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Why expats choose international health insurance

Having taken the huge step in life to relocate to a new country, it’s important to secure peace of mind in as many aspects of your new life as possible; and ensuring that healthcare will be available for you and your family is a must.

Why expats choose international health insurance

Have you figured out how the healthcare system works in your chosen destination? How will you, as an expat, gain access to health services in your new home? Have you considered the possible language barrier? Do you know what to do in case of a medical emergency?

Understanding everything about your new home can be a daunting process, and deciphering the way in which a country’s national health system works is no exception.

As you leave your home country, you will realise you also leave certain comforts that were available to you as a national. But what will life be like now? What are the implications of being an expat in your new country? You better make sure – before you go.

Find out about Cigna expat healthcare

As a foreign national, you may not be entitled to any free or subsidised healthcare. In some cases you may need permanent residency before you can enter the system – and that could take years. It is therefore important to consider an expatriate health plan to provide for the healthcare needs of you and your family.

Individual private medical insurance (IPMI) policies can often be advantageous for expats, as opposed to local policies, as many of the benefits within these policies have been tailored specifically to suit expatriates.

Why go for international coverage?

Globally mobile citizens often require an international plan to cover them in a number of different countries. Some private plans offer coverage abroad, although for a limited time only. If you have private insurance in your home country, speak to your provider before your move; check if the plan will cover you in your new host country and for how long. 

You may have travel insurance in place, but bear in mind these policies are designed for short stays and to cover only for a medical emergency. Depending on the length of your stay, you may want to ensure a more sufficient health plan with an international policy.

Read more about expat healthcare

Understanding your policy documentation and being able to talk to a customer service representative is vital when dealing with your health queries – another reason why many expats choose an international health insurance company, so that they are able to get support in English or another familiar language.

What to consider when purchasing a policy

Researching the implications for expatriates in your host country and understanding the local regulations will set a foundation for you to make an informed decision.

If you are eligible for subsidised healthcare, keep in mind that most public healthcare systems are not all-encompassing. It’s important to make sure there are no gaps in your coverage – a private policy may complement your basic cover and grant you complete access to the best healthcare services in the country.

If you are employed, find out if your employer provides coverage. If you are covered under a company’s health insurance plan, find out exactly what your insurance plan covers and if it is the right policy for your particular situation.

Get a quote from Cigna for International Health Insurance

When purchasing a private policy, try to choose a plan specifically tailored to your needs. Keep in mind these basic factors: Does the policy fit the specific needs of you and your family? How are pre-existing conditions handled? Are there age restrictions? Does it provide international coverage? What are the exclusions?

Benefits vary from supplier to supplier, but some include unlimited annual benefit limits, Inpatient care, day-patient care, cancer care, and maternity care.

Research, compare, and consider the costs. Be sure to ask your insurer the right questions before making a decision, and you will surely find the right policy for you and your family.

Find out more about international healthcare coverage at Cigna Global.

This article was sponsored by Cigna Global. 

 

Read more about expat healthcare:

Becoming an expat: where to start
Education abroad: How to find an international school
Why expats choose international health insurance
Retiring abroad: what you should know

HEALTH

‘Possible link’ between AstraZeneca vaccine and rare blood clots, EMA concludes

The European Medicines Agency has come to the conclusion that the unusual blood clots suffered by numerous people around Europe should be considered as rare side effects of AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine, but that overall the benefits of the jab outweigh the risk.

'Possible link' between AstraZeneca vaccine and rare blood clots, EMA concludes
Photo by Tiziana FABI / AFP

A statement published online read: “The EMA’s safety committee has concluded today that unusual blood clots with low blood platelets should be listed as very rare side effects of the COVID-19 AstraZeneca vaccine.”

The EMA added however that the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risks.

While millions of doses of the vaccine developed with Oxford University have been administered, small numbers of people have developed deadly blood clots, which prompted countries including the European Union’s three largest nations – Germany, France and Italy – to temporarily suspend injections pending the EMA investigation.

In March the EMA said the vaccine was “safe and effective” in protecting people against Covid-19 but that it couldn’t rule out a link to blood clots, and that more investigations were needed.

On Wednesday the EMA said the AstraZeneca vaccine should continue to be used for all age groups but that people should be told of the possible rare side effects. The announcement came as the UK’s own drugs regulator said the AZ vaccine should now only be given to over 30s.

The EMA said it was “reminding healthcare professionals and people receiving the vaccine to remain aware of the possibility of very rare cases of blood clots combined with low levels of blood platelets occurring within two weeks of vaccination.”

One plausible explanation for the combination of blood clots and low blood platelets is an immune response, the EMA said but that it had not identified any clear risk factors for causing the clots including age or gender.

So far, most of the cases reported have occurred in women under 60 years of age within two weeks of vaccination. 

The EMA advised that people who have received the vaccine should seek medical assistance immediately if they develop symptoms of this combination of blood clots and low blood platelets.

Symptoms include shortness of breath, chest pain, swelling in legs, abdominal pain, severe headaches, blurred vision and tiny blood spots under the skin at the sight of the injection.

The EMA committee carried out an in-depth review of 62 cases of cerebral venous sinus thrombosis and 24 cases of splanchnic vein thrombosis reported in the EU drug safety database (EudraVigilance) as of 22 March 2021, 18 of which were fatal

The agency concluded: “COVID-19 is associated with a risk of hospitalisation and death. The reported combination of blood clots and low blood platelets is very rare, and the overall benefits of the vaccine in preventing COVID-19 outweigh the risks of side effects.”

Germany, France and Italy have all restarted AstraZeneca vaccines, but in the case of France and Germany with extra guidelines on the age of patients it should be used for. France is currently not administering the AstraZeneca vaccine to under 55s or over 75s.

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