Which international health plan best suits you?

No two people and no two expat stories are the same – so why should health plans be?

Which international health plan best suits you?

There are dozens of factors to consider when choosing an international health insurance plan, but the most important is that it suits you and your own unique needs.

Here are a few things to think about when deciding which plan is best, and how you can tailor a plan just for you and your family.

How long are you living abroad?

If you’re just travelling for a month or so, travel insurance might be your best bet, or you might even have some coverage via a domestic plan

But if you plan on living abroad for a longer period of time, an international health plan is essential. And, generally speaking, the longer you’re living abroad, the more coverage you should have.

Is it just you, or do family members need coverage?

If you’re young, healthy, and single, it might be tempting (although not necessarily smart) to get the cheapest health insurance available.

But if you have children or others who rely on you, consider their needs, and what kinds of costs you might incur without insurance. Is it worth having a higher level of coverage to make sure certain things are paid in full, for instance? Do you have a family member with a pre-existing condition, perhaps?

At Cigna Global there are three levels of core coverage: Silver, Gold, and Platinum. The maximum payment per beneficiary per period of cover, across all sections of the insurance, is €800,000 on Silver level, €1,600,000 for Gold, and unlimited with Platinum coverage.

All levels of the insurance cover things like hospital accommodation, prescribed medicines and drugs, intensive therapy, surgeon's fees, pathology, and radiology. But each level has differing degrees of coverage for hospital accommodation for a guardian, advanced medical imaging, physiotherapy, rehab, and other costs.

Do you need more than the basics?

No matter what the level, Cigna Global’s core plans will ensure you have some sort of coverage when it comes to standard medical care. But what about the not-so-standard stuff?

Cigna Global helps you tailor an international health insurance plan that's perfect for you, with optional benefits available like international outpatient care, international health and wellbeing, international medical evacuation, and international vision and dental.

Do you have diabetes or another dietary illness?

If you have diabetes or require some other form of dietary advice for another illness, it’s important to know you can get the support you need while living abroad. Dietetic consultations are covered and paid in full as part of international health and wellbeing under the Platinum plan, but not Silver or Gold.

Do you have glasses or contacts?

So your eyesight isn't perfect – no shame in that. But do you know where to go for an exam abroad, and what it costs? Cigna's International Vision and Dental benefit pays for your routine eye exams and will cover the cost of glasses and contact lenses.

Are you over 50?

If you're 50 or older, you should be thinking about regular cancer screenings. With the International Health and Well-being add-on, screenings for prostate, breast, and bowel cancer (after age 55) will be covered. For women aged 40 to 49, a mammogram is covered every two years even if you're asymptomatic. You can also get an annual scan to check bone density.

Are you alone far from home?

International Medical Evacuation isn't just helpful for the person experiencing an emergency – it can also help family members to be there at that time of need. This optional benefit covers visits for a parent, partner, sibling or child to a beneficiary after a sudden accident or illness.

Learn more about healthplans with Cigna Global

Are you pregnant, or planning to be?

Routine maternity care is not covered under the Silver plan, so if you're young and single that might work for you. But if there's a chance you might get pregnant, choose Gold or Platinum.

Under those plans complications from pregnancy and homebirth costs are also covered. Newborn care is covered even on the Silver plan, but when you're bringing a new life into the world, it's better to be over-prepared, especially if you’re a first-time parent.

Do you need regular physiotherapy or visits to the chiropractor?

If you need physiotherapy, or if you get regular chiropractic or acupuncture treatments, or visit another sort of medical specialist, adding International Outpatient care to your plan is a good idea. This optional benefit also covers adult vaccinations, dental accidents, child immunizations, and, under the Gold and Platinum plans, pre-natal and post-natal care.

Get your own personalized plan

No matter what special conditions you or your family members have, Cigna Global can help you create your perfect plan.

Read more about why expats choose Cigna Global here, and get in touch to get a free quote for your own personalized plan.

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.