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Health insurance for expats

What is health insurance for expats? Protect yourself while you're working abroad, compare policies and get covered.

If your working life takes you away from Australia's shores, it’s important you have the right health insurance policy in place to help cover your medical costs if something goes wrong. Expat health insurance is designed to ensure that you and your family won’t be left with significant medical bills if you suffer a serious illness or injury, covering everything from hospital accommodation and treatment fees to medical repatriation to Australia.

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Complete the form and you'll be contacted by a consultant for an obligation free discussion about your health insurance options.

The consultant will work with you to compare a range of health insurance providers which may include:

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Why should you consider expat health insurance?

Health insurance for expatriates enables you and your family to access a high level of medical care immediately wherever you are in the world. While the standard of healthcare in Australia is quite high, the medical care and treatment on offer internationally can vary greatly from one country to the next.

With this in mind, expat health insurance is essential to ensuring that the healthcare needs of you and your family are always looked after.

What is covered by health insurance for expatriates?

Although the benefits offered by expat health insurance differ from one policy to the next, a comprehensive expat health insurance policy will usually cover:

  • Hospital accommodation
  • Surgical and theatre fees
  • In-hospital medicines
  • Nursing care
  • Day surgery
  • Specialists’ fees
  • Pathology, x-rays, diagnostic tests
  • Prosthetic implants and appliances
  • Rehabilitation
  • Pregnancy and childbirth
  • Ambulance transportation and treatment
  • Cancer treatment
  • 24/7 emergency medical advice and assistance
  • Medical repatriation to Australia
  • Physio, chiro, osteo, speech therapy, dietitian, natural therapies

Who offers this type of cover?

There are two ways you can access health insurance for expatriates:

  • Through your employer if they offer cover for workers overseas.
  • By taking out an international health insurance policy yourself directly from an insurer.

Major global insurers such as Bupa and Allianz both offer international health insurance solutions for individuals and their families, as well as policies designed for businesses to offer to their employees. Health insurance for expats is also available from major insurance providers such as QBE and GU Health, so it’s important to shop around and compare your cover options.

Health or travel insurance: Which is right for you?

If you’re heading overseas and comparing your insurance options, you might be a little confused as to whether health insurance or travel insurance is right for you. However, there are a couple of key differences that set these two types of cover apart.

  • Health insurance for expats. This is designed for Australians who will be spending an extended period of time abroad, living overseas. With this in mind, expat health insurance includes cover for day-to-day medical expenses like visits to the doctor, x-rays and pathology, as well as maternity care and dental treatment. Of course, policies also include cover for emergency medical expenses and repatriation to Australia.
  • Travel insurance. On the other hand, this type of insurance is more suited to cover the needs of Australians taking shorter trips overseas. This means that it typically does not include any cover for everyday healthcare expenses and services such as maternity care. Instead, the medical cover provided by travel insurance is only designed to provide protection if you suffer an unexpected medical emergency while overseas. In addition, travel insurance also provides cover for a range of other travel-related risks, including lost luggage, travel delays and cancellation fees.

Coming back? How long can you suspend your current cover?

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Do I need a policy if I am covered by the RHCA?

Australia has Reciprocal Health Care Agreements (RHCAs) in place with the governments of 11 countries around the world:

  • The United Kingdom
  • The Republic of Ireland
  • New Zealand
  • Italy
  • Malta
  • Belgium
  • Netherlands
  • Sweden
  • Slovenia
  • Norway
  • Finland

If you visit one of these countries, under the RHCA you are entitled to access subsidised healthcare under the public health system in place at that destination; in other words, you’ll be covered by that country’s version of Medicare.

However, although the medical cover available under an RHCA is certainly beneficial, it has its limits.

  • It does not provide cover for a wide range of medical expenses, including ambulance services, dental treatment, elective treatments and treatment in private hospitals.
  • You also won’t receive any cover for the cost of medical repatriation to Australia.

That’s why, even if you are visiting a country with which Australia has a RHCA, it still makes sense to take out expat health insurance. Having a policy in place guarantees peace of mind and ensures that you can enjoy comprehensive medical cover around the world.

Compare expatriate health insurance with help from an adviser

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