When Should I Consider IPMI?

12 February 2019

When looking at what insurance you should get when going to live and work in another country, the options available can be numerous and confusing. International Private Medical Insurance (IPMI) is often considered the gold standard of healthcare cover when living abroad, but when your employer does not cover this the decision whether to pay for this ‘all-inclusive’ cover can be difficult. We take a look at a few of the questions to consider as you make your decision.


Where are you going?

An essential point to consider when thinking about your insurance needs on assignment is where are you going, and what is the local healthcare situation like? The majority of countries will have decent medical facilities when it comes to basic needs, but advances treatments or procedures might not be available when living in less-developed nations. Similarly, even well-developed countries can often have cut-off or hard to reach locations where such healthcare may not be readily accessible.


Another point to consider is the relative cost of the medical care that is available. In the United States, for example, gold-standard healthcare is available across most of the country, but the fees can be extreme. In such cases, solid insurance should be a priority.


What are the risks?

Regardless of the quality of medical care available in your new home, you should always assess the situation in the context of your new role and its potential risks. Those working in the oil and gas industry, for example, will often be at a much higher risk of injury than those working in a management consultancy role.


If you are working or living in a higher-risk situation, the chance of needing medical care is similarly raised. Therefore, the need for a quality international health insurance plan is significantly increased. Other factors such as the length of assignment can also come into play when weighing up these risks.


What is your current situation?

When considering your options, you must take into account your current health situation. A full medical assessment before you leave on assignment can be a great starting point. Those that find themselves at higher risks of certain conditions should find international health insurance that can provide the necessary cover and assurances.


What do I need?

A big question for all investigating overseas medical cover will be precisely what procedures and treatments that they want to be covered. Accident and emergency and one-off trips to the GP are no-brainers, but other options require more thought. Consider what you would do in the event of a more serious medical situation. Would you return home to be with friends and family in the event of a cancer diagnosis? In a similar vein, do you require cover for repatriation if more serious circumstances were to arise?


Insurance options for pre-existing conditions should also be looked at, as they frequently differ from the more ‘standard’ cover and will incur additional charges in nearly all cases. Female assignees or those with families should also consider whether maternity cover is also required.


What to do now?

Once you’ve built up a good picture of what you need from an international health insurance plan, it’s time to look for an insurer. Remember that although you don’t want to break the bank, going with a reputable insurer or via an independent broker that has good connections will yield much better results than buying without advice. Be aware of cheap plans, and if you do go down that route, make sure you thoroughly read and understand all of the small print.




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