Truly Global Coverage

When taking out international expatriate medical insurance the expectation is that you will be covered anywhere in the world, or within the coverage area stipulated in the policy wording. In reality, though service levels and provider accessibility can vary greatly depending on the insurer and the country in which treatments and services are sought.

Whether travelling for business or pleasure, returning to your home country or visiting somewhere new, from exotic beach holidays to skiing trips, city breaks to escaping to the great outdoors, it is sensible to ensure you have good health insurance in place to cover any healthcare expenses arising from unexpected illnesses or injuries. Moreover, many people would like to elect to have treatments and surgeries in different countries and may travel just for this purpose.

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It is therefore reasonable to assume your international expatriate medical insurance policy, with coverage in multiple countries, will enable access to providers (Doctors, Clinics, Hospitals, etc) in those countries. In other words, you can visit providers, identify yourself as being covered by a certain insurer, and receive treatments and services without having to pay from your own pocket and then later complete forms and submit a pile of paperwork to seek reimbursement.  This type of pay-and-claim arrangement is time-consuming but also has uncertain outcomes because your insurer may not cover and reimburse everything. This problem can be avoided with direct-billing (where your insurer works with the provider to ensure that only treatments and services that are covered by your policy and are medically necessary are approved) thus avoiding excessive, and non-payable claims being rejected and you not being fully reimbursed.

The other problem is costs can be very high, for example in the case or an emergency hospitalisation or planned surgery, with many providers around the world first requiring confirmation that costs can be met, which often means leaving a credit card or cards with the hospital reception desks or even the delaying or declining of treatment.

When choosing ‘international’ health insurance it is therefore very important to consider what you might actually need from it and check very carefully to understand how things would play out in practice, for a range of situations and scenarios in various countries. Most people will be unpleasantly surprised to find out they have been sold something that looks fine on paper but is not practicable and falls way short of their expectations when they try to use it abroad.

HanseMerkur understands what is required from international health insurance and have the necessary infrastructure and support in place to ensure our members receive excellent service anywhere in the world. The first and important thing we have in place is 24/7/365 customer support. It does not matter if you call at 4 in the morning, on Christmas day, from Latin America or South East Asia, there is always a dedicated team of nurses and doctors just a phone call away, who are ready to assist you with any aspect regarding your healthcare coverage.

We also have teamed up with some of the best Third-Party Administrators (TPAs) in the world when it comes to offering a truly global service for our members. All HanseMerkur health insurance products come with access to Henner, which means all our members can visit a vast network of providers, in over 190 countries, for both Inpatient and Outpatient treatments and services on a direct-billing basis. All members can also download a simple mobile application, that will allow them to quickly view all the providers, and to filter by country, city and specialism making it simple to always find the nearest and most suitable providers. The mobile application also has an e-card membership card that members can present when visiting a provider so they can be quickly identified as being covered for direct billing.

In the rare cases when a member cannot find or access a network provider and enjoy the direct billing facility, they may need to pay from their own pocket and then later seek reimbursement, but even this has been made as simple as possible. The relevant documents to claim for reimbursement can be submitted via an online portal, the mobile application, or even by email. Only electronic/soft copies of documents need to be submitted, but very importantly, considering the proclaimed ‘international” nature of the coverage, claims and accompanying documents can be in any language. This acceptance of claims in any language is not common, but for people submitting claims in any one of the world many languages with their various alphabets, it is a huge convenience to not have to get everything first translated into English and/or wait for an extended period of time to get your money back. Reimbursements are naturally by bank transfer for speed and added convenience for our members.

In some parts of the world like the GCC where HanseMerkur has a regional office and a large portfolio of insured member we have also entered into further agreements with local TPAs Neuron, NAS and Nextcare, who are regional specialists. This ensures our members in the UAE, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar and Kuwait have a great degree of choice with access to the largest and best regional networks, and also a more local service experience to compliment Henner. We also have access to their alliance partner networks of Paramount in India and Sri Lanka and E-Connex in Pakistan.

On top of all this, there may even be occasions where our members need to be evacuated or repatriated from a country if they have been seriously injured and cannot get suitable treatment locally. In such cases, we have tie-up with global assistance companies, so members only need to call the 24/7/365 helpline and everything can be arranged for them.

People are becoming increasingly more geographically mobile, with almost every corner of the planet and off-the-beaten-track country now being visited more frequently for business and pleasure. Every country has different rules and regulations when it comes to healthcare, but many will require some kind of insurance or coverage to be in place before visiting. Even if not mandatory it is great peace of mind to know you have premium ‘international’ health insurance in place and that you can both visit and be accepted at the best providers in any country. Do not get caught out, finding out the hard way that you are actually very alone and left to fend for yourself when abroad, in an often unfamiliar country, when you need your health insurer to support you the most, by always ensuring before taking out any international health insurance that it provides truly global coverage.