Expat Health Insurance

Compare quotes for expatriate health insurance through Savvy today.

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, updated on July 6th, 2023       

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We’ve partnered with Compare Club to bring you a range of health insurance policies to help you compare them side by side.

Moving to a new country as an expatriate can be an exciting adventure, but it also comes with its challenges. One of the most critical aspects of your wellbeing is access to quality healthcare in a foreign land. Expats need to be prepared for unexpected medical emergencies in addition to their routine healthcare needs while living overseas. This is where expat health insurance comes into play. 

You can compare expat health insurance policies here with Savvy. Just by answering a few short questions about your needs, you could have health policies to compare instantly from some of Australia’s leading health insurance funds. Find and compare expat health insurance with Savvy today. 

What is expat health insurance and what does it cover?

Expat health insurance, also known as international health insurance or global medical insurance, is a type of health insurance which can provide health coverage for individuals who live and work outside their home country. It’s specifically designed to cater to the unique healthcare needs of expatriates, providing them with financial protection and access to quality healthcare services in their host country. Expat health insurance can cover a wide range of medical services, including:  

  • Hospital accommodation
  • Surgical and theatre fees
  • Pharmaceuticals provided to you in hospital
  • 24/7 emergency medical care
  • In-home nursing care
  • Doctors’ and specialists’ fees
  • X-rays, blood tests and other diagnostic tests
  • Prescription medications
  • Rehabilitation services
  • Ambulance cover
  • Physiotherapy, chiropractic care, nutrition advice
  • Medical repatriation back to Australia

It’s also possible to get expat health insurance to cover pre-existing conditions and pregnancy and childbirth services. The level of cover provided for these services will depend on the particular policy you buy. For example, one health fund may allow $5,000 towards the cost of medical repatriation, while another more expensive policy may allow $20,000 for this area of cover. 

Why is health insurance important for expatriates?

As an expatriate living overseas, you may face unfamiliar healthcare systems, language barriers and varying standards of care in your host country. Having expat health insurance can potentially offer you greater peace of mind and financial protection in case of medical emergencies and your routine healthcare needs which are included under your policy’s coverage. Expat health insurance is important for expatriates for many reasons, including: 

  • Access to quality healthcare: expat health insurance provides you with access to quality healthcare providers in your host country, ensuring that you receive timely and quality medical care when required.
  • Protection against steep medical expenses: medical costs can be significantly higher in some countries compared to others. Expat health insurance helps to cushion you from the shock of unexpected medical expenses which can potentially run into tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars.
  • Emergency medical evacuation and repatriation: in case of a serious medical emergency, expat health insurance may cover the cost of evacuation to get you home for further medical treatment and ensure that you can be near your loved ones if you’re seriously ill.
  • Preventive care and wellness: expats still need to take care of their preventative health needs whilst overseas for a long period. Some expat health insurance plans may include coverage for preventive care including dental check-ups and routine teeth cleaning, annual vaccinations and some health and wellness programs to promote your overall wellbeing. 

What should I consider when choosing expat health insurance?

Choosing the right expat health insurance plan can be overwhelming, as there are so many options available. Some factors to consider when selecting expat health insurance include: 

  • Coverage and benefits: carefully review the coverage and benefits offered by the insurance plan. Ensure that it includes the essential medical services you may require, such as hospitalisation, outpatient care, emergency medical care, prescription medications and preventive care. Additionally, you may wish to consider optional extras coverage for dental, optical services, maternity or pre-existing conditions, depending on your personal needs
  • Network of providers: check if the insurance plan has a wide network of trusted healthcare providers in your host country. Having access to quality providers can help you receive timely and appropriate care.
  • Cost and premiums: consider the overall cost of the insurance plan, including premiums, excess amounts, co-payments and any other out-of-pocket expenses. Compare the costs of different plans and choose one which both fits within your budget and provides adequate cover.
  • Emergency coverage: compare the coverage offered for emergency medical evacuation and repatriation in case of serious medical emergencies. Benefit limits can vary from $5,000 up to $20,000 or more.
  • Customer service and support: enquire about the customer service and support which is offered by the insurance provider, including assistance with claims, access to a 24/7 helpline and language support, especially if you are living in a non-English-speaking country.
  • Flexibility and customisation: look for plans which offer flexibility and customisation options, allowing you to choose the coverage which best fits your specific needs and budget.

You can compare a range of expat health insurance policies here through Savvy. Just fill out some basic details about the cover you’re after and request a call-back. A health insurance expert will call you to assist you with your choice and help you fill in the necessary forms to get your health insurance in place. 

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Frequently asked questions about expat health insurance for Australians

Can I get expat health insurance through my employer?

Your employer may provide you with expat health insurance as part of your employment conditions, or they may give you the choice of buying your own expat health insurance, but offer to cover the cost. However, this will depend entirely on where you work, so be sure to check with your employer if you’re unsure.

What will happen if I don’t have health insurance when living or working abroad?

If you don’t have private health insurance while abroad, and you fall ill, have an accident or suddenly need urgent medical care, you could find yourself having to pay for the full cost of your health treatment. This could potentially run to tens of thousands of dollars, depending if the country you are in at the time has a reciprocal health care agreement with Australia. 

Can Australians use their domestic health insurance while living abroad or do they need separate expat health insurance?

In most cases, domestic health insurance in Australia does not provide coverage for Australians living abroad as expats. Therefore, Australians typically need separate expat health insurance to ensure they have adequate coverage and protection while living or working in a foreign country

Is expat health insurance mandatory for Australians living abroad?

While expat health insurance in Australia isn’t generally mandatory for Australians living abroad, it’s highly recommended to have comprehensive coverage to protect against unexpected medical expenses and ensure access to quality healthcare services in a foreign country. Some countries may also have specific visa or residency requirements which mandate expat health insurance coverage.

Can Australians get expat health insurance if they have pre-existing medical conditions?

Some expat health insurance providers in Australia may offer coverage for pre-existing medical conditions, depending on the policy and provider. It's important to review the policy terms and conditions, including any exclusions or limitations related to pre-existing conditions, before choosing a plan.

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