Many people have contacted us in recent weeks to ask if international health insurance will cover them in case they contract the Covid-19 coronavirus. In short, the answer is yes. But the situation is a little more complex. What happens, for example, with the travel restrictions currently in place? Living abroad during this exceptional health situation can raise many questions, which we will try to answer.
Will my health insurance pay for my private health care if I catch the coronavirus? All the international health insurance companies that Expat Assure is a partner of cover the costs of treating Covid-19, in the same way, they cover viral infections.
Insurance conditions vary from one insurer to another; it is therefore recommended to read the details of your policy. For example, if you need outpatient care, this type of care should be included in your insurance policy. It is also possible that depending on your medical history and the exclusions in place in your contract, your insurance does not cover you for Covid-19. In many countries, an expatriate turns to international health centers to be able to find a doctor who speaks French or at least speaks English. These establishments are often expensive. Health insurance gives access to these establishments while controlling health costs.
Some insurers have exclusions for pandemics, in which case they do not cover Covid-19.
Whatever your insurance, it is important to read your contract carefully, to see if your policy covers you for this pandemic as well as those which may arise in the future.
I am infected with Covid-19 but I am not insured. Can I take out private health insurance to cover my treatment? If you currently have Covid-19 and do not have health insurance in place, you will not be able to purchase a policy to take care of your present condition. If you have had Covid-19 and are now cured, whether or not you get covered will depend on the rules of each insurer, but also on the degree to which the virus has reached you. Like any other medical condition, insurers do not follow a generalist approach. They make decisions on a case-by-case basis.
Does expatriate health insurance reimburse Covid-19 screening tests?
If your health insurance policy supports routine screening, the cost of a test for Covid-19 may be eligible for reimbursement. However, some insurance policies do not include this option. If your insurance policy does not cover routine screenings, a test for Covid-19 will only be covered if you have symptoms.
Does private health insurance reimburse the purchase of masks and protective equipment against Covid-19? No, private health insurance does not reimburse the purchase of items such as gloves, masks, and hand sanitizers.
Does my health insurance reimburse video consultations with a doctor?
Since face-to-face consultations are currently discouraged due to the risk of the virus spreading, many international health insurance companies currently reimburse teleconsultations. However, it is important to note that some insurers only cover remote consultations via a partner mobile application, so not necessarily with the doctor of your choice. Check your insurance policy before any consultation.
I live abroad. Will I have the right to be evacuated or repatriated in case I contract the coronavirus? In theory, if your insurance policy covers medical evacuations, this type of measure would be in place in case you contract the coronavirus and no treatment is available on site. Regarding Covid-19, it could be, for example, a real difficulty in breathing, in a country poorly equipped with intensive care units. In practice, however, evacuations and repatriations risk being affected by international measures of border closures and travel restrictions currently in place to contain the pandemic. As part of their quarantine regulations, some governments may also insist that the patient be treated locally. Often, local health insurance allows you to see only doctors belonging to a limited network of care or to access only medical centers approved by your insurance. You are also sometimes restricted to a certain city of the country and you have purchased this insurance. International medical insurance offers more flexibility in choosing a general practitioner or a specialist as well as in the choice of hospital establishment or consultation hours.
Please note that if you have traveled to a country against the travel restrictions put in place by your government, insurance will not cover any treatment for Covid-19.
International health insurance companies do not cover non-medical evacuations and repatriations of expatriates wishing to return to live in their country of origin during the pandemic.