International health insurance costs can vary greatly depending on your circumstance. Often it can be confusing to work out exactly where your money goes each month, and why your cost changes year on year.
There are many factors influencing the price of your premiums. The most common factors are:
There are two main reasons premiums go up each year:
The cost of medical treatment and tests increases all the time:
The medical world doesn’t stand still. Scientists develop new treatments and tests, create new medicines, and find new solutions for conditions that previously couldn’t be treated well.
Also, as new equipment and procedures become more available, doctors tend to use them more. In 1996, a cancer patient had on average 1 scan during their treatment. In 2016 they had 9 scans.
All of this is great news for patients, because doctors can treat more conditions more successfully. But it does increase what we must pay out for claims, and therefore your premiums.
Everyone tends to need more medical care as they get older:
Unfortunately, as we get older, we all tend to have more health issues and need more medical care, which is why high-quality health insurance becomes even more important. However, this does mean that all health insurers tend to increase premiums as people get older.
It’s also worth remembering that moving to other providers may cause your existing conditions to be excluded from cover.
If you find that one of our competitors is offering a lower price, it’s always worth checking the fine detail – or give us a call and we can go through this with you. You may find our competitor doesn’t cover the same things or has lower limits. We find that most of our customers value high-quality, broad coverage that will really help them when they need it, so – although we always price-check to make sure we’re competitive – we don’t cut our cover just to get our prices lower.
Travel insurance and international health insurance are very different. International health insurance is designed to give you peace of mind when you live in another country, or travel to different countries often. It covers your general health as well as medical emergencies. So, if you break your leg, and that’s covered by your plan, international health insurance won’t just get you stabilised until your home; it will cover you until your leg is healed.
With our global health plans, you get extra access to healthcare too. You can speak to a doctor, online or over the phone, 24/7. If you need support from a psychologist, you can access our Mind Health¹ service too.
You’ll be covered for hospital stays, ambulance transport, scans, surgery and cancer treatments. We’ll also get you to another country if you can’t get the treatment you need locally.
Here’s a little more about the differences between health insurance and travel insurance.
We want to make sure that people get access to medical help when they need it. We know that this may not happen if people worry that a claim will put their premium up, or lose them their no claims discount, as happens with car or home insurance.
So, to make sure that worrying about premium increases doesn’t put people off from getting the care they need, when they need it, we work out our costs using a ‘claims neutral’ approach. This means that the effect of claims is ‘smoothed out’ and a large claim won’t affect your premium as much.
This does mean that your premium may go up even if you haven’t claimed – but also means that if you do claim, you won’t be ‘punished’ with a big increase to your premium.
International health insurance covers different situations to local health insurance. For example, if you become ill or get injured and want to be treated in a different country, international health cover will get you there – which could otherwise cost you a lot of money. Local health insurance doesn’t usually cover that.
Local health insurance is usually designed for people who live and work in one country with a quality healthcare system, don’t travel much, and who wouldn’t want to be transported to a different country if they got sick or injured.
We know that international health insurance can seem expensive, but it does offer a greater range of cover than travel or local health insurance plans, as well as truly international service, such as experts to help you navigate local healthcare systems.
If you’re already with us, we also want you to keep your cover for any conditions that started after you joined us.
Talk to us about your different options for reducing your premium. We’ll be happy to help, for example by:
Our plans are designed to be flexible, so our experienced team will help you find the combination that matches your needs perfectly.
Europe is a large area with a lot of different healthcare systems – and we are a global company with 1.4 million medical providers² in our worldwide network. So, to be honest, it doesn’t make much difference to the cost of health insurance claims whether you’re being treated within Europe or further afield. So, if we did cut our cover to just Europe, it wouldn’t save money, but would limit your treatment choices significantly – you might even find you had to boost your cover with travel insurance or local healthcare insurance.
With international health insurance, your insurance travels with you throughout the year, wherever you happen to be. Have a look at how many providers you can access with your cover – we can pay all of these providers directly. And if you want to be treated in another country – even if you don’t live there – depending on the country we’ll get you there.
Our experts can help you navigate the local healthcare system regardless of whether you work in a country, are staying there for a while, or are just on holiday.
The only place that makes a big difference to the cost of healthcare is the US, due to the nature of the healthcare system there. That’s why you can choose whether you want to include the US or not.
Health insurance isn’t like car insurance, where moving insurer doesn’t disadvantage you. When you move health insurer, you may find your cover for existing conditions and conditions you’ve claimed for changes. That means that many people prefer to stay with their health insurer for longer, rather than changing every year. We therefore prioritise value for money over the longer term, rather than offering short-term discounts that can leave you with a nasty surprise increase when they run out.
We do make sure to price competitively – and when other companies appear to offer a cheaper price, we often find there are important differences in cover.
We review our cover every 6 months, actively monitoring the market to ensure our prices are competitive – but more importantly, that we are still offering high-quality, broad cover that meets people’s needs. We constantly adapt our cover to ensure we’re keeping pace with healthcare advances too.
We’ll be in touch before you renew to let you know your renewal price, explain any changes to your cover, and check that you’re happy to renew.
If you want to change anything about your cover, or you’ve changed your mind, give us a call at any time and we’ll if we can, change your plan to fit your needs better.
You can cancel your policy by writing or calling us within the first 14 days of receiving your membership pack. If you do this, you will receive a refund of the premium you have paid provided that no claims have been paid in that time. If you do not cancel within this time, your policy will continue so long as you continue to pay your premium.
After your cooling off period:
If you cancel during the year, we will not pay for any claim for treatment you were given after the date of cancellation.
As an AXA member, you can access a number of services whether you make a claim or not. We are here when you need us most.
Get fast access to expert medical care, from a routine check up to a lengthy hospital stay. With an international health insurance plan, you can rely on us to be there for you.
¹The Mind Health Service is provided by Teladoc Health
² Based on treatment providers in the AXA Select network worldwide, as of May 2023