Five ways expats can benefit from international health insurance

Moving abroad is a massive upheaval, physically and emotionally. Knowing your health is covered no matter where you are and whatever happens can be a huge weight off your shoulders.

Five ways expats can benefit from international health insurance
Photo: Tirachard KumtanomPexels

The Local has partnered with leading international insurance broker ASN to bring you five ways that expats can benefit from international health insurance.

You always know where to go

If you injure yourself or become unwell in your home country, you instantly know where to seek help. In a new country, it’s not always as clear. When you have international health insurance, your provider can look into their network of doctors and hospitals and advise you on where to go. Many providers also have 24/7 hotlines you can call for round-the-clock advice.

There’s no language barrier

The only thing more frightening than becoming ill when you’re abroad is not understanding the diagnosis. With international health insurance, your provider is obliged to find you a doctor or specialist who speaks your language. If it’s an emergency, being privately insured guarantees this is always the case. When that isn’t possible, it’s the insurance provider’s responsibility to make sure you know exactly what is happening regarding your health and treatment.

Click here to get a bespoke health insurance policy

You’re fully protected

Once you’ve found your nearest GP, you can hone in on other aspects of your health. Expats often neglect dentist or therapist appointments because they are unfamiliar with local healthcare services. With international health insurance, your insurer can arrange these appointments for you (provided they are included in your policy). When ASN finetunes your policy for you, they can create bespoke plans that include options like optical cover and wellness packages so that you’re covered from head to toe.

Photo: Vitalik Radko/Depositphotos

Your kids are covered too

Knowing your children’s health is protected while you’re abroad is priceless. Many international health insurance policies allow for unlimited paediatrician appointments while some cover your children for all their vaccinations too.

There are also many advantages of international health insurance if you become pregnant while living in another country. You can give birth in a private hospital of your choice or, if there is a medical reason, you can choose to go back to your home country to have the baby. Speak to an international health insurance advisor at ASN to find out more about how international health insurance can benefit you if you are pregnant or become pregnant while living abroad.

Click here to get a bespoke health insurance policy

Manage chronic illness abroad

If you have a chronic illness it can complicate things but it shouldn’t stop you from expatriating. However, it’s not always easy to find cover if you have a pre-existing medical condition. International health insurers are private and so have the right to refuse you cover if you have diabetes or another chronic condition. ASN’s experts know which providers may be more open to covering clients with a chronic illness and in some cases can negotiate full cover for a higher premium.

Once your policy has been activated ASN can help you with everything you need relating to your health insurance. The multi-lingual team is available to answer all your questions and ensure that you get the best possible cover from your health insurance provider. Click here to get your personal insurance quote.

This article was produced by The Local Creative Studio and sponsored by ASN Advisory Services Network.


‘Possible link’ between AstraZeneca vaccine and rare blood clots, EMA concludes

The European Medicines Agency has come to the conclusion that the unusual blood clots suffered by numerous people around Europe should be considered as rare side effects of AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine, but that overall the benefits of the jab outweigh the risk.

'Possible link' between AstraZeneca vaccine and rare blood clots, EMA concludes
Photo by Tiziana FABI / AFP

A statement published online read: “The EMA’s safety committee has concluded today that unusual blood clots with low blood platelets should be listed as very rare side effects of the COVID-19 AstraZeneca vaccine.”

The EMA added however that the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risks.

While millions of doses of the vaccine developed with Oxford University have been administered, small numbers of people have developed deadly blood clots, which prompted countries including the European Union’s three largest nations – Germany, France and Italy – to temporarily suspend injections pending the EMA investigation.

In March the EMA said the vaccine was “safe and effective” in protecting people against Covid-19 but that it couldn’t rule out a link to blood clots, and that more investigations were needed.

On Wednesday the EMA said the AstraZeneca vaccine should continue to be used for all age groups but that people should be told of the possible rare side effects. The announcement came as the UK’s own drugs regulator said the AZ vaccine should now only be given to over 30s.

The EMA said it was “reminding healthcare professionals and people receiving the vaccine to remain aware of the possibility of very rare cases of blood clots combined with low levels of blood platelets occurring within two weeks of vaccination.”

One plausible explanation for the combination of blood clots and low blood platelets is an immune response, the EMA said but that it had not identified any clear risk factors for causing the clots including age or gender.

So far, most of the cases reported have occurred in women under 60 years of age within two weeks of vaccination. 

The EMA advised that people who have received the vaccine should seek medical assistance immediately if they develop symptoms of this combination of blood clots and low blood platelets.

Symptoms include shortness of breath, chest pain, swelling in legs, abdominal pain, severe headaches, blurred vision and tiny blood spots under the skin at the sight of the injection.

The EMA committee carried out an in-depth review of 62 cases of cerebral venous sinus thrombosis and 24 cases of splanchnic vein thrombosis reported in the EU drug safety database (EudraVigilance) as of 22 March 2021, 18 of which were fatal

The agency concluded: “COVID-19 is associated with a risk of hospitalisation and death. The reported combination of blood clots and low blood platelets is very rare, and the overall benefits of the vaccine in preventing COVID-19 outweigh the risks of side effects.”

Germany, France and Italy have all restarted AstraZeneca vaccines, but in the case of France and Germany with extra guidelines on the age of patients it should be used for. France is currently not administering the AstraZeneca vaccine to under 55s or over 75s.