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Travel Medical versus Full Health Insurance

Like with all products, when presented with a medical insurance quotation that, compared to others, differs so severely in price the very first question one must ask is how the insurer manages to cover its overall expenses. After all, due to advancing research resulting in new technologies, healing methods and medicines, populations are ageing, and this comes at continual increasing costs.

So, how come some health insurers are able to under-price others; is it because they have a better cost accounting, are able to forecast certain medical situations more precisely than others or is it not that they know most people tend not to pay attention to detail, especially when the product they are buying is intangible, therefore price becomes a key selling point.

Yes, the catch is usually in the Policy Wording and starts with the word "Travel".

Travel Insurance

In its title the word 'travel' already suggests that the product is designed to cover trips that are limited in duration and maybe even quantity. Its real purpose is to provide financial security related to the aspects as listed below, whilst people are travelling abroad, e.g. as tourists or expatriates, latter leaving their native country to reside abroad for a foreseeable period.

Travel insurance policies include modules that cover the following aspects:

  • Cancellation insurance
  • Discontinuation insurance (incl. holiday guarantee)
  • Baggage insurance
  • Personal Accident insurance
  • Emergency medical treatment

In terms of medical coverage, the purpose of such is to provide short-term medical treatment in the event of acute illness/ accident that leads to pain, of which the patient must be relieved from and only applies within a specified area or period. It ceases to exist when the client is well enough to return home and for sure when you are back in your country of residence. Very rarely does Travel insurance cover long term medical care, thus the client is usually expected to depart from the location when as seen fit to do so!

Full Health Insurance

Providers of Full Health Insurance - national or international - cover emergency (pain relief), routine & preventive healthcare, treatment for long-lasting chronical conditions and offer health-orientated services and perks to secure best health at all times. Where insurable, the opportunity to include pre-existing conditions can be given and these plans are characterised by either indefinite or very high insured sums, with transparent reimbursement ceilings for specific benefits.

An extract of just some elements:

  • In-patient hospital stay
  • Day-patient treatment
  • Out-patient benefits
  • Dental Treatment
  • Pregnancy & Childbirth
  • Routine Health Management / Wellness Benefits
  • Cash-back schemes for
    • Claim-free periods
    • Convalescence at home
    • Health related apps or fitness courses
    • Wavering insured benefits (e.g. single room)

Insurers usually have at least 3 plans in their portfolio - "basic", "standard", "comprehensive" - that can be extended with optional modules so that policies are tailored to meet your needs/budget as far as possible. All plans come with a multitude of annual excesses and co-payments per claim, lowering the premium but assuring you have the best health care that you can afford in the event of a worst-case.

In a nutshell

Full health care policies are designed for those residing in a country for a sustained period, during which financial security is required should comprehensive and/or continuous medical care be required and upkeeping of good health is important.

Travel insurance on the other hand is a "back on your feet" warrantor, as it reimburses expenses related to emergency treatment due to acute illness/accident whilst you are visiting another country for a short stay.

To have a fully compliant health care with the above tweaks here and there, means you have a quality insurance that you can rely on should you need to when it will matter the most. Again it is “health care”  and it is your health we are wanting you to think about. Buy cheap, pay twice!

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