Zone of coverage: where are you covered?
What about the zone of coverage? At this stage, you’ve already checked and analyzed if you prefer to subscribe to a 1st Euro plan or to a Top Up plan. Also, you compared benefits, procedures, exclusions. Thereofre, you know quite precisely the content of your health plan.
The next step is to define your area of coverage. The zone of coverage is usually defined by considering your home country and your country of expatriation. It can be different if you live in two or three different countries during the year or you planned a world tour. In the zone of coverage, Insurers often propose a list of countries where medical expenses cost approximately the same.
You can have as many zones as there are products on the market. Globally, one can split countries at least in 3 zones.
Medical expenses cost is “normal”
Medical expenses cost is “expensive”
Medical expenses cost is “very expensive”
Zone of coverage: how many are they on the plan?
Each Insurer defines zones of coverage based on its experience and its choices. And there is no common rule on this matter. Except for the United States of America, which is considered as the most expensive country by all Insurance Companies. The ranking has a significant impact on premiums.
Example: Canada is most of the time linked to the United States of America. And corresponding premiums are often high. Nevertheless, some Insurers consider that medical expenses do not cost as much as in the United States of America. Thus, they propose lower premiums to those who are expatriates in Canada. As you can notice, premiums do not only take into account benefits and general conditions. Finally, the zone of coverage has also a significant impact.
What happen outside of the zone of coverage?
Expatriation does not mean that you will stay in the country of expatriation all the time. In fact, you will probably travel for business or for vacations. Expenses outside the zone of coverage, as well as emergency treatments, can be expressed different ways. Therefore, it is important to check on the Table of Benefits and on General conditions how this is defined.
Example: “you are also covered outside …/… in case of accident and unforeseen illnesses only”. Or “Emergency treatment outside area of cover: full refund”. Also consider definitions. Most of the time, these benefits are capped outside the zone of coverage. For example: 30 days maximum for each trip.
Pay attention to the local regulation
Please note that subscribing to an international health insurance does not free you from the local regulations. If you are eligible to contribute to the local healthcare system, make sure that your are compliant. Otherwise, you may be subject to paying a tax levy.