EssentialCare expatriate health insurance plan is a simple and cost effective plan designed primarily for people who would otherwise opt out of having international private medical insurance (iPMI) cover on cost grounds.
The plan offers a choice of three options, with all options having a single worldwide premium rate and cover:
- Level 1. This is an annually underwritten product with no automatic renewal or continuation of cover, with consequent lower pricing. This means that the insurer can refuse to offer renewal terms if say claims have been made, unlike a conventional PMI plan where renewal is virtually automatic each year or month. For a 30 year old, Level 1 worldwide cover costs an annual premium of £552. For a 50 year old the same cover would cost £1,212 for a year. Benefits are limited to £50,000 per person covered lifetime and per year of cover.
- Level 2 is a more conventional product that is not re-underwritten at renewal, but has a lifetime benefit limit of £150,000 per person.
- Level 3 is similar to Level 2 but with a lifetime benefit limit of £300,000 per person.
Residents of China, Hong Kong, Japan, USA and Canada have a compulsory annual in-patient excess as do older clients. Accidental death and dismemberment (including temporary total disability) cover; accidental death only cover, or evacuation and repatriation can be added and plans denominated in GB £s, Euros or US Dollars.
Most inpatient treatments are full refund, but outpatient treatments are financially limited. Emergency dental treatment is covered on Level 2 and 3 plans only, as is maternity and psychiatric cover, both being subject to a 12 month initial waiting period.
What They Say
Managing director Jon Carpenter said: “The main driver behind this product is to provide an option for those clients who are opting out of existing cover altogether, simply on price. We have become increasingly concerned by this and clearly it is not the right answer to the problem, and can leave our expatriate clients vulnerable to financial disaster if they have to pay for treatment themselves, worse still, in some parts of the world going without cover could even be life threatening.”
What We Say
"Morgan Price has raised an interesting issue – is it better to have some cover than none at all? The answer is that it is always best to have the right cover but, if that is not affordable (or the client simply won’t buy it), then some cover may be better than none at all.
"So, we welcome this plan – with all its limitations – but do explore all options first. You will also need to be uber certain that the client (and their family) fully understand the plan’s limitations, especially if Level 1 cover is chosen and they plan to continue working outside the UK for more than a year."