While it is essential for an expatriate to be covered by a health insurance, there is no need for it to break the bank. To help you manage your healthcare costs without taking risks, expatriate health insurance offers a range of options.
The 1st tip for managing your budget is to focus on the health benefits that are essential to you. Expatriate health plans offer different levels of coverage and optional benefits: hospitalization only, hospitalization (in-patient) and routine medical expenses (out-patient), comprehensive package, maternity. For example, if you are a young man and have only one doctor's appointment a year, the comprehensive plan may not be the best option for you.
The 2nd tip to reduce your health premium is to take advantage of the deductible options offered by your expatriate insurance provider. This deductible is not mandatory and generally varies between €300 and €5,000 per year per person. The deductible amount is selected at the enrolment time. It will be the amount you have to pay for your first medical expenses; by "sharing the cost" with the insurer it allows you to get a reduced premium. This option can be very attractive if you combine it with a plan that only covers hospitalisation, for example. Insurance providers such as THE French Assurance may offer particularly attractive family deductibles on comprehensive plans.
The 3rd tip is to use co-insurance if your international health insurance offers it. Co-insurance is a 10% or 20% charge which may be applied to your medical routine care and optical/dental care. Depending on the level of co-insurance chosen ate the enrolment, this contribution will generally reduce your premium by between 10% and 20%. Rest assured that with a French expatriate health insurance policy and some foreign insurers, your hospitalization will always be 100% reimbursed. For an expatriate who lives in a country with low healthcare costs, for example, a basic reimbursement of 80% for medical routine care (and therefore 20% remaining costs) will be more than sufficient.
The final tip to save on your healthcare premium is to identify the countries where you regularly receive health care and select the area of coverage that best suits your needs. Expatriate health providers determine their own coverage areas, the number of which generally varies between 2 and 5. Insurance providers group countries according to their level of healthcare costs, and they always provide out-of-area emergency/accident cover for occasional travel.
For example, it is not worth paying for worldwide cover including the United States if you live in Mexico. If you cross the border occasionally and do not plan any further medical treatment in the United States, accident and unexpected out-of-area cover is sufficient.
A detailed review of your needs with an expatriate health advisor will help you to identify the best options for reducing healthcare premium in regard to your situation.
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