7 reasons you should have international health insurance

Are you covered in your new country? And what happens if there's an emergency?

7 reasons you should have international health insurance

1. To make sure you're covered abroad

Just because you live abroad doesn't mean you have healthcare coverage there. Most private plans are only applicable in the country you signed them. Travel insurance may cover care abroad, but usually only for a short stay – not for living abroad.

In many countries a certain type of residence permit is required to enjoy the state system. You might need to have lived there for a certain number of years, have a job, or have a permanent address. If you’re on a temporary contract, studying abroad, or if you move around a lot, this could be a problem.

With an international health insurance plan you know you’ll be covered, no matter where you go.

2. Flexibility

Even if you are eligible for a country’s healthcare programme, make sure you know what that entails. Some countries require you to purchase an insurance plan. Even if your healthcare is subsidized, it might not be all-encompassing. Will you have to pay each time you visit the doctor? Are general checkups and emergency care both included? What about maternity care?

Many expats choose international health insurance to give them flexibility and the ability to choose whatever plan they want, or need. There are different levels of coverage available. At Cigna Global, for example, you can choose Silver, Gold, or Platinum core cover insurance, and you can add on optional benefits to that.

Health is an extremely personal issue – healthcare should be, too. Do it your way.

3. To get a doctor who speaks English

Speaking of doing it your way, when your health is on the line you don’t want to be stumbling over a foreign language.

Many doctors in Europe speak excellent English, but if you want to be sure, you can contact your provider. Cigna Global offers assistance 24/7 around the world, so you can speak to someone straight away and get help finding the best doctor for you.

4. To cover pre-existing conditions  

Better safe than sorry. Many plans offer a limited amount of coverage for pre-existing conditions, so if you have a condition you know you’ll be dealing with living abroad, it’s best to make sure you’re covered in advance.

5. For vision and dental coverage

Even in countries with government healthcare systems, dental and vision are frequently outliers where each person must pay their own costs. And the costs can be pretty high.

Adding an international vision and dental plan ensures you can keep on getting regular exams and keep your eyes and teeth healthy, no matter where you are.

6. For when things get tough

Health isn’t just about your body – your mind is just as important. And while living abroad is an incredible experience full of opportunities, it comes with many challenges, too. It’s not uncommon to struggle with adjusting.

Mental health coverage is offered on all levels of insurance with Cigna Global. The Life Management service is available 24/7 to assist with whatever you need, and you can get counselling sessions covered whether the issue is personal, work, or family related.

7. Just in case

Finally, there are those really big what-ifs. Hopefully medical evacuation and expatriation will never be an issue – but if something should happen, you’ll want to be covered.

As you get older, you should get screened regularly for various types of cancer as well. With international health insurance you have coverage for screenings for prostate, breast, and bowel cancer.

With an international healthcare plan like one from Cigna Global, you can make sure you’re covered no matter what situation you encounter.  You don’t want to take chances when it’s your health you’re talking about!

Want a free quote for a personalized plan from Cigna? Click here.

This article was produced by The Local Client Studio and sponsored by Cigna Global.


‘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.