MEDICAL Insurance for LONG TERM Travel in 2021

We always knew that as full time travellers, MEDICAL insurance would present us with some headaches but we didn’t realise exactly HOW treacherous the path would end up being. We've written extensively before about the differences between Health Insurance and Travel Insurance and the various factors one should consider when evaluating your own specific requirements whilst on the road.


SafetyWing now offers global health insurance for remote workers and nomads, Here's our review with the Pros & Cons.


It is worth noting that there is no one right product or match for everyone! Each and every person’s requirements will differ and it is important to evaluate your own risks in order to find the most suitable solution for yourself.


WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN TRAVEL INSURANCE AND HEALTH INSURANCE?


The first thing you should understand is that "travel insurance" and "health insurance" are two different things. Travel insurance is important to have, but as a long-term traveller or nomad, it might not offer enough coverage on its own. Travel insurance generally only covers medical emergencies and things like trip cancellations and the loss or theft of personal items. It usually also only covers you for a predetermined amount of time. It’s therefore mostly suited for people on short term trips and holidays.


In its most basic form Travel insurance is often provided automatically and at no additional charge by many establishments such as your credit card provider or even a travel agent. It is, however, very often limited to only certain emergency medical treatment for your travel duration and need not actually include any other travel-related risks which you may think are included but you might have to actually purchase a 'top-up' for more comprehensive cover. This form of travel insurance is also more than often limited to a certain maximum trip duration (usually varying from 30 - 90 days) and may only be applicable if your trip is a return trip from and to your home country and the flight tickets have been purchased through the particular provider. Have a look at our post on Health Insurance and Travel Insurance for a breakdown of the major considerations.


Whether you travel full-time or part-time, by now you’ve probably heard of the two most popular nomad travel medical insurance options, World Nomads and SafetyWing.


LONG TERM TRAVEL INSURANCE AND HEALTH INSURANCE


Having longer-term medical insurance is extremely important for those who are planning to live abroad, travel long term or base themselves somewhere as a digital nomad. Finding the right insurance as a nomad isn’t always easy as some of them can be overpriced for what they offer, some won’t cover you if you’re already travelling, and if you have no home base it gets even more complicated.


In our article on TRAVEL INSURANCE for the Long Term Traveller , we wrote about the various options long-term travellers have and it comes down to the following:

  • Stay insured in your home country and get additional travel insurance.

  • Only get travel insurance and get check-ups done in a cheap country.

  • Get a health care plan abroad.

  • Get an international healthcare plan.


WHAT DO LONG-TERM TRAVELLERS NEED FROM INTERNATIONAL HEALTH CARE?


Apart from some practical aspects, (like the ability to renew or apply for a policy regardless of where you might find yourself in the world!), there are a few unfortunate limitations to consider.

  • What is the minimum or maximum policy term available?

  • Is cover in my home country included?

  • Will you be covered for coronavirus related illness?

SafetyWing recently launched a new product called Remote Health (Nomads). They describe it as "a comprehensive health insurance for traveling nomads and remote workers AND also for people who still stay in one spot as expats or are in their home country". This might just be the product we've been waiting for as a lot of 'ex-pat' type health products still do not provide proper cover for nomads. In comparison with their Nomad Insurance there might be some overlap but these are two very different products! For a breakdown of the Nomad Insurance have a look at our post on World Nomads vs SafetyWing | THE ULTIMATE TRAVEL INSURANCE COMPARISON as we the rest of this article will focus on the Remote Health product.


Remote Health goes (way) above and beyond travel medical insurance, which is only intended to cover unexpected medical emergencies and trip-related expenses gone awry. Instead, Remote Health is a full travel health insurance policy that covers both routine medical expenses as well as emergencies.

The SafteyWing Remote Health product is only available as an annual policy (as opposed to a monthly subscription), and renews each year without you having to reapply. You can choose to pay monthly (the plan length is one year and you commit to 12 payments), but a single annual payment will work out slightly cheaper.


WHAT DOES SAFETYWING REMOTE HEALTH OFFER YOU?


Here’s what the Remote Health Insurance policy covers:

  • Hospital charges, medical practitioner and specialists fees