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Why expats choose international health insurance

Having taken the huge step in life to relocate to a new country, it’s important to secure peace of mind in as many aspects of your new life as possible; and ensuring that healthcare will be available for you and your family is a must.

Why expats choose international health insurance

Have you figured out how the healthcare system works in your chosen destination? How will you, as an expat, gain access to health services in your new home? Have you considered the possible language barrier? Do you know what to do in case of a medical emergency?

Understanding everything about your new home can be a daunting process, and deciphering the way in which a country’s national health system works is no exception.

As you leave your home country, you will realise you also leave certain comforts that were available to you as a national. But what will life be like now? What are the implications of being an expat in your new country? You better make sure – before you go.

Find out about Cigna expat healthcare

As a foreign national, you may not be entitled to any free or subsidised healthcare. In some cases you may need permanent residency before you can enter the system – and that could take years. It is therefore important to consider an expatriate health plan to provide for the healthcare needs of you and your family.

Individual private medical insurance (IPMI) policies can often be advantageous for expats, as opposed to local policies, as many of the benefits within these policies have been tailored specifically to suit expatriates.

Why go for international coverage?

Globally mobile citizens often require an international plan to cover them in a number of different countries. Some private plans offer coverage abroad, although for a limited time only. If you have private insurance in your home country, speak to your provider before your move; check if the plan will cover you in your new host country and for how long. 

You may have travel insurance in place, but bear in mind these policies are designed for short stays and to cover only for a medical emergency. Depending on the length of your stay, you may want to ensure a more sufficient health plan with an international policy.

Read more about expat healthcare

Understanding your policy documentation and being able to talk to a customer service representative is vital when dealing with your health queries – another reason why many expats choose an international health insurance company, so that they are able to get support in English or another familiar language.

What to consider when purchasing a policy

Researching the implications for expatriates in your host country and understanding the local regulations will set a foundation for you to make an informed decision.

If you are eligible for subsidised healthcare, keep in mind that most public healthcare systems are not all-encompassing. It’s important to make sure there are no gaps in your coverage – a private policy may complement your basic cover and grant you complete access to the best healthcare services in the country.

If you are employed, find out if your employer provides coverage. If you are covered under a company’s health insurance plan, find out exactly what your insurance plan covers and if it is the right policy for your particular situation.

Get a quote from Cigna for International Health Insurance

When purchasing a private policy, try to choose a plan specifically tailored to your needs. Keep in mind these basic factors: Does the policy fit the specific needs of you and your family? How are pre-existing conditions handled? Are there age restrictions? Does it provide international coverage? What are the exclusions?

Benefits vary from supplier to supplier, but some include unlimited annual benefit limits, Inpatient care, day-patient care, cancer care, and maternity care.

Research, compare, and consider the costs. Be sure to ask your insurer the right questions before making a decision, and you will surely find the right policy for you and your family.

Find out more about international healthcare coverage at Cigna Global.

This article was sponsored by Cigna Global. 

 

Read more about expat healthcare:

Becoming an expat: where to start
Education abroad: How to find an international school
Why expats choose international health insurance
Retiring abroad: what you should know

For members

HEALTH

Reader question: How can foreign doctors practise medicine in Austria?

If you are a doctor moving to Austria, there are a few legal requirements you need to follow before starting your medical practice. Here is what you should know.

Reader question: How can foreign doctors practise medicine in Austria?

Medical doctors are in high demand all over the world, especially as the coronavirus pandemic showed us how much we are short-staffed in the health sector.

In Austria, it’s no different, and the federal government has already announced several measures to attract people to its health sector in the future.

READ ALSO: More pay and longer holidays: How Austria hopes to attract 75,000 new nurses

Among the measures are changes to its Red-White-Red residence permits, those that, for example, allow workers, including in shortage occupations, to immigrate to Austria on a work visa.

Things will get easier for many IT employees, engineers, and tourist sector workers, but in some sectors, including the health one, there are a few more hurdles before starting working.

READ ALSO: How Austria is making it easier for non-EU workers to get residence permits

When it comes to medical activities, even European citizens who already have a right to live and work in Austria might need to go through a process to get their education certified and valid to start a medical practice in the country.

The process will depend primarily on where your training has taken place and what type of medical activity you intend on doing. All details can be found on the Austrian Medical Association (Österreische Ärztekammer).

General requirements for medical practice

In order to take up a medical practice in Austria, every physician (doctor, specialist, or general practitioner) needs to register with the Ärztekammer and meet the general legal requirements.

These include having full legal capacity concerning professional practice, good character and reputation required for fulfilling professional duties, fitness to practice needed for completing professional responsibilities, sufficient knowledge of the German language and legal residence giving access to the labour market.

READ ALSO: Everything foreigners need to know about the Austrian healthcare system

There are also specific requirements that need to be met depending on where your training took place.

Training took place within the EEA or in Switzerland

In this case, the process tends to be a bit easier, and you need to provide evidence of your basic medical training and any specific or specialist training you might have. For that, a diploma for medical study issued by an EEA member state of Switzerland will work.

You can check whether your documents are eligible for automatic recognition in Austria by emailing the Austrian Medical Association at [email protected].

Medical training outside the EEA (but recognised)

If you have had medical training outside of the EEA or Switzerland, but your training has been recognised by one of these states, the rules are also a bit different. You must show evidence of the medical activity and proof of its recognition.

Additionally, you must be authorised to independent medical practice in the country that recognised your education and has at least three years of actual and lawful professional experience in that country to have your training recognised through a non-automatic recognition of third country diplomas process.

You need to contact the International Affairs Team of the Austrian Medical Association ([email protected]) to get more information.

Medical training done in a third country

If you have completed your medical training in a third country and do not fulfil the requirements for a non-automatic recognition (above), you must first have your university degree recognised as equivalent by an Austrian university.

This process is known as Nostrifizierung.

In Austria, the Nostrifizierung procedure is done by the medical universities (Vienna, Graz or Innsbruck) with similar processes. In Vienna, you need to submit an application form, an education history for the comparison between the Curriculum taken and the one offered in Austria, and a possible “random test”.

Among the documents to be submitted in the application process is proof that you have a B2 level of German, a document from the Ärztekammer that you are required to go through the Nostrifizierung process and a confirmation that you paid the €150 fee. You can find a list of all documents you’ll need to submit here.

READ ALSO: Six things to know about visiting a doctor in Austria

The universities will then “investigate” if your education is equivalent to the one offered in Austria. The first step is a curriculum comparison (checking for both content and hours of classes), but they may also carry out a “random test” in some cases.

The test will be in German, but the participants selected will be allowed to use a language dictionary – the test results are only a part of the nostrification process and help the universities assess if the candidate’s training is equivalent to an Austrian one.

After you go through the recognition processes (Nostrifizierung), you can register with the Austrian Medical Chamber.

Registration with the Austrian Medical Association

Before starting medical practice in Austria, every person needs to register with the Austrian Medical Chamber. For this, they will need to send documents including proof of nationality, proof of lawful residence, a certificate of good standing from countries where they have practised medicine for more than six months within the last five years, a criminal record certificate, medical certificate (confirming physical and mental fitness to practice the medical profession) and more.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How the Austrian healthcare system works

The application for registration has to be filed with the Austrian Medical Chamber.

The Medical Chamber of the respective province where you plan to exercise the medical profession is available to further assist with this. You can arrange a meeting with them to clarify general questions about the process.

Here you can find more information.

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