In the United States, the cost of healthcare is considerable. Therefore, it is essential for any expatriate to have good medical insurance in the USA to cover their healthcare expenses.
The types of medical insurance in the United States are explained below, the advantages of using an American company or one from your country, and the different private health insurances that you can take out are shown.
Choose health insurance for residents in the USA with a local insurer
The first option is to take out local insurance that covers your medical expenses in the United States.
What is the advantage of choosing an American company?
It may be a good option if your company offers to cover all or part of your local health insurance premiums.
This is a very common practice among large US companies, and it can be financially attractive.
However, you should bear in mind that this policy will only cover your healthcare expenses in the United States.
If you travel to another country, or return home for a few days, this medical insurance for the USA would not cover you.
In the same way, this type of insurance will never cover the expenses and procedures related to repatriation to your country of origin. And this operation can be very expensive.
Also, before making this choice, it is necessary to take into account the guarantees included in the proposed contract.
This is not always easy, since the American health system is very complex and different from most countries.
Some key notions to understand medical expenses in the United States
Here are some important terms to understand the language of private health insurance in the USA.
- Deductible : it is the global amount that remains in charge of the insured before the insurance company begins to pay for their care. It is, therefore, a kind of franchise. In general, the higher it is, the lower the insurance premium;
- Copayment : the insured pays a part of the amount paid by the insurance. It generally represents between 10 and 20% of the bill;
- Maximum expense : it is the maximum annual amount that the insured must pay. Beyond this amount, the insurance covers 100% of medical expenses.
Types of health insurance in the United States
There are three types of health insurance in the United States:
- HMO ( Health Maintenance Organizations ) : they are the cheapest. They require the choice of a GP who must be consulted before any visit to a specialist. They only pay for care provided within their network of doctors and hospitals. Any service that is provided outside of this, or through assistance, will be borne by the insured;
- PPO (Preferred Provider Organizations): these are the most flexible policies. They do not require a referral doctor and cover part of the medical expenses incurred outside of their own network. They are very common in the United States, but their premiums are usually higher;
- EPO (Exclusive Provider Organizations): they are halfway between the two previous types of insurance. They do not require a referring physician, and they only cover care provided within their network.
Choose a medical insurance in the USA with companies in your country
Another possibility of obtaining health coverage in the United States is to use an insurance company in your country.
It must be specialized in expatriate health coverage.
Private health insurance in the USA from the first dollar
Most specialty companies offer so-called “first dollar” insurance.
These insurances cover all your medical expenses (routine care, hospitalization…) from the first dollar spent, hence its name.
First dollar insurance usually covers your healthcare costs around the world, including your home country, and includes repatriation insurance.
This solution allows you to choose the company and the contract that best suits you in terms of budget and guarantees.
But also add specific guarantees in the field of health (for example, maternity / childbirth) or for the daily life of the expatriate (protection of personal effects in case of loss or theft).
These offers are often attractive to expats for their flexibility and good value for money.
In addition, the companies that offer this type of medical insurance for the USA are the ones that provide the most services.
For example, mobile apps that allow you to manage paperless procedures or assistance in Spanish at any time.
These companies are also well established in the United States, where they have quality health networks.
They often allow them to benefit from certain advantages such as, for example, waiving advance payments in the event of hospitalization in a partner center.
Social Security as medical insurance for residents in the USA
Your country’s Social Security may continue to offer you coverage once you go abroad.
Especially if you have gone to the United States to work and continue to be hired by a company in your home country.
It is convenient that you familiarize yourself with your local legislation to be 100% sure that you can use this option as medical insurance in the USA.
Keep in mind that, in most cases, the amounts you will receive to cover your healthcare expenses are calculated based on what they cost in your country.
This may cause the amounts to be insufficient for a country like the United States. Medical care there is expensive.
In addition, the basic offer of Social Security is usually not very flexible and limited in terms of coverage.
For example, repatriation is not covered. If you choose this option as medical insurance for residents in the USA, you should take out a complementary policy.
Some expats may find it beneficial to choose Social Security. Unlike private companies, it does not require a medical questionnaire at the time of enrollment. Nor does it apply additional premiums or exclusions due to previous conditions.
Finding the most appropriate insurance to cover your expenses in the United States is not easy.
The offer in the market is extensive. And the budget constraints and specific needs of each person are unique.
To more easily choose a health insurance for the USA, without having to survey several insurers, it is possible to use an online insurance comparator.
This will give access to detailed offers and adapted budgets.
How much do medical expenses cost in the United States?
Medical expenses in the United States are very expensive. A simple consultation is about 5 times more expensive than in European countries such as France or Spain.
What are the types of private health insurance in the USA?
Expats can choose between two types of health insurance in the United States:
- Local insurance that requires a good knowledge of the English language and the local healthcare system;
- International insurance. The procedures are carried out in Spanish and are simplified.
Why choose a health insurance in the USA with a local company?
Choosing local insurance is interesting if your employer offers to pay all or part of the fees.
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