Top 12 Best Medical Insurance Companies For Expats Living Abroad And 1 To Avoid [2022]

09/30/2022

QUICK SUMMARY-Best Medical Insurance Provider For Expats

  • The "Best" insurance company will depend on what is most important to you.
  • When choosing an insurer, compare all the factors, coverage, reputation, stability, and available hospitals and doctor, not just cost.
  • IMG is the international insurer with the lowest cost plans and the best ranked customer service. 
  • Cigna Global is the most popular expat insurance companies with a balance of price and benefits.
  • World Trips Insurance is only recommended for tourists, not expats living overseas.

What Is An Expat Medical Insurance Company?

A specialty health insurance company that designs and offers policies protecting expats living abroad with healthcare and emergency medical assistance services. Generally, there are two types of expat insurance options offering worldwide coverage:

  1. Expat Medical Insurance Providers
  2. Travel Health Insurance Providers

 Both types of insurance companies have some common benefits:

  • Offer emergency assistance services if you are sick, injured, or in an accident overseas.
  • Can cover a wide range of medical expenses, from a sprained wrist to emergency evacuation.
  • Often multilingual, providing critical peace of mind when you are living far away from home in a foreign country that may not speak your language.
  • Some providers include a translator to ensure proper communication between you and your doctors when describing your condition and treatment.
  • International medical companies often include repatriation and evacuation, providing lifesaving protection in countries with inadequate healthcare systems, inexperienced doctors, and substandard hospitals or where medical treatment is unavailable locally.

"very few [health insurance companies] pay for your medical evacuation back to the United States. Medical evacuation can cost more than $50,000, depending on your location and medical condition."

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What are the top 12 best expat medical insurance companies?

Cigna Global

FINANCIAL RATING:

A

CUSTOMER ReVIEWS

Cigna is one of the best expat medical insurance companies in the world
  • Most popular expat medical insurance company
  • Customizable plans allowing you to pay for only the coverage you need, while offering flexible monthly rates 
  • Extensive global medical network of over 1.65 million hospitals and healthcare professionals in over 200 countries

Average Cost 

$$

Maximum Limits

$1,000,000 - Unlimited

Travel or International Medical

International Only

Ideal For- Older expats with health concerns or chronic conditions

GeoBlue

FINANCIAL RATING:

A-

CUSTOMER ReVIEWS

  • Offers global citizens several types of plans, from trip insurance to premium level comprehensive international medical coverage.
  • Has a global private network of 1.7 million healthcare practitioners, clinics, and hospitals in 190 countries.
  • The largest expat insurance company in the world. Part of US insurance company Blue Cross Blue Shield that protects 1 in 3 US citizens.

Average Cost 

$$$

Maximum Limits

Unlimited

Travel or International Medical

BOTH

Ideal For- American expatriates who need comprehensive benefits and frequently return to the US

Azimuth Meridian Insurance

FINANCIAL RATING:

A

CUSTOMER ReVIEWS

Azimuth Meridian Expat Health Insurance Company Logo
  • Your choice of the best medical treatment available, from any doctor, no matter where in the world.
  • Eligible international health insurance plans get access to Aetna's excellent PPO network of hospitals and healthcare providers in the United States.
  • Provides cost-effective family-friendly rates covering two children when both parents are on the same expatriate health insurance plan.

Average Cost 

$

Maximum Limits

$5,000,000

Travel or International Medical

INTERNATIONAL ONLY

Ideal For- Expats with no  looking for a generous, feature-rich, but very affordable healthcare

Safety Wing

FINANCIAL RATING:

A++

CUSTOMER ReVIEWS

  • Travel medical and trip insurance that you can purchase without long-term commitments or annual contracts.
  • You can sign up and start your coverage abroad, even after leaving your home country.
  • Very restrictive limitations and exclusions for pre-existing conditions and chronic illness.

Average Cost 

$

Maximum Limits

$250,000

Travel or International Medical

TRAVEL ONLY

Ideal For- Younger digital nomads with no pre-existing conditions needing travel health insurance.

Now Health International

FINANCIAL RATING:

A+

CUSTOMER ReVIEWS

  • Merged with Doctor's Best insurance to offer award-winning international medical insurance to 125,000+ expats
  • Access to over 1 million healthcare practitioners and hospitals in 200+ countries, including United Healthcare for US eligible plans.
  • Concierge service for the best specialists if you need medical care outside your country of residence.

Average Cost 

$

Maximum Limits

$4,500,000

Travel or International Medical

INTERNATIONAL ONLY 

Ideal For- Expats wanting exceptional customer service and affordable overseas medical insurance 

Foyer Global Health

FINANCIAL RATING:

N/A

CUSTOMER ReVIEWS

Foyer global health insurance company logo
  • Freedom to choose your treatment from a global database of 4 million health care providers and over 70,000 hospitals.
  • Comprehensive plans with inpatient care and outpatient coverage with no lifetime or annual limits
  • Note that Foyer does not cover any permanent residents of the United States.

Average Cost 

$

Maximum Limits

UNLIMITED

Travel or International Medical

INTERNATIONAL 

Ideal For- Expats in Europe who need premium coverage with few limits or restrictions. 

IMG- International Medical Group

FINANCIAL RATING:

A

CUSTOMER ReVIEWS

IMG is consider the best international health insurance company's customer service
  • 25 international health insurance plans from travel medical (Patriot Plus) to international medical (IMG Global Medical)
  • Highest ranked customer satisfaction of any expat medical insurance company on the list
  • Insuring expats in 190+ countries with 800,000+ doctors and healthcare facilities worldwide

Average Cost 

$

Maximum Limits

$1,000,000 – $8,000,000

Travel or International Medical

BOTH

Ideal For- Younger expats looking for affordable overseas coverage with optional benefits

William Russell

FINANCIAL RATING:

A+

CUSTOMER ReVIEWS

william russell is the best medical insurance for expats who don't need to travel to the US
  • Not just an international health insurance company, William Russell also offers expat life insurance and income protection.
  • An international network of over 40,000 healthcare facilities and doctors around the world.
  • Offers comprehensive medical benefits, including the latest cancer treatment and therapies, such as $6,000 in cancer genome testing.

Average Cost 

$

Maximum Limits

$1,500,000 - $5,000,000

Travel or International Medical

INTERNATIONAL ONLY

Ideal For- Expats needing personalized healthcare and only need limited coverage for the United States

Trawick International

FINANCIAL RATING:

A+

CUSTOMER ReVIEWS

  • Purchase travel medical and trip insurance coverage even after you left your home for trips between 5 days to 6 months
  • Obtain documented COVID-19 coverage to allow entry into restricted countries.
  • Policies are confirmed and insurance cards issued immediately with a visa letter to show to immigration as proof of insurance.

Average Cost 

$$

Maximum Limits

$500,000

Travel or International Medical

TRAVEL ONLY

Ideal For- US Citizens outside the USA needing inexpensive emergency coverage for < than 180 days 

Allianz

FINANCIAL RATING:

A+

CUSTOMER ReVIEWS

  • Global coverage of 1.3 million health providers allowing anytime, anywhere access to medical care
  • Offers comprehensive international medical insurance with modular add-ons allowing you to tailor your coverage and insurance costs.
  • Offers both travel medical and international health insurance to meet the needs of nomadic solo travelers and expat families.

Average Cost 

$

Maximum Limits

$2,250,000

Travel or International Medical

BOTH

Ideal For- Digital nomads needing short-term trip insurance with travel medical benefits

Seven Corners Liaison Majestic

FINANCIAL RATING:

A

CUSTOMER ReVIEWS

  • Provides global trip and travel medical insurance, but limits US citizens to trips outside the USA.
  • Substantial travel assistance services, including lost passport assistance, visa information, interpreter referrals, and local weather reports.
  • Offers a "Cancel For Any Reason" or CFAR reimbursement of up to 75% of your nonrefundable trip costs if you need to cancel your trip

Average Cost 

$$$

Maximum Limits

$5,000,000

Travel or International Medical

TRAVEL ONLY

Ideal For- Non-US citizens outside their home country that want comprehensive travel medical insurance

World Trips

FINANCIAL RATING:

A++

CUSTOMER ReVIEWS

  • Not recommend for expats who live abroad.
  • The bigger badder brother of Safety Wing insurance above. Both companies are financially backed by the same company, Tokio Marine HCC.
  • Higher coverage maximums, more deductible options, and willingness to insure older expats than Safety Wing

Average Cost 

$

Maximum Limits

$2,000,000

Travel or International Medical

TRAVEL ONLY

Ideal For- Frequent international travelers or tourists who only take short-term trips less than 45-days

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Travel or expat insurance, which type of medical insurance provider do I need?

It depends on the international coverage you need, how long you are abroad, and if you have any other insurance. Travel medical insurance only works if you already have local insurance from your job, public healthcare from your new country, or national insurance from your home country.


Expat Medical Insurance Company

  • Long-Term (1-year or more)- Policies have minimum annual contracts
  • Not just for emergencies. Can offer complete coverage options and additional benefits, including wellness care, dental benefits, emergency maternity care, prescription drugs
  • Expat medical insurance can be a good option for people who are living abroad and don't have any health insurance.

Travel Health Insurance Company

  • Short-Term 6 months or less)- Typically used for temporary expat assignments or short trips 
  • Adequate coverage for emergencies like broken bones or food poisoning, but limited benefits for preventative care (routine checkups, lab tests, prescription benefits, eye care, dental treatments, etc.) or severe issues like cancer care or mental health treatment
  • Requires you maintain health insurance in your home country or country of residence.

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What should I look for in an overseas medical insurance company?

Benefits and Exclusions

  • International health insurance companies offer a wide range of benefits – but what services do you realistically need or plan to use?
  • Don't overinsure with benefits you don't need (i.e., vision care if you don't wear glasses, maternity benefits if you aren't planning on having children)
  • Look for a company offering standard plans with optional benefits that fit your specific healthcare needs.

 INSIDER TIP : Pay close attention to the fine print-  Two medical Insurance providers may offer nearly identical coverage and benefits, but one may have an exclusion that impacts you. For example:

  • Some international insurers provide up to 30 days of coverage in your home country unless you are an American, in which case only 15 days are covered.
  • Treatment of acute onset of pre-existing conditions may be excluded if your condition gradually worsens over time.
  • COVID-19 coverage may get cut off for older expats above a certain age.

Cost of Insurance

  • Pick a plan with a level of cover that best suits the healthcare needs of you and your family.
  • The higher the plan level, the better the benefits and the higher the cost.
  • Compare all the factors that make up the insurance cost, not just the monthly or annual premiums.
  • Total Cost Of Insurance = premiums, co-pays, coinsurance, and deductibles.

Provider Network and Area of Coverage

  • Ensure the expatriate insurance company offers coverage in the countries you will live in. Some international insurers have different policies for different geographic areas.
  • Some insurers exclude the United States or charge extra to include US coverage.
  • See if the international insurance company's provider network has doctors and physicians in the city you are moving to.
  • You don't want to travel far each time you need to see a doctor.

Reputation and Ratings

  • Reviews will help you choose an international medical insurance company for expatriates you can trust. Read what their existing and prior customers say about their service. Additionally, check out 3rd party rating agencies for more objective feedback.
security, coverage, confidence, help, there lots of important factors besides costs to consider when choosing the best medical insurance company for expats

There are several factors to consider besides costs when choose the best expat health provider

Which international insurance company offers the cheapest overseas health coverage?

Surprisingly, IMG, the expat insurance company with the highest customer service rating, also offers the cheapest overseas medical coverage. IMG offers affordable expat health insurance options with their Global Medical plans and cheap travel health insurance under their Patriot Travel plans.

What is the average cost of expat medical insurance?

For complete overseas medical coverage, expat health insurance companies charge an average of $3,700 - $5,000 per year. For just normal travel insurance with emergency assistance services, insurance providers start their monthly plans as low as $50.

The cost of medical insurance for expats is impacted by several factors, including the country you live in, your age, previous medical history, and the type of coverage you need. Typically, less expensive plans go hand in hand with less comprehensive coverage. 

Factors that affect medical costs

  • Location- The cost of expat medical insurance varies depending on your country. Typically the higher the country's cost of living, the more expensive the cost of healthcare services.
  • Age- The cost of expat medical insurance increases as you age.
  • Medical history- Many plans have pre-existing condition exclusions, which can lead to higher premiums.
  • Coverage- The more coverage you add, the more your monthly premiums increase.

 INSIDER TIP : Employer Insurance Allowance- If your employer's health insurance company does not offer the right policy for you and your family, try negotiating a cash allowance to choose a better expatriate insurance company that suits your needs.

How do I choose the best expat medical insurance company for me?

An international health insurance policy can be expensive, but it can be a good solution for those who want access to the best medical facilities and doctors where they live. 

But policy cost isn't the only factor when choosing the best international health insurance company for expats. It is essential to consider various factors, such as cost, coverage, reputation, stability, and available hospitals and doctors.

Steps to compare the different types of international health insurance

Step 1- What Are Your Healthcare Needs

  • Public Insurance, International Medical Insurance, or Travel Medical - Will you keep your home country insurance and rely on a travel medical insurance policy? Are you moving abroad for a job that will pay for local insurance? Does your new country offer public insurance? Click here for help understanding the differences "Expat Health Insurance Plans- Understanding Your Medical Coverage Options Abroad
  • Find Out About Your New Country- Get a general feel for your new country's healthcare system: reputation, typical costs, quality of care, and language barriers. Do you get access to the country's universal healthcare plans? Will you need repatriation coverage
  • Take stock of your current medical needs- Do you have pre-existing medical conditions that need to be covered? Any lingering medical issues that you need immediate treatment
  • Think about future healthcare needs- Are you planning a pregnancy? Are there any health issues you need care for in the future? Will you need eyeglasses or dental care in the coming year? Are you reaching an age where specific screening and checkups are a good idea?

Step 2- Questions To Answer Choosing A Expat Medical Insurance Company

  • Can the company provide sufficient coverage for my healthcare needs? Make sure the insurance company you choose matches your life: present health condition, future health plans, medical concerns, activities, and geographical coverage.
  • Who is eligible to receive coverage? Many health insurance providers can limit your eligibility based on age limits, citizenship, country of residence, or health condition.
  • Does the company offer global coverage? Nearly every non-government-sanctioned country is covered, but some companies have specific plans for countries with special regulations or volatile healthcare costs.
  • What are the details of the company's expat health insurance policy? Types of medical coverage, Read about the exclusions from the contract, Check the amount of any deductibles and caps. Are there age restrictions?
  • How are claims handled? How do you make a claim? What % of claims are paid out? Does the company provide direct billing?
  • What do the reviews say about the insurance company's customer service? How long does it take to get a claim approved? How long to get reimbursed? Is 24/7 support available?
  • Is the insurance company financially stable? Check the rating agencies to confirm the insurance company has the finances to pay its obligations. There are five leading rating agencies: AM Best, Fitch, Moody's, S&P, and KBRA.
  • Step 3: Quick Tips On Choosing International Private Medical Insurance Plan

    • Coverage limits: expat medical insurers offer different limits to the maximum they are willing to pay for your medical expenses. Generally speaking, the higher the limit, the higher the insurer will charge you.
    • Quality hospitals: Make sure the insurance policy you choose includes coverage for high-quality medical facilities in the destination country
    • English-speaking doctors: Make sure the insurance policy you choose includes coverage for English-speaking doctors
    • Total Cost of Insurance: Premiums, co-pays, coinsurance, deductibles. Understand what your health insurer covers and what you are responsible to pay

    Read my article on "Choosing An International Health Plan- The Checklist To Follow When Buying Expat Medical Coverage" for a complete guide xxx

     INSIDER TIP : Ask a Broker To Get Free Fast Research- If you are short on time or just need help understanding all the different options, an international health insurance agent can help. International brokers work with several different expat insurance options and can help you quickly compare, contrast, and choose the right insurance company and policy for your unique needs and budget. Insurance brokers provide this research for free.

    Buying directly from an expat insurance company costs the same as going through an insurance agent. I have personally used and can recommend both:

    After I choose a company, how do I buy expat medical insurance?

    If you already know which expat medical insurance company you prefer, you can get a direct quote using the "Get A FREE Quote" buttons above. If you are still deciding which company is best for you, use an expat health insurance broker to compare different international insurance companies side by side and choose which one suits your needs best

    international insurance broker logo

    Best for Expat Insurance

    travel medical insurance broker

    Best For Travel Insurance

    Which international health insurance company should expats avoid?

    I do not recommend World Trips travel medical and trip cancellation insurance to any expats living overseas. While World Trips Atlas travel insurance offers cheap emergency medical coverage abroad, their plans only cover trips less than 45 days.

    Additionally, World Trips has the lowest customer satisfaction rating of any international health insurance provider on this list.

    Key Takeaway: Choosing the Best International Medical Insurance Company

    What to look for

    • Comprehensive Benefits: Make sure to choose an international medical insurance company with complete benefits to ensure you're covered for all of your medical expenses.
    • Reputation and Service: Review the company's online ratings and reviews from past customers. Can you trust your international medical insurance company to protect you when things are tough?
    • Sufficient Coverage: Read the fine print in the insurance policy to ensure the expat insurance company can meet your needs while living overseas.
    • Total Cost Of Health Insurance: Compare the company's rates, premiums, co-pays, coinsurance, and deductibles.
    • Get Expert Help: Discuss your situation and concerns with an expat insurance broker who can help you choose the best international medical insurance company for your situation.

    No one-size-fits-all solution exists for choosing the best international health insurance company to protect you and your family. Many expats focus primarily on monthly costs, but the best plan for you will depend on many factors, from policy coverage, customer service, and features to the company's financial stability.

    Do your research to find the expat insurance company that is the right fit. This guide will equip you with everything you need to make an informed decision about your family's international medical insurer.

    NEXT STEPS

    Start building a customized plan with FREE quotes from the top companies to protect yourself and your family.

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    FAQs: 13a Choosing The Best Medical Insurance Company For Expats

    Which insurance coverage do you need: local public or private expatriate insurance plans?

    Adding supplemental private medical insurance is smart for all expats, even when eligible for local public healthcare. An international medical insurance company helps you navigate an unfamiliar foreign country's often over-overcrowded healthcare system when you are sick or injured.

    Additionally, international private medical insurance providers include benefits and coverage tailored to expats not typically available in a local public policy. For example, expat insurance companies usually cover medical evacuation to a nearby country if your current country's medical care cannot provide adequate treatment.

    International private health insurers are also the best solution for expats who want access to the best hospitals and healthcare practitioners and need full coverage when traveling abroad or making short home visits.

    International health insurance companies also include access to a wider variety of private hospitals and allow direct billing, eliminating the need for cash deposits sometimes required in foreign hospitals

    Do I need another medical insurance company if I keep my local health insurance at home?

    Most local health insurance companies will not cover you outside your home country. If you get sick, are in an accident, or are injured abroad and need to see a doctor, you will be responsible for all your medical expenses. Avoid unexpected costs when things go wrong with expat medical insurance.

    Why do I need a medical insurance company if I am healthy?

    Being healthy is definitely the first step, but accidents happen regardless of your health or how careful you are. Expat health insurance coverage protects you from unexpected and unplanned medical emergencies that will inevitably occur when you are overseas.

    An expat medical insurance company can help if you:

    • Are hit by a motorbike in Thailand
    • Get altitude sickness in Nepal
    • Fall prey to food poisoning in Cambodia
    • Catch yellow fever in Colombia
    • Need to be evacuated from Vietnam during a pandemic

    Do I still need an expat medical insurance company in a country with universal healthcare?

    You are unlikely to be covered by a country's universal healthcare system if you are not a citizen or permanent resident. Unless you are an expat paying into their public insurance through social contributions, income taxes, or made a one-time "buy-in" to access their healthcare.

    Even if a public healthcare plan covers you, domestic insurance will not likely cover the unique benefits required by expats. Examples of benefits not typically covered by a foreign country's domestic health insurance:

    • Translation services if English-speaking doctors are not available.
    • Access to private hospitals with shorter wait times
    • Repatriation coverage if the medical treatment you need is not available in your host country
    • Medical evacuation if the quality of the hospitals and healthcare practitioners is insufficient to provide adequate care

    Which expatriate health insurance company has the best customer service?

    IMG has the highest customer service rankings on Trustpilot out of all the expat health insurance companies on this list. 89% of their 4,900 clients reviewed IMG's service and claims processing as Great or Excellent. Several recent reviews (Sep 17, 2022) stated:

    • Excellent service and affordable price!
    • Great experience, right product, good price.
    • Reasonable price for full coverage

    About the author

    Hi, That's me. I'm Marco Sison. I am a survivor of the corporate rat race. I started Nomad FIRE to show you an alternative to the stress and grind of 70-hour weeks to pay off a mortgage, student loans, and countless bills. After getting laid off in 2015, I said screw it all and retired early at 41 years old. I have traveled the last five years to over 40 countries to show you the best ways to save, invest, and live in amazing countries for 70% less cost than the US. I have been featured in: US News & World Reports, Huffington Post, MSN Money, USA Today, ABC Network, Yahoo Finance, Best Life, CW Network, Dr. Wealth, and others. [view press...]

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