7 reasons you should have international health insurance

Are you covered in your new country? And what happens if there's an emergency?

7 reasons you should have international health insurance

1. To make sure you're covered abroad

Just because you live abroad doesn't mean you have healthcare coverage there. Most private plans are only applicable in the country you signed them. Travel insurance may cover care abroad, but usually only for a short stay – not for living abroad.

In many countries a certain type of residence permit is required to enjoy the state system. You might need to have lived there for a certain number of years, have a job, or have a permanent address. If you’re on a temporary contract, studying abroad, or if you move around a lot, this could be a problem.

With an international health insurance plan you know you’ll be covered, no matter where you go.

2. Flexibility

Even if you are eligible for a country’s healthcare programme, make sure you know what that entails. Some countries require you to purchase an insurance plan. Even if your healthcare is subsidized, it might not be all-encompassing. Will you have to pay each time you visit the doctor? Are general checkups and emergency care both included? What about maternity care?

Many expats choose international health insurance to give them flexibility and the ability to choose whatever plan they want, or need. There are different levels of coverage available. At Cigna Global, for example, you can choose Silver, Gold, or Platinum core cover insurance, and you can add on optional benefits to that.

Health is an extremely personal issue – healthcare should be, too. Do it your way.

3. To get a doctor who speaks English

Speaking of doing it your way, when your health is on the line you don’t want to be stumbling over a foreign language.

Many doctors in Europe speak excellent English, but if you want to be sure, you can contact your provider. Cigna Global offers assistance 24/7 around the world, so you can speak to someone straight away and get help finding the best doctor for you.

4. To cover pre-existing conditions  

Better safe than sorry. Many plans offer a limited amount of coverage for pre-existing conditions, so if you have a condition you know you’ll be dealing with living abroad, it’s best to make sure you’re covered in advance.

5. For vision and dental coverage

Even in countries with government healthcare systems, dental and vision are frequently outliers where each person must pay their own costs. And the costs can be pretty high.

Adding an international vision and dental plan ensures you can keep on getting regular exams and keep your eyes and teeth healthy, no matter where you are.

6. For when things get tough

Health isn’t just about your body – your mind is just as important. And while living abroad is an incredible experience full of opportunities, it comes with many challenges, too. It’s not uncommon to struggle with adjusting.

Mental health coverage is offered on all levels of insurance with Cigna Global. The Life Management service is available 24/7 to assist with whatever you need, and you can get counselling sessions covered whether the issue is personal, work, or family related.

7. Just in case

Finally, there are those really big what-ifs. Hopefully medical evacuation and expatriation will never be an issue – but if something should happen, you’ll want to be covered.

As you get older, you should get screened regularly for various types of cancer as well. With international health insurance you have coverage for screenings for prostate, breast, and bowel cancer.

With an international healthcare plan like one from Cigna Global, you can make sure you’re covered no matter what situation you encounter.  You don’t want to take chances when it’s your health you’re talking about!

Want a free quote for a personalized plan from Cigna? Click here.

This article was produced by The Local Client Studio and sponsored by Cigna Global.

For members


How do I get a European Health Insurance Card in Austria?

An European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) provides EU residents with access to public healthcare across the bloc. Here’s what you need to know about getting an EHIC in Austria.

How do I get a European Health Insurance Card in Austria?

A big advantage of living in Europe is the ability to travel to so many different countries.

But sometimes accidents or illness can happen while on holiday or a work trip, which can mean an unplanned visit to a doctor.

READ ALSO: Austria recommends 4th Covid vaccine dose for everyone over 12

Thankfully, the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) provides some protection against expensive medical bills in the form of reciprocal healthcare. 

Here’s what you need to know about the EHIC and how to get the card in Austria.

What is an EHIC?

An EHIC is a form of medical insurance cover and replaces the international health insurance voucher (form E111). It is issued free of charge and allows holders to access state-provided medical care while temporarily in another EU country. 

It works on a reciprocal basis through a country’s social security system and care is provided at the same cost as those insured in the country (which means it can be free, in some cases).

This means that if you have an e-card and are insured with one of the public health insurances in Austria, such as ÖGK, for example, you are entitled to the EHIC and to access public health services (to a certain extent) in other countries.

FOR MEMBERS: What is Austria’s e-card and what do you need to know about it?

The EHIC is valid in all 27 EU countries, as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland, Macedonia, Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the UK.

However, the EHIC is not an alternative to comprehensive travel insurance as it doesn’t cover any private healthcare costs, a flight home or lost/stolen property.

Why do I need an EHIC in Austria?

The main advantage of having an EHIC is if you need medical treatment while briefly travelling in another country.

While the coverage is limited to state-provided healthcare, it does mean you will be treated by a doctor and not liable to pay non-resident medical fees.

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

Austria’s e-card – the national insurance card – is needed for almost all medical procedures. On the back, it contains the EHIC Ecard image: Wikicommons

How do I get an EHIC?

EHICs are issued by the national health country provider of the country where you live. This could be, for example, the ÖGK or SVA, depending on which provider you use in Austria.

In Austria, every e-card (the health insurance card that is used to visit a doctor) already contains an EHIC on the reverse of the card, so there is no need to apply for it separately. 

However, if the data fields on the EHIC on the back of your e-card contains stars (***) instead of personal information such as name and date of birth, further documentation is required to access healthcare in another EU country.

In this case, you need to contact your social security provider in Austria to receive a replacement card before you travel.

The EHIC is only valid on the condition that you are insured or co-insured in Austria.

Useful words 

Social insurance – Sozialversicherung

Travel insurance – Reiseversicherung

Healthcare – Gesundheitspflege

Useful links

European Commission

Austrian social insurance