International Health Insurance and Working Credit Cards

With all the things going on in the world today, sometimes it’s tempting to procrastinate on important things. I recently received my annual expat health/medical insurance renewal reminder and, of course, I put off handling the renewal until tomorrow. But now it’s been taking up space in my inbox for a few days (and I try to keep my inbox completely clear by sorting or replying to messages as soon as they arrive) I will handle it.

About five years ago I searched long and hard until I found an international health coverage provider I was happy with. And I can report that I’m very satisfied with the service I’ve received from offshore brokerage Expat Medical Insurance and their primary underwriter, Multinational Underwriters.

Although Multinational Underwriters are based in Indiana, USA, the policy I have doesn’t actually cover me for the USA and Canada. As specialists in the international health insurance business, they don’t sell their medical insurance policies to US or Canadian residents – they do however have the option for coverage in the USA and Canada if you are visiting there. And of course US and Canadian expat citizens are very welcome and are a large part of this company’s clientele.

I also went for a high excess on my policy ($2,500). This means the insurance cover is excellent value. Dare I say it, cheap! It is there for real energencies and I know I can rely on fast service s well as a free choice of the best hospitals anywhere in the world. At the same time, I’m not subsdizing hypochondriacs who visit their G.P. every month and make a claim for it. And I’m not paying for the stratospheric costs of healthcare in the US and Canada which I rarely visit anyway.

Places I live offshore it is cheap to visit a doctor for a regular consultation… between about $5 and $40 depending on the doctor. I just got a load of dental work done for $35. So it’s much easier just to pay for incidentals like this in cash, not have the hassles of making small claims, but still have the reassurance of the critical coverage if I or a family member really need it.

Anyway, another reason I decided to write about Health Insurance today was an announcement that came through from Multinational Underwiters that they are changing their name. As from 1st July they will be part of HCC global.

To quote:

We do want to stress to the vigor the HCC name brings to our products and services. In the current economic climate, there isn’t a better time to stand behind our strengths. As we see competitors wane due to economic stresses of the insurance business, HCC Insurance Holdings continues to grow its market share and status. We provide security for
clients by showcasing the following:

  • Rated AA (Very Strong) by Standard & Poor’s
  • AA (Very Strong) by Fitch Ratings
  • A+ by A.M. Best
  • Shareholders’ equity of $2.7 billion
  • Assets of $8.6 billion
  • Forbes Magazine named HCC Insurance Holdings one of 130 companies worldwide as a Global High Performer.

The actual insurance offered by this company is underwritten by Lloyds of London. which provides accident and health insurance to over 1,000,000 people in over 100 countries. Lloyd’s currently enjoys an ‘A’ (Strong) rating from Standard and Poor’s.

I don’t tell you all this to bore you with statistics, but simply to point out that this combination of HCC Global and Lloyds of London gives you the strength of two major companies from both sides of the Atlantic. The administration of HCC Global has direct settlement agreements with many top hospitals worldwide, particularly in Latin America (Mexico, Panama etc). But even where they don’t have settlement agreements, you don’t need to worry as they will take care of bills.

What you should have however (especially if you go for the high deductible like I do, but anyway it’s good policy) is good working credit cards so in case of emergency you can reassure a local hospital for initial costs. I would say having $5000 always available by credit card is a good idea. That may sound easy but many banks these days put daily limits on credit cards, even gold cards, which could mean in a dire emergency you are trying to call a bank on the other side of the world in the middle of the night trying to get them to raise yor daily limit, even though you might have funds available. Not a nice prospect!

I say ‘working’ credit cards because some banks are more reliable than others. My wife has a regular credit card from one of the biggest banks in the world, and sometimes authorizations are declined due to technical problems. It took about 6 months for them to get the Chip-and-PIN system working right. That is NOT what I call a ‘working’ credit card.

One bank I can recommend that issues working credit cards and puts absolutely no daily limits on spending is the bank we work with in Cyprus. We can arrange introductions to this bank free of charge for Q Wealth Members, who will also find further details in the Practical Offshore Banking Guide which is available to paid subscribers in the Members Area.

Anyway, for your international health insurance take a look at Expat Medical. You can check rates online without any obligation to provide personal details. You will also find more information on their health insurance for international students and  life insurance policies for expats.

3 thoughts on “International Health Insurance and Working Credit Cards”

  1. All the policies listed seem to be for travel insurance.
    I cannot find the kind of policy you mention from that company…


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