How to select your international health insurance?

Are you looking for an international health insurance? This is probably to replace part of your social protection before leaving your home country. For example:  Belgium, France, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, etc. You are about to live and/or work abroad. Take time to read documents and to select carefully your international health insurance.

First, we advise you to consider conditions when you will be back in your home country. Some countries such as France and Belgium offer a link with the social security through CFE or ONSS outre mer. In certain countries, you can maintain your local coverage even if you live abroad (ex: Germany).

This will make the difference for some expatriates. And especially if you are back with pre existing conditions. Or if you have been injured during your expatriation. For example : car accident.

international health insurance

International health insurance – documents

Take time to read all the documentation of your international health insurance!

Pay attention to the following criteria which could make the difference. In fact, they are not always considered as they should. Your Moncey Advisor remains at your disposal to respond to all questions you may have on the international health insurance.

international health insurance

international health insurance

International health insurance – CFE or 1st Euro

International private health insurance or Top-Up plan to CFE? La Caisse des Français de l’Etranger (CFE) is a link between the expatriate and the French Social Security. Or for eligible expats. If you opt for a 100% international private health insurance, rules and conditions are defined by the Insurer you susbcribe to.

When susbscribing to CFE + Top-Up plan, you keep a link with the social security through the CFE. Part of rules depend on CFE‘s rules (i.e. social security), and part depend on the private Insurer. Also, CFE never asks for a medical questionnaire. And that is a great advantage for those who have pre existing conditions. To conclude, do not put all your eggs in the same basket if you have the choise.

international health insurance

International health insurance and medical questionnaire

You have to fill in a medical questionnaire, when you subscribe to an international health insurance. This questionnaire has more or less questions depending on the Insurer. When you apply for an individual private medical insurance, this questionnaire is analyzed by each Insurer. Thus, the approach can be a bit different from one to another.

The medical questionnaire reflects your medical history. If a pre existing condition is not mentioned in the questionnaire, this will be considered as a fraud. Afterwards, the policy can be cancelled at its start date.

Your questionnaire to subcribe to an international health insurance

After recieving your file, the Insurer often proposes the following feedbacks:

  1. The Insurer rejects your file. In that case, it does not have to justifiy its decision,
  2. It proposes special conditions. I.e. extra premium or exclusions,
  3. The Insurer confirms that standard rates and conditions apply.

International health insurance and risks

Keep in mind that the aim of the international health insurance is to cover a potential risk. Pre existing conditions are no longer considered as a potential risk. In fact, one can already knows what could happen on a medical point of view (even if several options are possible). For the same reason, maternity cover is not available for someone who is already pregnant.

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international health insurance

International health insurance and zones of cover

International health insurance and zone of cover

Zones of cover are as numerous as insurance products are. They are reflecting the experience of an Insurer in different countries. But also the zone takes into account the cost of medical expenses in the country.

Some coverages cover you only in your home country and country of expatriation. Others cover you “Worldwide excluding USA“. Or in a specific zone i.e. in a list of countries. The Insurer groups the countries in which it considers that medical expenses cost about the same price.

Most expensive countries for medical expenses are :

Therefore, one can note that premiums are higher for theses countries on most international health insurance. Due to regulation, some countries are excluded. For example: UK and Switzerland

Coverage outside the zone of cover

Outside the zone of cover, the international health insurance intervenes only in case of emergencies. The definition of accident, unforeseen illness or emergency can vary from Insurer to another. Therefore, read carefully general conditions.

Expatriates take advantage of their new location to visit countries in the region. Weather as well as insects, viruses, sports… have to be considered as potential risks. Malaria is prevalent in some countries. Thailand is weelknown in this profession for scooter accidents (sometimes fatal) … 

international health insurance

International health insurance and waiting periods

International health insurance – waiting periods

During waiting periods, benefits are not covered. Waiting periods apply on different benefits such as :

The goal of the waiting period is to avoid the risk that someone susbcribe only to transfer immediately the cost of his/her medical expenses to an Insurer.

  • Example 1: I pay one year premiums for 1 500 Euro. On thje other hand, my medical prostheses cost 2 500 Euro. And after one year I stop the insurance.
  • Example 2: I am pregnant and I would like someone to pay for my medical expenses. I.e. I know that my pregnancy will cost 20 000 Euro in Hong Kong. therefore, I prefer to pay 3 000 Euro premium and to let the Insurer pay my medical expenses.

International health insurance’s rules and mutualization

If it was possible to do so, then the mutualization could no longer be possible between insureds. And the life of insurance products would be significantly reduced. In some very specific situations, it is possible to waive waiting periods. For example, when:

  • the previous coverage was equal or higher, and
  • there is no interruption between the cancellation of the previous international health insurance and the subscription to the new one.

indigo expat

International health insurance – focus on benefits

Hospitalisation – private room 

Hospital room is much more considered as hotel expenses than medical expenses. In certain countries, private room has a direct impact on your medical expenses’ costs. Therefore, it is important to have a limit to make sure than medical expenses will be fully covered but the room and its potential impact on premiums in the future will be very limited.

If you are limited by the insurance for the private room, this does not mean that you can not access the private room you would like to go to. This means that you will have to pay the difference at your own convenience. Please pay attention to the cost of private room before rather than after the hospitalisation because the cost can significantly vary from a country to another. Examples : 200 E in Paris will probably be 400 E in Singapore and 1 000 E in London.

Hospitalisation – long term care

Only very few expatriates are concerned by coma. This will be the same for most expatriates – except eventually some retirees – for long term care. For those who are concerned, this will have a huge impact because the cost of such cares are significant. And this is not always fully covered. Some plans do not intervene, and a limit will apply with others.

These questions, which are not easy to deal with when you are in your home country, are even more complex in an international context. For example, medical evacuation for a person who is in a coma requires specific conditions. And it can quickly cost tens of thousands of euros.

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International health insurance and pregnancy

International health insurance – maternity 

If you are already pregnant, it will not be accepted to be paid by an insurer. Please read the section about the medical questionnaire, here above. To avoid any debate on this, remind you that these benefits are always related with a waiting period of 10 months. The treatment guarantee and benefits can be packaged or dissociated. There is, however, a trend to package and set a global limit on it.

If you can be concerned by these services, look on the benefits details. And determinate what could remain at your expense. And check if the proposed limit allows to cover the expenses which you may be exposed.


The limit is 7 000 Euro. You are an expatriate in Hong Kong but think to be fully covered just like in France. The limit of 7 000 Euro will be sufficient in France. But it will not cover the 20 00 Euro that it may cost in Hong Kong.


international health insurance

International health insurance – disclaimer

The information contained in this website is for general information purposes only. It is subject to change by Assurances & Conseils Moncey without notice. Assurances & Conseils Moncey makes no warranty as to the accuracy of this content. Furthermore Assurances & Conseils Moncey does not accept liability to any person for the use of the information provided on this website, lack of detailed information or websites’ links.