Do you need global medical insurance?
In this fourth and final installment in our health care in La Paz series, we explore the reasons why expats may want to consider purchasing international private medical insurance.
Private insurance comes in all sizes and costs, with different benefits, exclusions, conditions and qualifications. It can be a confusing product. So much depends on your age, the state of your health, pre-existing conditions, health habits, your budget and more.
We asked an insurance broker, Roger Anthony, to help us maneuver through the information and clear up a few questions we had about private medical insurance. Roger is a U.S. expat living in Cabo San Lucas. He is a walking-talking testimonial for International Private Medical Insurance (IPMI).
While Roger was visiting the U.S., a 1200-pound horse he was riding fell on him! With his pelvis shattered, lung collapsed and ribs broken, Roger almost died. He spent extensive time in the hospital where he acquired various bolts, nuts, plates and screws, along with a $200,000 medical bill.
The good news is that Roger had IPMI. And when the insurer wrote a check for over $200,000, Roger was so impressed that he decided he could sell this product with conviction. He sought education, became a licensed broker in his home state, and was mentored into the business by experts with 20 years of experience. Roger now has almost a decade of experience providing expat insurance in Mexico and internationally.
What is international private medical insurance (IPMI)?
IPMI is a product offered to expats (people living outside of their home country) that enables you to be treated locally in Mexico, or to return home for treatment, including medical evacuation coverage.
Why buy IPMI?
Some reasons why you might want to consider IPMI include:
- You do not have a temporary or permanent resident visa (you are in Mexico temporarily on a tourist card, or FMM), and may not qualify for one of the other Mexican health insurance options discussed in this series.
- You are a part-time resident and spend part of the year in Mexico and part of the year in your home country and need coverage in both places.
- You travel internationally and want medical coverage wherever you go.
- You can’t afford hospitalization that could potentially cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.,
If any of these applies to you, then international medical insurance is an option you may want to consider.
How do I know an IPMI product is solid?
The soundness of the IPMI product can be evaluated based on the financial strength of the underwriter and the legal system of the country where the policy is based.
Why should I use a broker instead of buying direct?
Your broker is legally obligated to be on your side in any dispute, and can advise and assist you on the best way to satisfy information requirements of the insurance company if any claims adjudication is required. The important thing to know is that it does not cost you more to buy from a broker. Also, the best policy for your early years of retirement may not be the best for your later years of retirement, and your broker can advise you, help you make the transition and supply you with detailed information on your options.
Why not buy Travel Medical Insurance instead of IPMI?
Travel Medical insurance only covers accidents and emergencies; it doesn’t cover other health issues such as cancer or hip replacements, and it is not renewable. IPMI is guaranteed to be renewable and covers everything you would expect a medical insurance policy to cover. Also, IPMI it is not necessarily always more expensive than Travel Medical Insurance. A good broker can offer you the best options.
Why should I buy from a local expat broker living in Mexico?
A local broker who lives in Mexico can advise you on the best hospitals, can advise you when you get into a dispute with a hospital, make referrals to claims adjusters when you need to return home for medical treatment, or need any local help or assistance. If you buy from a broker back home, they will have no idea how to navigate local hospitals and medical treatment.
How do I find the right IPMI product?
There is a fair amount of confusion around the term “travel medical insurance,” which is really just travel insurance. When you search for “international medical insurance” you will get a long list of results, including web sites from insurance providers, travel insurers, from brokers masquerading as providers, insurance supermarkets, and even domestic insurance providers. There will be local Mexican sites and blogs (like this one!) offering some helpful information on the subject. For the consumer who doesn’t know how to navigate this world or the right questions to ask, it can be overwhelming. Don’t press that “Buy Now” button! Instead, find a good broker who can help you navigate the details and find the right policy for your individual needs.
To get more details on private international medical insurance options, contact Roger Anthony at:
Protex International Insurance Services
Call from U.S./Canada Toll Free 1-800-608-5743
Call from Mexico Toll Free 01-800-681-6730
Mexico Cell: 624-129-2179