This new plan from April is essentially international private medical insurance (iPMI) aimed at those going abroad for a relatively short period of time. So, customers could include those on short-term work secondment, those on a gap year and others on sabbatical or world trips.
The plan’s main benefits include per certificate period:
* An overall aggregate limit of £250,000 (or $ or € equivalent).
* Full refund for most hospital services (inpatient psychiatric treatment is limited to 15 days).
* Outpatient (including GP) services limited to £5,000.
* Osteopathy, chiropractic, homeopathy and acupuncture are covered.
* Dental treatment is limited to £200 for emergencies and £500 if due to an accident.
* Home country cover is included, up to 30 days.
* Emergency evacuation is covered, together with emergency medical reunion and compassionate home travel.
* Additional services include Red 24 (crisis management assistance), Blood Care Foundation (which provides properly screened blood) and Best Doctors (second medical opinion).
Optionally, clients can choose to add (at extra cost) pre-existing condition cover. This is available if under age 50 and provides, for ‘a small premium loading’, up to £20,000 for acute episodes of existing medical conditions. Out of Area Extension Benefit provides up to 30 days cover in the US and the Caribbean up to £20,000.
The plan is available up to age 70 and cover is worldwide, excluding US and Caribbean. Cover can last for between one and 12 months (which can be extended up to a further six months). Direct settlement of bills can usually be arranged.
A 25 year old could get 12 months short term cover for £600, a 32 year old £780 plus any local taxes.
What They Say
Business development director Joe Thomas said: “Our MediCare Short-Term International Health Plan is designed for people travelling or working abroad for periods from one to 12 months but plans are flexible and can be extended for a further six months up to a maximum duration of 18 months. The plan provides immediate access to the best private medical facilities in-country, ensuring treatment and recovery is facilitated as quickly as possible and importantly, without the need to return home. The plan is ideal for people seeking top quality international insurance cover for work placements, gap years and sabbaticals, where any interruption to the period abroad needs to be avoided at all costs.”
What We Say
"Too many people who go abroad do so with minimal or no adequate medical insurance cover. Longer term, iPMI is the solution but, short-term, many simply rely on the emergency cover included within their travel insurance or [if in Europe] just rely on their EHIC – or else trust to luck!
"APRIL’s solution is a plan that includes many of the core elements of iPMI but at a much lower cost. What’s the advantage compared to just having travel insurance? According to APRIL, the plan provides the freedom and flexibility to access private medical facilities wherever clients may be located within their territorial scope of cover [worldwide excluding US and the Caribbean] so there is no need to cut a trip short or consider having to return home. It says a traditional travel insurance policy would only provide emergency medical treatment and tends to operate on the basis of stabilising the condition and/or accident and getting you home safely, where treatment can resume within the NHS or covered by any domestic PMI policy. That makes sense, although travellers also need conventional travel insurance to cover things like lost baggage and flight delays and cancellations.
"The plan should appeal to those travelling abroad for up to a year and parents may want to fund the plan for their gap year children [with the plan in the child’s name]. However, the interface with travel insurance, which usually includes emergency medical cover, is tricky as it means in effect double paying for some cover. For complete peace of mind [albeit this plan does have financial limits that may be lower than those under some travel policies] this plan can make sense but a quick link to travel insurance without medical cover would be a useful add-on."