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Office Freedom
Office Freedom
  • 1 Minute Read
  • 25th April 2012

Should I Use an International Health Provider for a Local Provider?

As an expatriate living and working abroad, investing in international health insurance should be one of your first priorities. However, you are likely to face a choice between local health insurance companies and international health insurance companies. When choosing between the two, consider the perks and pitfalls of each alternative before you arrive at a decision, such as…

Cost Factor

Local policies purchased from local insurance providers are likely to be cheaper than those purchased from international health insurance companies. For you as a consumer, there is no substitute to carefully reading and reviewing the fine print of your policy. You have to have clarity about your own needs so that you can determine whether the policy stipulations match your needs or not.


As an expatriate, your health insurance needs could be more and rather different when compared with the insurance needs of residents of your home country who rarely travel out of the country. You are better off with an international health insurance provider as you will get coverage both at home and abroad besides, having the benefit of a good network of medical professionals and hospitals across the globe on account of their relationship with your insurer.

Local health insurance providers, on the other hand, will give you limited coverage which may apply only to your home country and domestic network of hospitals, clinics and medical practitioners.

Time Span

Local health insurance policies might seem like a good investment in the short run, but in the long run, particularly for expatriates living and working abroad for long periods of time, issues of continuity arise. You might also need to be underwritten by a new insurer with new exclusions and restrictions.

Keeping your long term needs in mind, medical insurance abroad companies might just be the better option.

Range of Facilities

Depending on your lifestyle and the political situation of the country to which you are travelling or living and working, you might want to include facilities like emergency evacuation and repatriation if the need arises. Such facilities are only offered by international health insurance companies.

Financial Strength of Insurer

One of the first and the most important considerations when you look for a health insurance company is the financial strength of the underwriter. Your insurer must be able to pay for your claims as advertised, and you must be confident in this ability.

An insurance company that has a credit rating of at least A or A- assigned by AM Best Rating Agency, an indication that the insurer has "Excellent" financial strength is one you should consider signing up with.

Range of Plans

International health insurance companies have a number of policies that you can choose from, depending your needs and requirements, while the offerings of local insurance providers might be limited.