By Jenkin Au, www.Kwiksure.com An expatriate lifestyle can definitely be exciting. Sure, travelling to every corner of the globe is much more accessible than ever before and holidays to exotic locations are nothing new these days, but it’s not often you get to visit a new country and live there for long enough to fully experience its people and culture. However, living away from home and all its familiarities can of course, have its downsides. Receiving healthcare for the first time in a foreign country is always a daunting experience, especially if you are new to the country or do not speak the language. Giving birth in a foreign country however, is a whole other kettle of fish. As an expecting parent, you are obviously going to want the absolute best for your unborn child in terms of healthcare during and after your pregnancy. However, healthcare doesn’t come cheap for foreign nationals and maternity care is no exception. Maternity care can total astronomical amounts whilst living abroad and if you do not have suitable coverage, starting a new family can be an immense financial burden. Pregnancy can bring about many health issues and requires a great deal of medical care during and after the entire process.
Even the standard procedures involved with your pre-natal, post-natal, pregnancy, labour and delivery care can total extortionate amounts and that’s just standard care, without accounting for unforeseen complications. It is therefore highly recommended that you plan ahead when considering bringing a new child into the world and definitely get yourself some international maternity insurance when living abroad. Although you probably want the most comprehensive care possible for yourself and your new family, you don’t want to be paying more than you need to be paying either. A typical maternity health insurance plan for expatriates will provide a number of benefits such as covering the costs of normal delivery, complications during delivery, medically justifiable caesarean sections, pre and post natal examinations and home delivery costs. Some plans may even allow for special conditions and treatment such as IVF treatment and congenital birth defects. However, the more comprehensive your plan becomes the higher premium you may be likely to pay. It is therefore vital to understand exactly what level of care you may require and how you can cut unnecessary costs on your total premium. An international maternity insurance plan can definitely help you save a significant amount when it comes to receiving healthcare in a foreign country, but with so many benefits available to choose from, it can be a confusing task deciding between all your options. Waiting period The first thing you definitely need to know about maternity insurance coverage is that all plans, no matter which company you purchase them from, will attach a waiting period to your policy. However, how plans differ is how they choose to implement this waiting period. Most companies will choose between one of two ways; from the start of the plan or until conception. A waiting period that is put in place from the start of a plan is the most common form and a set amount of time (normally 8-10 months) during which you will not be covered for any maternity related treatment will have been predetermined with your provider before the start of your plan.
A less common, but sometimes preferred option is the ‘until conception’ waiting period whereby a couple must wait an agreed upon amount of time before conception can take place. Only when this time frame has passed can conception occur and coverage will then begin as soon as a pregnancy is confirmed. Newborn Insurance Once you’ve sorted that aspect of your plan, you’ll want to think about what form of coverage you want to protect your newest member of your family with. Similarly to maternity coverage, new born child benefits come in varying forms and (depending which provider you decide to purchase your plan from) will affect which options are available to you. You may wish to have your child ‘born into’ your existing plan and, after a waiting period (usually around 6 months), regardless of whether or not they have been born with perfect health, they too will be covered under your plan until they reach an age predetermined by your provider (typically 18 years old). Another option you could potentially choose from is to have your child receive a ‘free benefit’ as soon as they are born. This will enable your child to be fully covered starting from the moment they enter this world but will only last up to a predetermined amount of time or when a financial limit has been reached. After this period, you must then make a new submission to your provider to ensure your child’s coverage continues. Additional Benefits If you purchase an international maternity insurance plan, chances are your provider will supplement your maternity plan to an in-patient health policy. In other words, you can usually choose from a broad selection of additional benefits to add to your plan to ensure your family is covered for every eventuality. Benefits such as vaccinations, emergency evacuation coverage, alternative therapies, dental care and out-patient coverage can all be made available and some providers may even let you customize your plan to make it perfectly suited to your family’s requirements.
Furthermore, international insurance plans will normally be guaranteed renewable for life and will allow you to take your plan with you all over the world should you choose to relocate or return back to your home country. Starting a family abroad can be a great experience and growing up in an international expatriate environment can be highly beneficial for your children. Experiencing different cultures other than that of their own can enrich your child’s development and broaden their horizons, providing them with an international background – a huge advantage in this modern age. However, an expatriate’s lifestyle is often a transient one and as a parent, you will want to make the absolute most of your new home as you never know when you may be relocating again. Worrying about money should really be the last thing on your mind then so you can focus on your family and make the most of your current situation. People are often almost afraid of insurance because they do not understand what’s available to them and how to access it. It really doesn’t have to be a tiresome process though and if you plan on starting a family abroad, especially if you’re about to have your first child, it really is recommended you get yourself some decent coverage so you can focus on the important things in your life and really enjoy starting or expanding your family when living abroad.