Moving abroad is full of decisions that need to be made by both the soon to be expatriate and in many cases with consultation of their employer too. Having proper International medical insurance is just about always part of the moving abroad equation. But as we all know this comes at a cost and cost is in many cases the primary factor that is considered during the process of selection. If you are an American outbound from the United States one major consideration is whether or not you select a medical plan that includes coverage within the United States and her territories. For some their adventures may not include time back in the states while others will spend up to many month at home while still living abroad.
Choosing a plan that includes coverage in the U.S. is an important consideration and for many this decision is generally made at the time of application. However, there are always those that will need to make frequent trips throughout the year to the U.S. for short periods of time. Do they buy a plan that includes the high cost of adding full-time U.S. Cover or go without? Until recently the options were very much black and white – you either add the U.S. Cover or you don’t. And, if you go without it what options are available for those times you need or want to return home for a short visit? An inbound short term travel medical plan has been the only option and if you have medical needs while you are in country the claims process can be a bit disturbing. After all these plans are nothing more than promises to pay should the need for care arise and with some insurers, mostly offshore ones they can throw some hurdles your way during the claims process.
As Americans we are blessed in that we have one of the best expatriate medical insurers to choose coverage from. GeoBlue, a U.S. based insurer backed by the Power of Blue Cross and Blue Shield has finally offer up a solution for their members. The very high cost of adding full medical coverage within the United States and her territories in the past has simply left people opting out of upgraded coverage thus leaving them with no U.S. Coverage at all unless they seek other short term options for inbound trips. The GeoBlue Essential plan is their flagship expatriate medical plan that provides global coverage MINUS the U.S.
The Essential plan is selected mostly by those moving abroad with little need for the coverage within the United States. The cost for the Essential plan coverage is considerably less too and this is one of the major driving factors in people choosing this plan choice. GeoBlue has recognized the need for most Americans to visit their home country for various reason with most of these trips home being short in nature. To answer this need GeoBlue has just introduced the NEW BASIC Coverage Option that is an optional benefit that provides peace of mind for members temporarily visiting the United States.
If you think you may be visiting the U.S. a few times a year and want the peace of mind of being covered by a trusted brand, you now have a choice. The BASIC Coverage is an optional upgrade to the Essential plan that you can add at plan issue or renewal. The Basic Option provides access to healthcare services and prescriptions related to emergency medical care, illness and accidental injuries when temporarily visiting the U.S.
Basic U.S. benefits rider options include:
- Inpatient hospital charges
- Physician’s office visit services
- Hospital emergency room and ambulance
- Outpatient professional services (radiology, pathology and ER physician)
- Urgent care facility charges
- X-ray and/or labs
- Prescription drugs related to the accident, illness or medical emergency
Coverage is limited to a calendar year combined maximum of 3 trips of 21 days for each trip. For an individual, the medical deductible allotted per calendar year is whichever is the greater amount – either $1,000 or 2 times the deductible amount shown in your certificate. The family maximum is 2.5 times the individual deductible.
How is the new benefits rider different from the comprehensive coverage supplied by the Xplorer Premier plan?
While the coverage may be different, both GeoBlue Xplorer plans are backed by the trusted Blue Cross and Blue Shield network while in the U.S. The Xplorer Premier plan continues to provide the highest level of coverage for expats with an unlimited medical maximum inside and outside the U.S and the unique ability to travel to the U.S. with the intent of seeking care. In comparison, the Xplorer Essential with Basic U.S. Benefits is expressly intended to provide temporary medical coverage for illnesses or medical emergencies that may occur while a member is travelling temporarily in the U.S. This optional benefits upgrade has a maximum medical benefit of $1,000,000 inside the U.S. Temporary visits to the U.S. are limited to a combined maximum of 3 trips per calendar year with a maximum trip length of 21 days for each trip.