Health Insurance Coverage Abroad


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How to Use Your Health Insurance Abroad

Intercontinental Care helps patients that wish to use their health insurance for covering their medical treatments abroad by finding the best hospitals that will accept their insurance and also offer the best clinical outcomes.

There are two types of health insurance that cover medical treatment abroad:

  • Coverage for planned medical services abroad: you have a healthcare plan provided by an international company that allows you to receive medical treatment when abroad and thus you can travel for the explicit purpose of receiving medical treatment in another country. Not all insurance companies allow their members to receive medical treatments abroad and they may redirect patients to the hospitals located inside the country where they reside or where they have signed their health insurance policy.
  • Coverage for medical emergencies or accidents abroad: you require medical attention and cost coverage due to some kind of unforeseen accident that occurs while you are abroad for business or on a vacation. Usually you will receive only the medical services that are strictly necessary to allow you to travel back home in good health so that you can continue your treatment upon your return. There specific travel insurance policies for this type of coverage and which can also cover lost luggage, missed flights, etc.

There are two types of payment options available for patients that wish to be treated abroad:

  • Direct Coverage. Patients are not required to pay in advance, with the exception of any uncovered amounts as described in their health insurance policy, for the services provided by hospitals which have an agreement with their insurance company. The hospital will check insurance coverage of the patient from insurance company’s website or contact the patient’s insurance company directly to request a letter called guarantee of payment. With the guarantee of payment, the insurance company undertakes to pay the hospital on behalf of the patient and it also indicates the conditions of the coverage for the services requested by the patient.
  • Indirect Coverage. Patients are reimbursed for the costs they incurred for the medical services. Since there is no direct billing agreement to the coppatients in this case will have to pay the full amount of the services indicated in the price quotation or invoice.To obtain reimbursement, the patient must provide the medical reports and invoices received from the hospital, directly to his insurance company. 

To understand what kind of coverage you have and the conditions that apply, you must check your health insurance policy.

Health Insurances Accepted Abroad

These are the main international insurance companies which offer healthcare plans to expats and travelers:

  • Aetna Global Benefits
  • AIG
  • Al Koot Insurance & Reinsurance Company
  • Allianz Worldwide Care Limited
  • AXA Insurance Public Company Limited
  • AXA PPP Health Care Limited
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield Plans
  • BUPA International
  • Cigna International
  • Daman Health Insurance
  • DavidShield International Medicine Insurance
  • GeoBlue
  • GMMI
  • Healix International
  • IMG (International Medical Group)
  • Liberty Insurance Limited
  • Medical Administrators International (MAI)
  • MetLife (Delaware American Life Insurance Company)
  • MetLife (MSH CHINA)
  • Now Health
  • International
    Pacific International (Pacific cross, Medsure)
  • Paramount Healthcare Management
  • Ping An Health Insurance Company Ltd.
  • Seven Corners, Inc.
  • Tokio Marine
  • United Healthcare International (Global Solutions)
  • William Russell Ltd

Some insurance company outsource the management of their cases to specialized medical assistance companies. In that case we can also ensure coverage through our partner hospitals. Some of the main assistance companies are:

  • AP Companies
  • Argos Assistance
  • International Assistance Group
  • International SOS
  • Mondial Assistance
  • Aviva
  • AXA PP Healthcare
  • Bupa
  • Vitality Health
  • WPA
  • Anthem Inc.
  • Centene Corporation
  • CVS Health
  • Health Care Service Corporation (HCSC)
  • Humana
  • Independence Health Group
  • Kaiser Foundation
  • Molina Healthcare
  • United Health

How to request Insurance Coverage Abroad

Prior to receiving medical services like consultations, lab tests, medical imaging exams, hospitalizations or surgery, patients must contact their insurance company, using the phone numbers listed in their policy, to receive prior authorization. Some insurances do not require prior authorization for outpatient services or up to a certain amount.

To get the authorization, you must sign into your personal account of the official web page of your insurance company and will be asked to provide the following information:

  • Name and surname of patient
  • Phone number of the patient
  • Preferred dates for receiving the service
  • Name of the hospital
  • Doctor’s diagnosis and prescription of the requested outpatient service
  • Medical report for inpatient services, specifying the surgery or medical treatment required by the patient
  • Price quotation of the hospital if surgery and inpatient treatment is required
  • Medical report from Emergency Room, in the event of an accident

The insurance company will grant the required authorization in accordance with the patient’s health policy’s conditions and limits, usually within 48 hours, if the administrative and medical verification of the submitted documents is successful. The insurance company will then contact the hospital and send them the Guarantee of Payment. This document indicates whether the medical services are covered and what portion of the costs will be billed directly to your insurance company and how much will be paid by the patient.

Upon receiving the guarantee of payment, the hospital will make necessary preparations to provide the medical service you require. Upon arrival in the hospital you may be asked to your membership card and a copy of the letter of the guarantee of payment as well as signing a form where you declare the you allow the hospital to share your medical records and invoice with your insurance company.

If the hospital does not receive a guarantee of payment from insurance, the patient may be asked to pay a deposit. If the hospital still does not receive a letter of guarantee by the discharge date, patient will be considered responsible for paying the invoice. The deposit will however be refunded if hospital gets the guarantee of payment letter before or on the discharge date. Any deductibles or co-payment are also charged to the patient if they are not covered by his health insurance policy.

Medical services not covered by Health Insurance

Listed below are some common medical treatments which your insurance company will likely not cover. Please be aware that this is not a complete list and that you should check your policy for the exact details.

Admissions require prior authorization, which even in case of direct coverage may take from one hour up to seven days.

  • Medicine will only be provided for the period of validity of the insurance card
  • Some insurance policies require you to pay a fixed amount or a fixed percentage to the hospital directly, even in case of direct coverage Checkup packages and screening tests may not be covered if the insurance company has its own pre-approved ones.
  • Hereditary or pre-existing conditions
  • Hepatitis B & C
  • Renal failure and dialysis
  • Circumcision
  • Cosmetic plastic surgery
  • Medical appliances such as knee brace, neck collar, brace, lumbar support, heel pads, hearing aids, glucometer etc.