Long Term Travel Medical for Work or Living Abroad

Long Term International Travel Medical plans for long-term work or travel come in many different forms.

A long term plan is typically going to be 6 month or longer, even up to permanent policies.  Some companies will design their policy as a comprehensive package providing coverage for most needed areas such as, hospital, outpatient, rx, surgery, physical therapy, lab and x-ray and more.

Other policies you may want to look at are called “modular” policies. They offer optional benefit modules so your can design the policy that makes most sense for you and the location you will be living in.  It starts with a core module which is not optional.  It includes; hospital, surgery, maternity, cancer care and chemotherapy or radiation, MRI, CT Scans and other radio-logical services, ambulance and pshych services.

Optional modules are: outpatient care, emergency evacuation, wellness and dental/vision.

The module style policies are quickly becoming  very popular because of the flexibility.  For example you may be working or living in a country where you can receive outpatient care equivalent to $30 or $40 per visit. In this case the outpatient module may not be necessary.

I will always recommend “emergency evacuation” services to be included in your policy.  This may be a life-saver for you or a family member.  If you are injured or become ill and the local medical services are not capable or prepared to care for you properly, the “evacuation” service will fly you to a different location, maybe a different country or even back to your home country for care.  This is very important coverage to always be included in your policy, long or short term, for work, study, vacation or cruise. Please include it.

Claims is another area of vital importance.  Most international Travel insurance companies approve your policy but will “investigate at the time of claim.”  During the investigation they will determine if the claim is caused by a pre-existing condition or not.  If they believe it is, they will deny the claim, if they do not think it is from a pre-x, the claim is paid.

The problem here is, many companies leave this area very open and can consider almost anything pre-existing. (See below)

Both GeoBlue and Cigna Global will review the enrollment before approving the application.

A company that does a little medical review when the enrollment is submitted will usually either accept your application in which case they will not review for pre-existing conditions at the time of claim.  Or they will exclude a pre-existing condition for 6 months.  At least with this type of policy, you are much more certain what is going to be paid and what is not.  If the company does not issue any waivers for pre-existing conditions, you can be certain you will not have claims denied because the company considers them pre-x.

Please contact me anytime for a quote or more information.

John Conner

Questions & Comments:

Employee Medical Coverage while Working and Living Abroad

What do you do when an emergency strikes while working or living abroad?  A car accident or sudden illness. Do you speak the language or can you understand the medical personnel?  Is surgery required?

There are so many moving parts to receiving proper care while in another country. If it’s over the weekend, will your HR department answer your call or email?  Your group health carrier isn’t even open over the weekend or evenings.

What if you are taken to a medical facility that is not up to western standards?  The doctor is telling you that surgery is needed, but you are very uncomfortable about the care you are receiving.

Business Travel Accident falls short of proper coverage.  Limited illness or outpatient or Rx coverage.

Work Comp falls short when caring for an employee while abroad. Emergency evacuation coverage to name one very important international coverage. Reimbursement is also a requirement. Some international hospitals won’t even allow you to enter without proof of high limit credit cards or an international medical insurance card.

Domestic health insurance basically stops at our border.  Reimbursement is only available if the insurance company agrees the service was an emergency situation, if not … no coverage.  Also emergency evacuation is not covered. Plus they are unable to help coordinate care for you.

All the above typically do not provide 24/7/365 member phone access to speak to a consultant who specialized in helping and advising you during your time of need.

International Travel Medical Insurance … on the other hand is specifically designed to protect with comprehensive coverage during emergency and non-emergency situations anywhere in the world.

Emergency medical evacuation and transportation to another city, country or back to your home country for care.  Hospital, outpatient, surgery, Rx, physical therapy, dental and vision coverage.  Dr. visits, 24/7 member services, mobile app to help with locating a doctor, filling a prescription, proof of insurance, medical terms in dozens of languages and much more. Plus you have a team of specialists available 24 hours a day to help you or take over and help coordinate proper care if you are unable to communicate or if there is a language barrier.

Companies like GeoBlue and Cigna Global are experienced international medical insurance providers who are experts in the global medical community regardless of the country you are located.  Every country has different laws, rules and guidelines one must follow in order to receive care.  GeoBlue and Cigna, are leaders in the multinational medical landscape.

Individual or group international medical coverage for anyone traveling, living, working or studying abroad.

Please feel free to contact me for more information regarding your situation.

John Conner

Information Request:

Stanford University International Student Medical Coverage

All Stanford University students must have medical insurance while enrolled.  Many will choose Cardinal Care, which is insured through Health Net, and while on Cardinal Care you must first visit Vaden Health Center and if you need a physician, they will refer you to one of the available doctors contracted with Health Net.

Many International Students opt-out of Cardinal care and enroll in an International Medical Insurance plan such as GeoBlue which allows you to not only go to Vaden Health Center, but also Stanford Hospital the Palo Alto Medical Foundation and Menlo Clinic, along with most every Bay Area Hospital and medical facility.

The freedom to choose your own doctor or hospital through out the Bay Area, the State of California and across the U.S.


The GeoBlue annual premium will be approximately $220 per month depending on the annual deductible you choose.  Cardinal Care is nearly $5,000 for the 12 month policy.  GeoBlue will provide much more flexibility when seeing doctors and hospitals of your choice along with a more comprehensive benefit structure.  Please see the brochure for more details.

Appointment Scheduling and Direct Pay— Paperless, Cashless, Convenient.
Using the web, the telephone or a web-enabled cell phone, members can request appointments with doctors and hospitals who participate in GeoBlue’s International Community. When making appointments,
GeoBlue arranges to pay the doctor or hospital directly. GeoBlue even waives the deductible if a member sees a participating physician. In the U.S., simply show your ID card at the time of service.

Around-the-Clock Assistance Call Center:
GeoBlue maintains a 24/7, toll-free call center to assist GeoBlue members with everything from routine requests to medical emergencies. The GeoBlue staff has years of experience with international medical assistance and has close working relationships with its International Provider Community.

GeoBlue International Student Advantages:
  1. U.S. licensed and admitted insurance company.
  2. Cashless access to the best provider networks inside and outside the U.S.
  3. Choice of deductible options (waived for office visits).
  4. $30 office visit copay (reduced to $10 outside the U.S.).
  5. Coinsurance waived for care outside the U.S.
  6. Pre-existing conditions exclusion waived with prior creditable coverage.
  7. No waiting period associated with preventative services.
  8. No exclusion for specified conditions in the first 6 months.
  9. No pre-certification penalty imposed.
  10. Sports and alcohol related injuries covered.
GeoBlue Travels with You:

While traveling across the globe with the GeoBlue mobile app, you can quickly and conveniently find and access quality care using your mobile device. If you travel back to your home country or anywhere else while on holiday, you will be covered with GeoBlue.

Enroll today … or contact me anytime with questions.

John Conner

Quote & Information Request:

Cigna Global International Medical for Mexico

Working, studying, living or vacationing in Mexico, take along with you and your family a Cigna Global International Medical insurance policy to protect you from the unexpected.

Why 86 million international customers trust us:

  • International Coverage – access to our global network of trusted hospitals, clinics and doctors.
  • Flexibility – the flexibility to tailor a plan to suit your individual needs.
  • 24/7/365 Customer Care – the convenience and confidence of Cigna customer care.
  • Years of Experience – the reassurance of our experience in delivering international health care.

Cigna Global allows you to tailor a plan for fit your and your family’s unique needs in 2 easy steps …

Step 1 …

Start with your Core Plan (3 Core Plan Options) …

SILVER PLAN  –  A quality health plan, including coverage for hospital stays and treatments and a generous overall annual benefit limit.

  • Annual benefit limit:  $1,000,000
  • Cancer treatment

GOLD PLAN  –  Comprehensive coverage, including inpatient maternity care with higher limits on most of the benefits.

  • Annual benefit limit:  $2,000,000
  • Cancer treatment
  • Inpatient Maternity

PLATINUM PLAN  –  Our top plan with unlimited annual limit and most benefits are paid in full.

  • Annual benefit limit:  Unlimited
  • Cancer care
  • Inpatient Maternity
  • Mental health care paid in full

Step 2 …

Enhance your Protection with Optional Modules:

International Outpatient  –  More extensive outpatient care for treatments that don’t require an overnight stay in hospital. Including prescribed outpatient drugs and dressings and much more.

International Medical Evacuation  –  Medical evacuation in the event that treatment is not available locally in an emergency, as well as repatriation, allowing the beneficiary to return to their country of habitual residence or nationality.

International Health & Wellbeing  –  Proactively manage your own health. Screen against disease, test against common illnesses and get reassurance with routine physical exams.

International Vision & Dental – Vision care including an eye test and a wide range of preventative, routine and major dental treatments.

Custom Quote & Information

Cigna Global experience:

We’ve provided global health insurance for many years. Today we have 86 million customer relationships in over 200 countries and jurisdictions. Looking after them is an international workforce of 37,000 people, plus a medical network comprising of over 1 million partnerships, including 89,000 behavioural health care professionals, and 11,400 facilities and clinics.

We have years of experience in dealing with varied and unique clinical and service situations worldwide. Our vast experience means we provide high standards of healthcare, regardless of where you are in the world.

Last but not least …

Don’t forget about … International Medical Evacuation provides coverage for reasonable transportation costs to the nearest center of medical excellence in the event that the treatment is not available locally in an emergency. This option also includes repatriation coverage, allowing the beneficiary to return to their country of habitual residence or country of nationality to be treated in a familiar location.

It also includes compassionate visits for a parent, spouse, partner, sibling, or child to visit a beneficiary after an accident or sudden illness and the beneficiary has not been evacuated or repatriated.

John Conner

Information Request:

International Employee Medical Benefits

Employee benefits, group health, business travel accident or international evac.  There are a handful of long-term and short-term policy types when looking into a plan to protect your employees overseas with their medical access and coverage.

Most international policies only cover specific aspects of your protection while working and living abroad.

The only policy to cover all areas of your international travel is an International Medical Insurance policy.  One that provides protection for:

  • Hospital, outpatient, preventive, maternity, Rx, Lab & X-ray, physical therapy, doctor visits, vision and dental.
  • Emergency medical evacuation. Air medical to another city, country or back to your home country for care.
  • 24/7/365 member services and access to trained staff to help with your medical needs.
  • Phone, tablet or electronic applications to assist in finding local doctors, search doctor profiles, fill prescription, make appts, common medical terms in other languages, connect with insurance company, etc.

Individual and Group Options:

Many employers who have a few employees on long term foreign assignment can enroll the employees and any family members on an “Individual International Medical Plan,” or choose to start a group policy if there will be more than several needing global protection.

Individual and family plans are easy, quick to enroll in and have similar coverage as their group counterpart.  The one area where enrolling may be tricky is, “individual” plans have limited medical underwriting, meaning a person or employee who is applying will need to answer several health status questions, and the approval is based on current ans past health status.

Group International medical plans do not have any health status questions and the enrollment is guaranteed as long as the employee, contractor or third country national are affiliated with the company they are enrolling with.  Payroll is not necessary to enroll in a new application.

Below are an example of International Medical Benefits:

When trying to decide to go with an Individual or Group policy, first consider the health status of the employees moving abroad, second how many are there.  If everyone is healthy and you have more than 5 ot 6 employees, you may want to consider starting a Group International Medical plan.

If you have 2 employees and one has a few medical issues, I would still go with a group plan.  One, two or three employees in good health, Individual medical is the way to go.

And remember you can always change from individual to group or group to individual.

If you are looking at some of the low priced company/plans, be careful, many of these will not medically underwrite and review at the time of application.  Instead they will underwrite at the time of claim and at that point determine if the cause of claim is due to a pre-existing condition.

Here is a little information on Pre-Existing conditions and Exclusions.

Plans, policies, benefits, exclusions, doctor networks, claims, member services … they are all very different depending on the company providing the service.

Are you looking for the “right plan,” the “lowest cost” plan, or are you relying on your domestic health insurance policy?  Of these three, I hope it is not the domestic group health plan.  Domestic health insurance provides drastically low levels of coverage when you leave the U.S. borders.

The “right plan” on the other hand is specifically designed to help provide and pay for your medical care, deliver easy access to talented medical professionals and deliver concierge level services wherever you are worldwide.

John Conner

Information Request:

International Medical Insurance – Pre Existing Conditions & Exclusions

I am often asked; “what is the difference between most of these International Travel Medical companies other than price and coverage?”

When talking about the longer term policies, which involves some type of medical underwriting or approval. One of the primary differences is how company’s determine, exclude and or covers “pre-existing” conditions.

Some companies offer plans with superior benefits or low premiums, while other offer very limited medical underwriting at the time of application and will investigate every claim.  Others will go through a bit heavier underwriting at enrollment and only review claims.

But ultimately, how a company works with pre-existing conditions will determine the quality of a policy.

The last thing you want as a policy holder is to be declined a claim when you need them the most.  Only to find out the claim(s) was declined because of a pre-existing condition you didn’t even know you had.

I have included verbiage from two different international medical companies and their definitions of pre-existing coverage.

First Company definition:

The plan does not cover services for treatment of a medical condition for which medical advice, diagnosis, care, or treatment was recommended or received during 180 days immediately preceding the member’s eligibility date.

The 180-day pre-existing conditions period can be reduced or eliminated if you have been covered by a creditable group or individual health insurance plan.

The above definition is reasonable and allows for an applicant to have pre-existing exclusions waived with creditable coverage.

Second Company definition:

The term “Pre-Existing Condition” shall mean any medical condition, sickness, Injury, Illness, disease, Mental Illness or Mental Nervous Disorder, regardless of the cause, including any congenital, chronic, subsequent, or recurring complications or consequences related thereto or resulting therefrom that with reasonable medical certainty existed at the time of application or any time prior to the Individual Effective Date of Coverage under this Certificate, whether or not previously manifested, symptomatic, known, diagnosed, treated or disclosed. This specifically includes but is not limited to any medical condition, sickness, Injury, Illness, disease, Mental Illness or Mental Nervous Disorder for which medical advice, diagnosis, care or treatment was recommended or received or for which a reasonably prudent person would have sought treatment prior to the Individual Effective Date of Coverage under this Certificate.

Pre-Existing Condition(s) as defined herein. The Administrator, for certain Pre-Existing Conditions, may issue Exclusionary Rider(s). Pre-Existing Conditions that are fully and accurately disclosed on the Application and Approved and accepted by the Administrator, without an exclusionary Rider(s) or other restriction, will be covered up to a lifetime maximum of $50,000 ($5,000 limit per Period of Coverage) after the Insured Person(s) has been continuously insured for two (2) consecutive and continuous Coverage Periods (seven hundred and twenty-eight (728) days).

The second company’s definitions are very lengthy and covers many areas of potential health history.  Also, I believe with so many possible exclusions available, this gives the company almost any reason to deny a claim.

For a person or family needing a long-term international medical plan, be sure to look into, or ask about the pre-existing condition coverage and exclusions clauses and definitions. It will help with your decision.

Also, companies who do not medically underwrite at the time of application, will generally go through a medical review at the “time of claim,” which means they will look at your health history and determine if the current claim is the result of a pre-existing condition.  It they believe it is, the claim will most likely be denied.

On the other hand, companies that underwrite before the policy is approved, generally to not go through a medical review at the time of claim and the claims are typically processed quite quickly.

Please feel free to contact me anytime with questions regarding international medical companies, plans, or any of the above mentioned clauses and definitions.

John Conner

Quote and Information Request:

Long Term Travel Insurance to South America

Long Term Travel Medical Insurance for your work assignment, coverage while at school or for your family who will be living part of the year or permanently in South America.

Employees, Global Families, Contractors and Students all need long-term travel medical insurance if working, living or studying outside of your home country for longer than 6 months.  Short term plans are considered less than 6 months.

Employers sending 1 employee or contractor, maybe several, or even hundreds abroad for long periods of time benefit from the benefits, global doctor network and member service access which is 24/7/365.  So you are never alone when working or traveling in a foreign land.

Pre-Existing Conditions & Exclusions

Coverage for South American Countries:

Brazil, Columbia, Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, Venezuela, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay

You and your family in two countries:

Do you work in one location and your family members live in another part of the world?  Certain global medical plans are designed to properly cover you and your entire family with one policy, even though you are in two different locations.

Some international medical companies will not be able to accommodate you with a single comprehensive policy.  Many have limitations and flexibility issues. So be careful and ask plenty of questions before you choose what is right for yourself and family.

What good is insurance if you can’t find a doctor you can trust?
Companies like Cigna and GeoBlue provide all the tools an expatriate needs to manage health and safety risks, including finding the right doctor and clearly communicating your medical condition.

Around-the-Clock Assistance Call Center:

Cigna and GeoBlue maintain a 24/7/365, toll-free call center to assist
members with everything from routine requests to medical emergencies. HTH staff has years of experience with international medical assistance and has close working relationships with its International Provider Community.

Some services are included, others are available to add to your health plan:

  • Medical evacuation and repatriation insurance
  • Global Wellness programs
  • Life insurance
  • Pharmacy management
  • Long-term disability insurance
  • Accidental death and dismemberment insurance
  • International Employee Assistance Program services
  • Dental and vision insurance

Contact me anytime with your unique situation.

John Conner

Quote and Information Request: