International private medical insurance is a premium form of health insurance cover. Most plans offer high overall benefit limits, in/out-patient cover, evacuation, cancer cover and many other individual benefits as standard. Plans are also fully transportable so you are covered wherever you live, work or travel.

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They are exactly the same and can also be known as IPMI (International Private Medical Insurance). You might also hear the phrase 'Expat Medical Insurance' which, again, refers to the same type of insurance cover.

If you are an expatriate you might need international private medical insurance. It's always worth talking to your insurance broker about your personal circumstances but expatriates will take out cover when they move to a new country for many reasons including: they can't easily access healthcare, they want to ensure the care itself is of a high standard, they want to ensure fast access to treatment, they want to maintain continuous cover if they travel or move to live in new countries frequently.

They are many advantages of IPMI cover, including:

  • You typically won't need to pay for your treatment up front – this will be settled by your insurer and the treatment provider
  • You will be able to choose the facility in which you are treated – and your insurer will have a network of providers from which you can choose if you wish
  • Wherever you travel and live you'll be able to take the policy with you so there will be no break in cover
  • Depending on the product you choose, the limits will typically be high and the extent of cover extensive
  • You'll have full evacuation and repatriation protection if the care you need isn't available where your medical need arises

It is down to you to assess the compatibility of international private medical insurance with any mandatory contribution or membership of your national health system. Should your national health system be mandatory, you can still take out IPMI cover if you wish to improve your benefits.

International private medical insurance premiums are calculated according to your age, medical cost inflation and the level of services that you chose to be included in your plan. Plans themselves can be very flexible and allow you to carefully select the precise cover you need. You can also modify premiums with the use of excesses and deductibles. This can allow you to create a great value for money program.

The minimum age for the policyholder is 18 years for the policyholder although there is no minimum age for dependants.

Maximum applicant ages vary from insurer to insurer. In general the age limit is 75-80 years and some insurance companies have no age limits. Once insured, the vast majority of insurers will cover you for as long as you need.

Not for individual contracts. Regardless of whether you claim for one dollar or the maximum annual plan limit (which can be multiple of millions), this will not impact your premium, unlike age and medical cost inflation.

Yes. On each anniversary date of your contract, the insurance company can modify the benefits it provides you under your international private medical insurance policy.