The price of international health insurance on the rise in 2022

How do insurers calculate the amount of premiums?

To understand how international health insurers are revising their rates, let’s take a look behind the scenes. It is not a scoop, an insurance company must be profitable, while dealing, on the one hand, with the increase in the prices practiced for a certain number of medical acts, and on the other hand, with customers who are not ready to see the amount of their contributions explode. The exercise is much harder than it looks.

The “simplest” part of the calculation of the initial premium is based on taking into account the usual criteria (country of expatriation, level of cover, age, medical history, etc.) and more personal (state of health at the time of the subscription of the contract, hardship at work, lifestyle, etc.). The health context makes the calculation more complex and weighs on the bill.

An exercise that is all the more complicated, as the objective is to ensure the proper functioning of the pooling mechanism: your contribution is added to that of the other subscribers and thus contributes to a “common pot”, which must make it possible to cover the all health costs provided for in each person’s contract. It is easy to understand, this envelope is not extensible.

The consequence is all in all quite logical: the more the insured will have approached, reached or exceeded an acceptable ceiling at the end of the year, the more it will be necessary to increase the amount of contributions the following year.

Our advice for reconciling quality health insurance with lower contributions

On paper, the solution to benefit from the best health coverage at a lower cost seems quite simple: adopt a healthy lifestyle and remain vigilant about the prices of the medical procedures you need. Easier said than done. First, because life often leaves us no choice when it comes to illness and accidents. Then, because in some countries, health is a real business.

In the United States, the bill can indeed vary from simple to triple, with sometimes abysmal variations between the States. In a recent survey, the New York Times observed prices that can range, in the same establishment, from 782 to 2144 dollars for a colonoscopy. While an MRI costs on average 200 dollars in the Netherlands, the average price charged in the United States is around 1500 dollars.

In fact, we must not forget that the insurer is not just a service provider but also your ally. Each year, insurers determine, depending on the country or state in which you reside, what they call the “usual, reasonable and customary” (UCR) costs for each medical procedure. Some international health insurance companies also forge partnerships with local insurers – particularly in the United States – and can thus offer their customers a network of health professionals, with all the advantages that this entails: in particular, a possible negotiation of rates and no advance payment (within the limits provided for in the contract).

It is also in this logic of accompaniment that insurers provide for a prior agreement before validating the coverage of a costly medical procedure. Often seen as a constraint, this provision actually aims to protect customers against price abuse. And this, including from practitioners belonging to a network. Depending on the situation, the insurer can then negotiate the prices, or redirect you to another professional offering the same level of service, at a rate in line with the UCR.

This principle of reasonable “consumption” of medical care also consists in limiting acts to the real needs of the patient. In countries where health is a business, some doctors and establishments do not hesitate to multiply the requests for additional examinations. Here again, your insurer’s medical service can provide you with valuable advice.

As you will have understood, good control of health costs makes it possible to limit the risk of seeing the amount of your insurance premium increase from one year to the next. Some insurance companies also reward customers who have adopted a responsible approach to health spending.

How to choose your international health insurance?

Choosing a good international health insurance is not only measured through the amounts of the premium and the coverage limit. These are of course important selection criteria but the concept of services is just as important. Starting with responsiveness, availability and the possibility of contacting an adviser by email or telephone at any time, in your language, wherever you are in the world.

As the comparison between the different insurance products is not always easy to make, one of the most effective solutions for reconciling good medical coverage and quality of services, as close as possible to one’s real needs, is still to call on a broker specializing in international health insurance. Hyphen Mobility has even taken an approach that goes beyond traditional brokerage firms. Her knowledge of the realities of the client’s living environment allows her to find the insurance product that best meets her needs and budget, but she has also chosen to offer a top-of-the-range client relationship service, assisting you, throughout the life of your contract, in your dealings with the insurer with which you have contracted. Rather useful when you have to explain a situation if not complicated, at least specific, and this wherever you live in the world.

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