Four Major Advantages of Purchasing ExPat Health Insurance

Expat health insurance features four major advantages over domestic coverage:   Worldwide coverage no matter where you travel; local billing networks; medical evacuation options should you be injured or become seriously ill abroad; it’s less expensive.

Worldwide Coverage

American Insurance for ExPats offers long term, permanent health insurance as well as short term travel insurance that will follow you where ever you go.  If you are traveling to multiple countries in one year, or even in one trip, this insurance goes with you.  Multi-lingual customer care representatives can work directly with your care provider, in their native language, to discuss treatment options and costs.  They are also available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year so that no matter what time zone, form of currency or holiday schedule you happen to be in, a customer care professional is available.  Access to a customer care provider is available through phone, email, chat or fax.

Local Billing

Depending on the care provider you go to, some will work directly with the insurance provider, but if they are a more remote care provider, they may only accept payment at time of service.  This can be the case internationally and the insurance underwriter is familiar with this.  They will reimburse all charges associated with care.  All claim forms can be accessed on line so submission of claims is simple as long as you have access to internet, email or fax within 60 days of treatment.  Reimbursement is usually about 10 business days.

Medical Evacuation

No matter which long term health insurance plan you choose, Silver to Platinum, medical evacuation is a benefit.  Coverage is available from $50,000 per period of coverage - not subject to deductible or coinsurance - up to maximum limit, not subject to deductible or coinsurance.  In worst case scenarios,  return of mortal remains are included with coverage from $25,000.00 - $50,000.00.

However, if you are going to be traveling to a very remote location, you may want to consider purchasing a more robust medical evacuation service like MASA.  MASA stands for Medical Air Services Assistance, and they specialize in emergency evacuations from remote locations.  MASA addresses medical emergencies, in and out of the United States.  MASA is not a health insurance agency, so no physical or underwriting is required.  MASA delivers emergency air transportation and will fly spouses, friends or family members with the patient from the disaster point to the hospital and back home, or from home to visit the patient during the hospital stay.  They will also return vehicles, minor children, grandchildren and return of mortal remains.

Coverage Is Less Expensive Outside the U.S.

International health insurance is lower than health coverage at home because the claims are less expensive outside of the United States.   A doctor’s visit in the U.S. will run you $150 on average but a doctor’s visit in Venezuela or Mexico is about $30 to $40.   A private hospital room is about $300 in South America, but in the U.S., even a semiprivate room can run much higher.

Saving thousands of dollars on your health insurance is appealing to most expats, another perk of living outside the U.S. at least 6 months of the year along with the excitement of travel.   Some expats want the option of being able to seek medical care in the United States.  The American Insurance for Expats policy allows you to include or exclude U.S. coverage and premiums are lower if you take the exclusion.

Obamacare and Seniors

There is a lot of political hype in the media right now that has a lot of seniors listening carefully to the Obamacare facts.  As the health care debate moves forward, many seniors are worried that their benefits will be cut in order to pay for the changes.  However, seniors need not worry.

The cuts will primarily come from reducing the amount of Medicare fraud annually and the amount of payments that are paid into Medicare Advantage programs paid by private insurance companies.  Medicare fraud costs tax payers approximately 60 billion dollars annually.  Physician payments will also be cut. These cuts have been in the making long before ObamaCare and in fact were developed in 2002 by the Clinton administration.

Medicare Fraud

Medicare has been a part of our economy for many years and its purpose is to help those in need of medical assistance.  Medicare scams have preyed on thousands of US citizens, not only the elderly.   These scams are carried out through the hospitals, doctors offices and other medical faculties.  Many physicians have been guilty of Medicare scams.

Medicare scams have reached an all time high through false telemarketing,  false advertisements and  faulty payroll deductions.   Inaccurate amounts of office visits, medications and facility usages are billed to the Medicare program and in return, these physicians are paid through Medicare for services they have not rendered.

Medicare scams also affect our population through hospital stays and emergency room visits. Many hospital stay claims are filed each year on Medicare recipients who were never admitted or received services from a hospital stay. Emergency room visits, including Lab services, are cleverly listed in Medicare claims.  Medicare Scams through telemarketing and false advertisement affect the disabled and elderly the most by promising wheelchairs and other mobile equipment.  The scam victim gives out their Medicare information but never receives their product. In some cases, the victim receives their product but Medicare is billed excessively.

Obamacare is focused on reducing the amount of false claims to Medicare which will significantly reduce costs.  Through Obamacare, expat health insurance will still be available if you are residing outside of the country with even more reduced costs.  Obamacare wants to make sure seniors are fully covered, and it also wants to make sure that self employed citizens who are not offered health insurance through an employer are covered as well.  Health care is not expected to diminish with Obamacare, but become more widely available.



Mexico Has Great Opticians

Mexico has great Opticians with experienced training and modern equipment.  The prices, however, are not a lot less than in the United States.  An exam is usually complimentary with a purchase of new contacts or glasses, but the frames are just as expensive in Mexico as in the United States.

Opticians can be found working in chains or independent practices and both offer similar services with quality opticians.   Contact lenses are widely available in Mexico, including the monthly disposables. Daily disposables are available in fewer places and may need to be pre-ordered for later pick-up.   Although contact lenses are available over the counter without a prescription, you should have eye tests for contact lens performed annually so the doctor check for infections or other issues which may arise with the use of contact lenses.

Laser Eye Treatment is Available in Mexico

If you are looking to have corrective eye surgery and laser treatment for cataracts or another eye disease, Lasik procedures are less expensive in Mexico as compared to the United States or Canada.   As a result of the growth in the medical tourism industry in the country, people from nearby United States and Canada can seek lower cost laser eye surgery in Mexico.  Hospitals in Guadalajara, Cancun, Puerto Vallarta and Monterrey have great hospitals that can perform Lasik wave front surgery, CustomVue, cataract removal procedures and laser vision treatments.

Laser eye treatments are not always covered by your health insurance company, but check with your doctor first.  It is usually classed as elective surgery as a number of insurance companies consider eye surgery a purely cosmetic procedure and not a necessary medical procedure. On a case by case basis, some insurance policies will consider coverage if the procedure is required and in that case, Medicare benefits will be available.

Mexico has trained and qualified opticians throughout the country.  If you are planning on relocating to Mexico, you should look into obtaining international health insurance for emergency care.  Although doctor visits are generally affordable, it’s best to have expat health insurance.