BOSTON, MA / ACCESSWIRE / April 8, 2020 / As brokers in international health insurance, the team at International Citizens Insurance (https://www.internationalinsurance.com/) works with thousands of expatriates and international citizens every month. Recently, clients are more concerned than ever and, as a result, an agent’s job has become more important than ever. Advising clients on Coronavirus and international insurance coverage and answering their questions is crucial at this time. Is the Coronavirus covered? Is COVID-19 testing covered while abroad? How do I get access to testing? Here are some answers.
To be clear – International Health Insurance plans are not the same as Travel Insurance Plans. Travel Insurance plans are designed for short term emergency coverage and insure trip costs or lost luggage. International Health Insurance plans provide comprehensive medical benefits and are annually renewable, sometimes for life. Therefore, it is important that clients pick the right plan from the start. “An agent is crucial in the process of choosing an insurer and finding the right coverage for your specific needs” reports Joe Cronin, President at International Citizens Insurance. “An expert broker can answer your questions about global health plans – even some you may not realize you had.” The below guidance is related to International Health Insurance plans.
Is COVID-19 Covered with an International Health Insurance Plan
The first question: Is Coronavirus, or COVID-19, covered in a global health plan? The short answer is yes. The safe answer is probably. If you are covered and get sick, most major plans will treat the illness as any other illness. The insured will be covered for the Coronavirus in the same way she would be treated for the flu or a cold. As long as she purchased a plan with inpatient and outpatient coverage, the plan should cover COVID-19 treatment. The best answer is to check with an agent, the insurer, or review the terms of the policy to be sure. Here is Cigna Global’s policy from their website: “Cigna medical plans cover medically necessary claims related to infectious diseases and medical conditions per the terms of the medical plan.” (Source: https://www.cignainternational.com/coronavirus-updates.html)
Second: Will a Global Health Insurance plan cover testing? Again, most companies will cover this benefit. However, they will most likely require that the client have a doctor certify symptoms and refer the individual to be tested. Most plans will not cover a test if the insured is asymptomatic. GeoBlue, as an example, provides “coverage, with no cost-share, for diagnostic testing for the virus, known officially as COVID-19, consistent with U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines.” (Source: https://about.geo-blue.com/crisisalert/covid19-members)
How to Access Doctors and Hospitals Through an Expat Insurance Plan
Finally, a third question: How do international clients access healthcare or get a doctor’s referral for testing without leaving home? A client should make sure to visit a doctor or clinic if there are symptoms. Take all precautions and get to a hospital as soon as possible. One newer option that international insurers are offering is Telemedicine. One insurer, Aetna International, is covering: “…telemedicine appointments for any reason, without a co-pay, from anywhere in the world.” (Source: Aetna) Telemedicine services provide remote access to an insurer’s global network of licensed doctors by telephone or video without needing to leave home.
Remember, what happens with the Coronavirus is largely up to all international citizens. There is a blueprint for reducing the spread and keeping the curve flat. Practice Social Distancing. Wash Your Hands. Wear a face-mask when possible. Follow best practices and be safe.
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Joe Cronin is President, International Citizens Insurance, a leading online brokerage for international health insurance plans serving more than 1,000 expatriates every month. He is also founder of International Citizens Group, a resource for expatriates and international travelers.
SOURCE: International Citizens Insurance
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