• Insurance Terms Explained

    Searching for the best insurance deal can be a confusing endeavour. Trying to distinguish between the many insurers and even more plan options, or understanding what you personally need from your plan is a hard task when confronted with so many options and all that confusing insurance jargon. Here we're going to take a look at some of the most important things you should consider when buying insurance coverage. We'll break down the elements of a typical plan into stages and will hopefully clear up some of those confusing terms.

    Cost Terms:

    Premium – This is an important one to understand. A premium is the amount of money you will pay to your insurance company for your plan. Premiums can be paid monthly, quarterly or annually.

    Co-insurance – Some aspects of your coverage may be co-insured. What this means is that you will share the cost of treatment with your insurer. Any treatment you receive will be covered by the insurer up to a predetermined percentage, and then you will have to pay the remainder.

    Excess/Deductible – A deductible is the amount you have to personally pay for treatment before the insurance company will start covering your costs. Deductible amounts will differ between plans, and they aren't always required in a plan, but there are incentives to choosing a high deductible as this will lower your premiums. Deductibles can be applied per plan, per individual treatment, or per year.

    Health Related Terms:

    Pre-existing Conditions – These are those illnesses and conditions you have, or have had before getting your new plan. Most insurers will not cover current or previous illnesses and conditions as these represent an instant loss to them. Coverage will therefore be excluded or sometimes reduced for these conditions. This is not true of all insurers though, and increasing numbers of insurers are taking on board clients with pre-existing conditions. Contacting us will help to determine which companies can cover your existing conditions and provide the best service for you.

    Chronic Conditions – Chronic conditions are persistent conditions that you will have for the remainder of your life. The majority of insurers won't cover any chronic conditions when you're applying for a new insurance plan. IHI have established relationships with some insurers that will offer cover for chronic conditions though, fill out a quote form to find out who. Even if you don't have a chronic condition now, it is still an important aspect of your coverage to consider as insurance companies differ hugely in the level of cover they will provide against them. To avoid any future excessive costs, make sure you know what you are covered for in your plan.

    Limiting Factors of Your Coverage:

    Waiting Periods – There are waiting periods of several months before you can receive coverage for treatments such as Maternity and Dental care. This means that you have to wait for a pre-determined amount of time from signing your plan before claiming for any of these health treatments. If you want, or need, any of these things covered within that time period, then your premiums will be higher. Consider carefully what you might need coverage for and when before embarking on a new plan.

    Area of Coverage – Are you going to be travelling a lot? Are you a habitual expat? If you know that you're going to be moving about the place regularly then you need to consider the geographical extent of your insurance coverage. World-wide cover plans are available, as are plans specific to certain regions such as Europe or Asia. With high prices for cover in the US for example, you should consider if this is something you will need. If you do want to visit or spend extended time in a different country then look at what cover is made available there on your plan. Some plans will offer coverage for simple things for overseas ventures such as accident and emergency cover up to a specific limit. Make sure that you are covered in all the countries that you need to be, and to the right level of coverage for you.

    Benefit Limits – A benefit limit is the maximum amount you can claim for treatments in a year. Annual benefit limits for plans tend to be universally high amongst the different insurers unless you are buying a low cost plan. What differs between insurance providers is the specific areas in which coverage is provided. You must read the full contents of your plan to see what is covered and what is not covered. Coverage may not be provided, or provided to a lesser extent, for anything from HIV/Aids treatment to psychiatry to the type of room you want.

    Other Terms:

    In-Patient & Out-Patient Cover – It is important to understand the differences in these types of cover, and pick the right one for you. In-patient only plans require you to be hospitalised overnight before they will cover you. All insurance plans will typically include in-patient coverage, and this covers all hospitalisation and emergency treatments. Opting for both in- and out-patient coverage will cover you the fullest extent, as it includes treatments that don't require a hospital stay as well. Out-patient coverage is any treatment you receive without spending a night in hospital. There are some plans that will offer coverage for a limited amount of out-patient cover instead of opting for a complete in- and out-patient plan. For more details see our quotes page or contact one of our advisors

    Extraction/Repatriation – Extraction coverage takes on the costs of transporting you in an emergency to the nearest medical facility that can treat your condition. Repatriation is the process of returning you to your home country for treatment. If these are things you want or require, then make sure to discuss this with your insurance intermediary and ensure that your insurer can offer these services. Also make sure to note what the added cost will be to your premiums. Those of you in areas with low quality healthcare may want extraction cover more so than others, as this allows you to be extracted to high quality medical facilities in other countries in an emergency.

    Hopefully this has cleared up the important aspects of your health insurance plan. For more in-depth plan options, fill out our quotes form. If you are still unsure about anything regarding your coverage, contact one of our International Health Insurance advisors here and we'll be happy to help.