Does Your Health Insurance stay Valid if you move Abroad?
Rajiv (32-years-old) works in a private company and lives in Pune with his wife, Sapna (28-years-old). Rajiv purchased a family floater health policy for himself and his wife. But now, Rajiv is planning to move to Germany for higher studies and is also planning to settle there to make a scintillating career. Now, Rajiv is worried whether his existing health insurance policy will be valid in Germany or whether he needs to purchase another health policy while staying abroad. Well, this is a common question for people like Rajiv who are planning to shift abroad. So, let’s discuss whether they need to purchase a separate international insurance policy for their health or their existing policy will cover health insurance abroad.
Health insurance is the utmost protection that takes care of your healthcare expenses in the case of a medical emergency. By reimbursing your hospital bills and other treatment-related expenses, a health insurance plan helps you to concentrate on the treatment and recovery in case of a medical contingency. But, what to do if you are planning to shift to another country? Will your existing health insurance policy that you have purchased in India support you financially in another country too? Let’s dig deeper.
Geographical limitations of Health Insurance Plans in India
Most health insurance plans in India usually offer expenses for domestic treatments. This means they usually offer coverage for people who are residing inside India. These policies offer coverage for hospitalization expenses, home care treatment costs, daycare treatment procedures, OPD costs, etc., at a hospital or healthcare facility in India. If you are traveling abroad, your health insurance plan will not bear the costs of expenses. However, you can claim road or air ambulance charges if you are taking these facilities within the geographical borders in India.
Suppose you need any emergency hospitalization, or you meet with an accident in a foreign country. In that case, you need to bear all healthcare expenses, including the cost of treatment, ambulance charges, and other expenses of your own. The cost of treatment is on the higher side in a foreign country. So, any health emergency abroad will drain out your savings.
To pacify this issue, many health insurance companies are offering their customers global coverage. If your insurance policy comes with worldwide coverage, your insurer will bear your treatment expenses in a foreign country. But you need to remember that you will get global coverage as an add-on cover for most health policies. This means you can include this coverage by paying an extra premium amount.
Many personal accident plans include global coverage within their plans. They bear the cost of accidental injuries irrespective of the place (whether the accident happened in India or abroad). These policies also reimburse if you get disabled or die due to an accident in a foreign country.
Is your health insurance policy valid when you shift to a Foreign Country?
If you own a basic health insurance policy that doesn’t include any global coverage, then it will not bear your healthcare expenses abroad. But suppose your health policy or personal accident policy comes with global coverage. In that case, it will remain valid if you shift to another country and cover all your medical expenses there. If your health insurance policy includes worldwide coverage, it will only be valid outside India.
Like critical illness policy, some benefit-based health plans may remain valid if you migrate to another country. This type of policy offers you a lump sum or a hefty amount once you are diagnosed with any critical diseases like heart attack, cancer, stroke, multiple sclerosis, etc. You can even initiate a claim against your critical illness policy while staying in a foreign country. But before purchasing a health insurance policy, check with your insurer whether your critical illness policy is valid only inside India or outside India.
Should you cancel your Policy while going Abroad?
If you own a normal health insurance policy that offers domestic coverage, then you must cancel your policy before leaving India. Because you can’t initiate a claim while staying in a foreign country, so why should you continue the policy by paying premiums?
Rather, you should purchase a health insurance policy in a country where you are planning to shift. Your life insurance with a health cover policy purchased abroad will take care of your bills and health-related expenses in that particular country. Health insurance is mandatory in many countries for residents (foreign nationals and their citizens). For example, in Germany, health insurance is compulsory for everyone.
It would be wise to purchase a top-up plan if you are an NRI who needs to travel frequently in India. Because a top-up plan covers most of your major healthcare expenses, you need to only pay minor expenses from your pocket. These plans are beneficial for those who are planning to return to India after some years.
International Health Insurance Point to Remember
While purchasing international medical insurance in India, certain points you need to remember.
- In a foreign country, healthcare expenses are huge. Thus, you must handpick an adequate coverage amount.
- Before committing to any plan, check whether your selected country is covered under the policy or not. Most health insurers exclude treatment in the United States of America and Canada. However, some may cover these countries by paying a higher premium.
- Most international health plans offer coverage for specific ailments only. By choosing a higher sum insured, you can enhance your benefits, but you need to pay more premium.
- For international health plans, most health insurers usually settle your claim by reimbursement only because it is an arduous job for health insurance companies to maintain a global network of hospitals for cashless treatments.
- An international health plan covers health contingencies as well as planned medical treatments
Most health insurance plans in India have geographical limitations. Thus, if you purchased a basic health plan, you can discontinue it and buy a new plan while shifting to a foreign country. But if you are planning to relocate soon to India, then you can go for international travel insurance in India and stay protected against health emergencies.