International Private Medical Insurance, or iPMI, is a long-term health insurance designed to cover the expatriates outside their home country. Some iPMI plans also cover the local citizens in their own country as long as it is not the U.S.
International Private Medical Insurance is also called international health insurance, or expatriate health insurance. The cost of international insurance will vary depending upon the plan and type of coverage you choose.
Compare iPMI with Travel Insurance
While travel insurance is suitable for short trips, it is better to purchase iPMI for long term assignments abroad as it provides several distinct advantages over travel insurance:
- Travel insurance is usually available for trips up to 1 year. International private medical insurance are annually renewable major medical insurance plans.
- Even though iPMI costs more than travel insurance, additional benefits that you need would justify the cost.
- Travel insurance typically provides emergency medical evacuation to the nearest place where adequate care can be given. On the other hand, iPMI allows you to travel to another country, including your country of citizenship, specifically to receive treatment. Of course, you can receive treatment only within the coverage area you have chosen in iPMI.
- Travel insurance typically excludes pre-existing conditions, except some plans provide acute onset of pre-existing conditions.
On the other hand, international private medical insurance plans are medically underwritten and would cover pre-existing conditions if disclosed at the time of application and not restricted by a rider. In any case, if you are just applying for yourself or your family, you are less likely to be covered for pre-existing conditions. On the other hand, if you are an employer that has many employees needing iPMI coverage (10 to 20 employees or more), one or two employees that have pre-existing conditions are more likely to get the coverage, as the insurance company would still make money on an overall group.
- International private medical insurance would typically cover mental health issues, wellness benefits and maternity.
However, there is usually a waiting period of 12 months after the effective date of the policy for conception. Therefore, iPMI won't provide maternity coverage if you are already pregnant or become pregnant before the waiting period ends.
Domestic Health Insurance
Some of the expatriates consider purchasing domestic health insurance available in their country of residence instead of opting for an international private medical insurance, which may be appropriate for some people. However, if you are likely to be traveling to or transferred to different countries, domestic health insurance would not provide coverage outside their own country and would certainly not be portable in another country.
Country Specific Considerations
International private medical insurance or iPMI can be very useful if you will be residing in countries where public or state-run scheme (such as NHS in UK) is not available or if you are not eligible to participate.
Moreover, some countries such as Australia, UAE and Switzerland, have a specific requirement for international private medical insurance that must be met in order to be considered compliant international health insurance. Make sure to review those requirements against the insurance plan you are considering purchasing.
Advantages of iPMI
International private medical insurance providers are experienced in dealing with healthcare systems in many countries. Their experience means you would have direct access to some of the best physicians and hospitals in the world. You may additionally get non-insurance benefits such as travel assistance, translation services, etc. that may turn out to be very helpful if you were to become sick or injured in a foreign country.
Expatriates in the USA
It is important to understand that international private medical insurance plans are NOT PPACA compliant and not meant to be substitute PPACA insurance. iPMI plans do not provide the 'Essential Minimum Coverage' required under PPACA plans. Therefore, if you qualify for PPACA compliant (domestic health insurance) plans in USA, you should definitely consider them over iPMI.
If you are a U.S. citizen living abroad, please check out ACA requirements for US citizens living abroad.
Corporate Health Insurance
If you are a corporation that has many expatriates working for you outside their home country, we can provide a customized long term international health insurance to suit the needs of your group. Purchasing an excellent international private medical insurance for your expatriate employees is important to recruit and retain top talent.
International Private Medical Insurance provides valuable long-term international health coverage to meet the needs of people in specific situations. If you are searching for the right international medical insurance plan, we can help. You can easily request your quotes online and call our office with any questions you have.