If you are fortunate to come from a country that provides free medical cover you will be acutely aware of Governmental attempts to curb the rising costs of healthcare provisions.
We read, almost on a daily basis, about service cuts, hospital closures and waiting lists that now extend to months and even years in some cases. Returning home for expatriates to receive free medical provision is therefore very often not an option, expat medical insurance is designed to provide that all important financial buffer when you need treatments and care.
(Please visit our expat travel insurance page If you require medical insurance for short periods of travel up to one year)
For travellers and expats concerned with the covid-19 pandemic and how it may affect your medical insurance plans please click on the following buttons to obtain the latest information releases from IMG, the CDC (Centre For Disease Control), William Russell and the Expatriate Group.
These FAQs are accurate as of 16/03/2020
The coronavirus crisis continues and the World Health Organisation has declared a global pandemic.
William Russell has members and staff who are resident in countries affected by coronavirus, so we've put together some FAQs below providing information about how we’re protecting our members and how we’re keeping William Russell open for business throughout these difficult times.
Now that coronavirus has been declared a pandemic, is cover affected for members?
There are no exclusions for pandemics in our plans. Members will be covered for infection by coronavirus as they would be for any other viral infection provided they don’t have applicable personal medical exclusions on their Certificate of Insurance.
Members with a life plan from William Russell are covered if they die as a result of infection by coronavirus as they would be for any other viral infection provided they don’t have applicable personal medical exclusions on their Certificate of Insurance.
Members with an income protection plan from William Russell are covered if they’re unable to work as a result of infection by coronavirus as they would be for any other viral infection provided they don’t have applicable personal medical exclusions on their Certificate of Insurance.
Will members still benefit from emergency medical evacuation if they cannot be treated locally?
For members with a health plan, the benefit for emergency medical evacuations is unchanged. If a member needs in-patient treatment for coronavirus that cannot be adequately provided locally, the Assistance Service will arrange for the member to be evacuated to the nearest hospital in their area of cover where the appropriate medical treatment is available.
Whether an individual case qualifies for evacuation, where the member will be evacuated to, and the means of the evacuation remain the discretion of the Assistance Service. The Service can be contacted on +44 1243 621155.
Are members covered if they travel to countries that have confirmed cases of coronavirus?
Members should follow the advice issued by the authorities in the country where they are resident and the country they are travelling to.
In line with the terms and conditions of our plans, members are not covered if they knowingly travel to an area where there are confirmed coronavirus cases - if such travel is against the advice issued by the authorities in the country where the member is resident and the country the member is travelling to.
Are members with a health plan covered for coronavirus testing?
Members with the well-being benefit may be covered for the testing of coronavirus, provided they are tested whilst still asymptomatic.
If a member is treated for symptoms that are believed to be related to coronavirus and the member is tested as part of that treatment, the test is covered for as long as the rest of the treatment is covered by the member’s plan.
Are members covered for quarantine?
If a member is admitted to hospital because they need medical treatment, they will be covered for as long as their admission and medical treatment are necessary.
Members are not covered for admissions that are not medically necessary.
Members should contact us if they need to be admitted to hospital.
Are William Russell offices remaining open during the pandemic?
All offices (except our Jakarta office) remain open and fully staffed, and service has not been affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Staff in the Jakarta office are working from home in line with regulations issued by the Indonesian authorities, but service is unaffected. If the situation changes, or if any (or all) of the William Russell offices close, we will issue additional guidance. However, we have made provisions for staff to work from home and the service for members and brokers will be unaffected. Our usual emails and telephone numbers will work as normal.
If a member is concerned that they’re infected with coronavirus, we urge them to follow the guidance issued by the national health authority in the country where they live. We are monitoring the situation and we will make updates to our briefings if necessary.
Michael Lewars, Commercial Director
Accurate as of 01/04/2020
We do not have a pandemic exclusion on our international healthcare plans so, providing clients have no symptoms that would be exacerbated by any pre-existing condition, our medical policy will continue to cover valid claims.
Global research of healthcare costs has found that many popular destinations for expats have some of the highest hospital charges in the world.
Surveys looking at the costs for short stays in hospital to treat issues such as stomach problems, gastroenteritis, ear infections and hospital treatment for broken bones revealed that the costs of medical care vary significantly but even in ‘cheaper’ countries you could still face huge bills.
Costa Rica $9,500
Due to liability insurance issues airlines have to refuse sick passengers from boarding.
If you have not been resident in the UK new Government rules allow the NHS to refuse treatment
Do you really want to be subject to queues and waiting lines that could impact treatment & even survival?
Hopefully whilst reading this you are in good shape and you are fit and healthy - the trouble is that guaranteeing you remain fit and healthy is impossible !!
Sadly we are all subject to what 'life throws at us :
these are events that we do not plan or schedule for, but they are events that occur daily and for many people
Being an expat does not provide immunity - take a look at Peter Robinsons' - a true case of a retired fireman who suffers an unexpected stroke in Manila without medical insurance nor financial resource, this is just one example of an expat catastrophe.
Having read this far you will have recognised that the sudden impact of hospitalisation could be devastating for your finances.
You may also have recognised that owning expat medical insurance is an essential product for financial protection.
The selection of your medical insurance provider and the plan chosen is also extremely important as it has long-lasting implications.
Our 30+ years of advising expat clients in relation to their medical insurance and the associated claims experiences we have built up, enable us to offer an unrivalled service in selecting the most appropriate provider and plan specific for your circumstances.
We choose only to advise on those companies that have proven, demonstrable track records of service.
We are not a 'cost-compare' advisor - price is important but so are:
Our experience and rigorous due diligence enables us to recommend contracts that will provide the protection you require when the need arises.
Get in touch and start a conversation.
Expat medical insurance plans are designed for the following groups of individuals although the list is not exhaustive :
Please note that dependent on the geographical cover you select in your plan and any Governmental warning on safe travel, some country restrictions may apply.
Antigua and Barbuda,AG
Bolivia - Plurinational State of,BO
Bonaire - Sint Eustatius and Saba,BQ
Bosnia and Herzegovina,BA
British Indian Ocean Territory,IO
Central African Republic,CF
Cocos (Keeling) Islands,CC
Congo - The Democratic Republic of the,CD
Falkland Islands (Malvinas),FK
French Southern Territories,TF
Heard Island and McDonald Islands,HM
Holy See (Vatican City State),VA
Iran - Islamic Republic of,IR
Isle of Man,IM
Korea - Democratic People's Republic of,KP
Korea - Republic of,KR
Lao People's Democratic Republic,LA
Macedonia - The Former Yugoslav Republic of,MK
Micronesia - Federated States of,FM
Moldova - Republic of,MD
Northern Mariana Islands,MP
Palestine - State of,PS
Papua New Guinea,PG
Saint Helena - Ascension and Tristan da Cunha,SH
Saint Kitts and Nevis,KN
Saint Martin (French part),MF
Saint Pierre and Miquelon,PM
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines,VC
Sao Tome and Principe,ST
Sint Maarten (Dutch part),SX
South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands,GS
Svalbard and Jan Mayen,SJ
Syrian Arab Republic,SY
Taiwan - Province of China,TW
Tanzania - United Republic of,TZ
Trinidad and Tobago,TT
Turks and Caicos Islands,TC
United Arab Emirates,AE
United States Minor Outlying Islands,UM
Venezuela - Bolivarian Republic of,VE
Virgin Islands - British,VG
Virgin Islands - U.S.,VI
Wallis and Futuna,WF
Each medical insurer will have differing criteria as to how they evaluate pre-existing conditions.
Some insurers may accept a certain pre-existing condition whilst others may either apply a premium load or exclude the pre-existing condition.
If you have a known pre-existing condition you should contact us in the first instance in order that we can best advise.
There are two types of medical underwriting:
Fully underwritten plans offer the advantage that clients know in advance if cover applies in respect of any pre-existing conditions.
A policy excess is that part of a claim that will not be covered by an insurance policy.
For example if you have a policy with a USD 100 policy excess it simply means that the insurance company will settle claims above the USD 100 excess amount.
So if you have a claim totalling USD 500 and your policy has a USD 100 excess (also known as a deductible) the insurance company will calculate USD 500 minus USD 100 = USD 400 claim settlement.
Many expat medical insurance providers offer cover for dental, optical and maternity benefits.
The table of benefits brochures downloadable on our expat medical insurance page provide further detail on these optional extras.
All plans offered by the insurers we recommend provide lifelong cover - you will never have cover declined in the future due to your age
Travel insurances are specifically designed for short term periods overseas (up to 3 years).
In contrast expat medical insurance is designed for expats and global travellers who anticipate being overseas for longer periods.
In addition expat medical insurance can provide long term chronic illness protection which is not included in travel insurance policies.
Absolutely - all expat medical insurance plans that we recommend include medical evacuation cover