International private medical insurance is designed to cover the cost of eligible treatment for people who are living, working or studying abroad.
The cost of international health insurance for an individual can start from as little as £434/$500/€503 for basic cover and go above £8,689/$10,000/€10,079 for a comprehensive international private medical insurance plan, including treatment in the US.
Here are some things that may influence your premium:
- the kind of cover you need - student, family or individual
- the length of cover - short or long term
- additional cover options, such as dental or maternity cover
Your personal circumstances, such as medical history and location, can also affect the cost of your insurance.
What influences the cost of your insurance
The country you’re moving to will have a significant impact on your insurance premium. This is because the cost of medical treatment can vary a lot between the countries. For example, the United States is known for high healthcare costs, so insurance is likely to be more expensive in this region. In comparison, medical treatment is more affordable in Thailand, where you’re likely to pay less for your international private medical insurance.
Many health insurance providers offer cover by geographical region. This way they’re able to mitigate the costs for customers who are moving to a location with more affordable healthcare. At APRIL International UK, we can exclude medical cover in the United States to reduce the cost of your insurance.
Generally, the cost of cover is likely to increase with age. This is because the older you are, the more healthcare you are likely to require and the more likely you are to rely on your insurance for medical treatment.
Private medical insurance doesn’t typically cover pre-existing medical conditions. You may have to pay a higher premium to get cover for a medical condition you have, or any conditions associated with it.
Additional policy options
Additional cover options, such as maternity cover or dental cover, are also likely to increase the cost of your insurance. It’s important for you to think about what cover you need, so that you don’t end up paying for the cover that’s not required.
Excess is a contribution you make towards the claim of your medical treatment. This is an agreed fixed amount and it’s usually paid annually or per claim, depending on your insurance arrangement.
As a member of APRIL International UK, you’d have to pay £50/$100/€75 excess for outpatient consultations (for each new condition per policy year). A voluntary excess can also be added which you’d pay annually.
You can choose your annual excess. This is generally between £100/$200/€150 and £10,000/$20,000/€15,000. A high excess is likely to reduce the overall cost of your insurance.
Why is international private health insurance expensive?
This is because even straightforward medical procedures can be expensive in most regions. For example, in the UK a knee replacement can cost anywhere between £11,400/$13,100/€13,200 and £16,000/$20,000/€18,600.
In Singapore, the cost of medical treatment is also high. You can pay £16,500/$19,000/€16,630 or more for the same treatment.
In Turkey, where healthcare is generally more affordable, you’re likely to pay around £9,563/$11,000/€11,086 for a knee replacement surgery.
Why do insurance premiums go up every year?
Your premium for international private medical insurance is likely to increase over time. This is due to something called ‘medical inflation’.
A term ‘medical inflation’ refers to the increase in costs needed to support medical trends and developments, such as new, life-saving drugs and medical technologies.
These are some of the things that contribute to medical inflation:
- Medical innovation. New developments, such as new drugs, treatments and technologies, are making healthcare more effective. However, these medical advancements come with a higher cost of treatment.
- Ageing population and higher life expectancy. A large proportion of the global population is over 65 years old and, by 2030, 1 in 6 people in the world will be aged 60 or over.¹ Ageing population and increasing life expectancy means more people needing access to healthcare, resulting in higher medical costs.
- Pressure on healthcare. Poor lifestyle habits and increasing demand for certain medical services, such as mental health support, are putting strain on medical care. Growing pressure on healthcare is also contributing to an increase in costs.
In addition to medical inflation, your age will increase with each policy renewal, which means your premiums are likely to rise, too. Any claims you make during your policy year may also have an impact on your renewal cost.
Here’s some example scenarios to give you a better idea of how much international private health insurance may cost.
The costs are correct as of September 2022 and include Insurance Premium Tax where applicable.
Example 1: Student cover
Location: United Kingdom
Reason for moving abroad: Erasmus student exchange programme (12 months)
Core cover includes:
Optional extras: pre-existing condition cover for those with pre-existing ailments (non-congenital/hereditary) who require emergency cover for their pre-existing conditions.
Total annual cost: €588.00
Total annual cost: €888.00 including cover for pre-existing conditions
Example 2: Short-term individual cover
Reason for moving abroad: 6-month work relocation
Thailand visa regulations require $100,000 minimum limit on medical insurance and must include COVID-19 cover.
Core cover includes:
Total annual cost: €492.00
Example 3: Long-term cover for globally-mobile family
Age: 32-year-old lead policy holder, 38-year-old spouse and two children under 18
Reason for moving abroad: Globally-mobile family moving to UK with a requirement for international cover due to frequent travel to their second home.
Core cover includes:
Total annual cost: £3,789.00
Example 4: Long-term individual cover
Reason for moving abroad: Work relocation
Core cover includes:
Total annual cost: £1,698.00