium of $363 on an international policy that offered maternity. By putting dad and the two children on a non-maternity plan and leaving mom on a maternity plan, the total monthly premium would drop to $231. This would give a monthly saving of $132. That will add up to $1,584 saved every year, and would help pay for a fun holiday, Christmas presents or a surprise trip home to be with Grandma on her 80th birthday!

7. Automatic direct debit payment. Insurance companies want to cut administrative costs. A way they do this is to encourage automatic credit card deductions for your premium payments. Very few international companies will bill a client on a monthly basis or permit a monthly payment to be sent in. And if they do, the insurance is generally more expensive.

By themselves, none of these are "ideal" solutions. Nevertheless, if you start with just one of these suggestions, and find that after a year your financial situation improves, you can then upgrade your insurance coverage. For example, let's say you pay $200 a month now for insurance. In two years you can increase that up to $300 for a better plan. This will be easier than going from $0 for no insurance to $300 now.