Buyers Guide to Medical Insurance

Buyers Guide to Medical Insurance

The Insider's Guide to Choosing the Best International Medical Insurance Policy

Navigating the world of medical insurance can be overwhelming. At BrokerFish, we’re here to help and hence we wrote this “Buyers Guide to Medical Insurance”. This guide and our help section offers a wealth of resources to guide you through the buying process. It aims to help you understand the ins and outs of coverage, and find answers to your questions. Whether you’re a first-time buyer or a seasoned pro, we have the expertise and tools to help you make informed decisions and get the coverage you need.

1. The Insider's Guide To Finding and Buying The Perfect International Medical Insurance Policy

Welcome to “The Insider’s Guide To Finding and Buying The Perfect International Medical Insurance Policy”. This buyers guide to medical insurance is designed to help you find the best international health insurance policy to fit your unique needs and circumstances. Whether you are looking for your first policy, considering a switch, or simply want to learn more, our goal is to provide you with the critical knowledge to ensure that you can make an informed decision.

In this guide, we will explain what international health insurance is all about and answer some frequently asked questions. We will also outline the benefits of international medical insurance and help you avoid some common pitfalls that insurers may not necessarily highlight.

Unlike other resources that may promote specific policies or insurers, our focus is on educating you on how to find the best policy for your individual situation. By the end of this guide, you will have the knowledge to choose and purchase a policy that suits your needs. The aim is to ensure you get the best value for your money, and protect yourself against unpleasant surprises.

We hope that you find this guide insightful and useful in your quest to secure the perfect international medical insurance policy.

1.1. Who are our clients?

At BrokerFish, we specialize in providing international private medical insurance (IPMI) for a wide range of clients. Our policies are designed to meet the needs of expatriates, internationally mobile people, retirees, digital nomads, seafarers, professionals in industries such as oil and gas, engineering, consulting, embassy staff, internationally mobile teachers, and more.

Our clients are individuals and families who are living or working outside of their home country and need reliable medical coverage.
We understand that clients have unique needs, so we offer flexible options tailored to your specific situation.

Our policies provide coverage for people from over 200 different countries, regardless of age or nationality. We work with insurance companies that have partnerships with thousands of hospitals and hundreds of thousands of doctors worldwide, ensuring that you have access to quality healthcare wherever you are.

Whether you are a young professional working abroad or a retired couple living overseas, we can help you find the right IPMI policy that meets your specific needs and budget. Don’t let unexpected medical costs cause financial stress and uncertainty. Contact BrokerFish today and let us help you find the peace of mind you deserve.

1.2. Why Pay for International Medical Insurance (IPMI)?

International medical insurance is an investment in your future health and well-being. Many people are uncertain about the benefits of health insurance. Subscribing to an IPMI policy can provide you with peace of mind and a host of other advantages. Here are some reasons why you should consider purchasing an IPMI policy:

Reduce financial risk

Serious illness or injury can result in out-of-pocket medical expenses that can be devastating. A good IPMI policy protects you from the financial risks associated with healthcare.



Worry less

In the event of a medical emergency, you won’t have to rely on state health systems or the goodwill of family and friends. Your IPMI policy ensures you are covered and have access to high-quality care.



Receive World Class treatment

IPMI policies provide access to some of the best medical professionals and facilities in the world. You can rest assured that you’ll receive top-quality care, no matter where you are in the world.

Be healthier

Many IPMI policies include regular health check-ups as part of the package. This means that you’ll be able to identify and address health issues before they become serious, allowing you to stay healthy and active for longer.
By choosing to invest in an IPMI policy, you’ll be taking an important step towards safeguarding your health and ensuring your financial security.

"Is International Private Medical Insurance (IPMI) Too Expensive?"

“Many prospective clients may believe that international private medical insurance (IPMI) is too expensive. While true in some instances it is certainly not always the case. At BrokerFish, we strive to provide clients with affordable IPMI coverage that meets their specific needs and budget.

We work with our clients to review the market, suggest appropriate insurance providers, and help them select the right area of coverage and plan level. Our team also assists clients in determining the appropriate co-payment and deductible levels, which can significantly impact the overall cost of their IPMI coverage.

It’s crucial to understand that not having IPMI can be much more costly. Without insurance, a major medical emergency or illness could result in significant out-of-pocket expenses, leading to financial ruin. By obtaining IPMI, clients can protect themselves from these types of financial risks and guarantee access to high-quality medical care when they need it most.

At BrokerFish, we focus on educating clients about IPMI and providing them with the knowledge they need to find the best policy for their unique circumstances. Our personalized approach helps clients select an insurance plan that not only fits their budget but also provides adequate coverage to meet their healthcare needs.

In addition, we aim to establish ourselves as a reliable and helpful resource for those seeking information about IPMI.”

2. What is International Private Medical Insurance (IPMI) and How Does it Work?

2.1. Here are some key features of our IPMI plans:

International Private Medical Insurance (IPMI) provides peace of mind for expats who want to ensure they have access to quality private medical treatment while living abroad or traveling. At BrokerFish, we understand that everyone’s needs are unique and maybe you prefer to use a broker or agent or possibly just use this “Medical Insurance Purchasing Guide”. That’s why we tailor flexible IPMI options to fit your specific lifestyle, from basic emergency coverage to plans that include hazardous sports coverage.

Flexible Options

We offer IPMI plans with a range of options that you can customize to fit your budget and specific needs. We’ll work with you to find a plan that works for you, whether you’re looking for basic coverage or a comprehensive plan that includes maternity coverage and more.

Mobile Coverage

Our IPMI policies provide coverage for people from over 200 different countries, so you can travel with peace of mind. Whether you’re moving to a new country or just taking a trip, our plans have you covered.

Provider Network

We work with insurance companies that have partnerships with thousands of hospitals and hundreds of thousands of doctors worldwide. This ensures that you have access to quality healthcare wherever you are, and you can easily find a provider within our network.

Cashless Settlement

We make the claims process easy by arranging for direct billing with major hospitals. This means you don’t need to pay out of pocket and then reclaim the cost of your treatment. With our cashless settlement process, you can focus on getting better instead of worrying about paperwork.

At BrokerFish, we are dedicated to assisting you in discovering an IPMI plan that suits your needs. Our team of experts will guide you through the process and provide personalized recommendations to ensure that you get the coverage you need. Contact us today to get started!

2.2. What are the typical benefit options of IHI policies?


The most basic form of international health cover, Inpatient refers to treatment received in a hospital where an overnight stay is necessary


Outpatient refers to treatment provided in the practice or surgery of a medical practitioner, therapist or specialist and does not require the patient to be admitted to hospital.


Provides cover for medical costs incurred during pregnancy and childbirth, including hospital charges, specialist fees, pre and postnatal care, midwife fees as well as newborn care.


Routine dental includes an annual dental check-up, simple fillings related to cavities or decay, and root canal treatment. Complex dental includes gum disease treatment, orthodontics, and dental prostheses.


Encourages good health through early detection of serious illnesses through routine health checks. Includes things like cancer screening, vital signs tests, and cardiovascular system testing.


Refers to immunizations and booster injections in addition to the cost of consultation for administering the vaccine.

Long-term care

Care for people who suffer from chronic illness or disabilities and who cannot care for themselves for long periods of time.


Optical benefits includes things like laser eye surgery, eye tests, spectacle lenses, and contact lenses.


Evacuation covers you for transport costs to the nearest suitable medical center when the treatment you need is not available nearby.


Repatriation allows you the added benefit of returning to your home country to be treated in familiar surroundings.

IPMI policies offer a range of benefit options, and the coverage and cost will depend on factors such as age, health status, and desired level of coverage.

2.3. Need-to-know insurance jargon


The money you pay to the insurance company. Premiums are paid monthly, quarterly, semi- annually or annually.

Lifetime Maximum

The “Lifetime Maximum” is a cap on how much the insurance company will pay for your claims over the total duration of your policy.

Deductible / Excess

The amount of money that you must pay before the insurance company will start paying for medical expenses. They can be per incident, per insurance period or per year and applies separately to each person insured by the policy. Not all policies require a deductible, but choosing a policy with a higher deductible will lower your premium.


Refers to the amount of money you must pay for covered medical services or treatment. In the table of benefits, you may see something like: “Dental – 20% Co- Insurance”. This means that you must share the cost of dental treatment costs with the Insurer where you will pay 20% of the bill and the Insurer will pay the remaining 80%.

Moratorium Cover

Sometimes, pre-existing conditions are initially excluded, but can be covered after a set time (the moratorium cover period), provided you’ve not suffered any symptoms or needed any medical advice or treatment relating to the condition.

Policy Wording

The policy wording is the legal description of the insurance policy and explains the full terms and conditions of the coverage provided, including all applicable exclusions, conditions and limitations of cover.

Pre-Existing Condition

A pre-existing condition is a health condition that existed before the start date of your insurance policy. Some insurance policies may exclude coverage for pre-existing conditions, while others may provide coverage after a certain period of time.

Out-of-Pocket Maximum

The maximum amount of money you will have to pay for covered medical expenses in a policy year. Once you reach this limit, the insurance company will cover the remaining costs.

Waiting Period

A waiting period is a set period of time that must pass before certain benefits under an insurance policy become available. This is common for certain types of coverage, such as maternity or pre-existing conditions.

Medical underwriting

A process used by insurance companies to assess the risk and health status of individuals who apply for insurance coverage and thus applying any potential exclusions or special conditions to the policy.

Network Provider

A healthcare provider or facility that has an agreement with the insurance company to provide medical services at a discounted rate to policyholders.


A request for payment from the insurance company for medical expenses incurred by the policyholder. Claims may be submitted by the policyholder or the healthcare provider on their behalf.

“I have more jargon questions. Where can I find more definitions?"

“Refer to the BrokerFish FAQ section, glossary and common exclusion sections for jargon-busting definitions and explanations on over 300 international medical insurance terms.”

2.4. Who Can Purchase International Private Medical Insurance (IPMI)?

IPMI policies target individuals and families residing or traveling abroad. Expatriates of all nationalities, including professionals, students, teachers, diplomats, and retired couples, are typical buyers of IPMI. Age restrictions may apply, depending on the policy in question, but some providers will insure people as old as 120! Regardless of your age or nationality, there is usually an IPMI policy available to suit your needs.

At BrokerFish, we can help you find an IPMI plan that works for you, with the features and benefits that matter most. Get in touch with us today to begin. Our team of experts can provide you with the guidance you need to make an informed decision, while our online platform makes it easy to compare plans and find the best value for your money.

2.5. IPMI for Local Nationals and Residents

In the past, international private medical insurance (IPMI) policies were only available to expatriates, those living and working outside of their home country. However, in recent years, some insurance providers have begun to offer IPMI policies to local nationals and residents.

This means that if you are a local national or resident of a country, you can still purchase an IPMI policy to access high-quality healthcare in your home country or abroad. This can be especially useful if you are looking for coverage that includes specialist treatments or access to private hospitals and medical facilities.

There are several reasons why individuals may choose to purchase an IPMI policy as a local national or resident. For instance, you might seek the peace of mind that comes with having access to high-quality healthcare. Similarly, you might be drawn to the additional benefits commonly found in IPMI policies. Such benefits might be wellness programs or emergency medical evacuation.

Which insurers will accept local nationals?

It’s important to note that the availability of IPMI policies for local nationals and residents can vary depending on the insurance provider and the country in which you reside. Some insurance providers may require that you have a certain level of income or meet other eligibility criteria in order to qualify for coverage.
If you’re considering purchasing an IPMI policy as a local national or resident, it’s crucial to conduct research and compare options to identify the policy that aligns best with your needs and budget. A broker can be especially helpful in guiding you through the process and providing independent advice on the available options. Most times insurers do not advertise and list publicly which local nationals they may accept and it is therefore many times advisable to speak to a broker.

3. How to Buy International Private Medical Insurance

When it comes to purchasing IPMI, you have a few options: buying directly from an insurer, going through an agent, or using a broker and we hope this Guide to Buying Health Insurance can help you decide what is right for you.

Directly from an Insurer

Purchasing directly from an insurer limits your advice to their specific range of products. You may miss out on buying a more suitable plan, and you will not receive any independent help if you encounter any issues with claims or service.

Through an Agent

Agents can provide more options than going direct to one insurer. However, agents are usually affiliated with a limited number of providers, restricting their ability to advise on a broader range of products.

Using a Broker

Brokers offer unbiased guidance and information on a wide range of IPMI options. They can also serve as advocates if you have any issues with claims or service. As an added benefit, using a broker can save you time and money by helping you find the most suitable policy for your needs. Brokers never charge for their services and can sometimes offer discounted plans not available directly from an insurer or an Agent.

3.1. How Insurance Companies Determine Your Premium

When you apply for international private medical insurance (IPMI), the insurance company considers several factors to determine your premium. These factors can include your age, the level of benefits you choose, your deductible or excess, your country of residency, the frequency of payment, and the area of coverage. Other variables such as your medical history and current health status are also taken into account.

Insurance companies use statistical models and actuarial tables to predict the likelihood of a claim being made, and this information is used to determine your premium. For example, older individuals may be charged a higher premium due to an increased likelihood of requiring medical treatment. Similarly, those with pre-existing conditions may be subject to higher premiums or exclusions from coverage.

Buyers Guide to Medical Insurance - How insurance companies determinate your premium?

In addition to these factors, insurance companies may also consider other variables such as lifestyle habits, occupation, and whether or not you engage in high-risk activities. All these factors contribute to determining the premium for your IPMI policy.

By taking these factors into consideration, insurance companies can calculate a premium that reflects your individual circumstances. While this can result in higher premiums for some individuals, it also ensures that you have sufficient coverage in the event of a medical emergency.

If you have questions about how your premium is calculated, reach out to your insurance broker or provider for detailed information.

3.2. Can I save money if I buy direct from the insurance company?

It might be tempting to think that you can save money by going directly to an insurance company to purchase your international private medical insurance (IPMI) policy, but in reality, this is not the case. Insurance companies actually work with brokers to market their products, and they will typically not offer discounts to customers who go to them directly.

On the other hand, using a broker to purchase your IPMI policy can actually help you save money. Brokers have access to a wide range of insurance plans and can compare them to find the best options for your specific needs and budget. They can also negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf to secure the most competitive prices.

In addition to potential cost savings, using a broker can also provide you with valuable support throughout the entire process of selecting and purchasing your IPMI policy. Brokers can offer independent advice, answer your questions, and provide ongoing support in case you need to make a claim or have any other issues with your policy.

Overall, working with a broker can be a smart way to save money and ensure that you get the best possible IPMI policy for your needs.

“So if it doesn’t cost me anything, then how do you make money...”

“Brokers receive a commission from the insurance company for selling their policies. The commission usually constitutes a percentage of the premium paid by the customer. However, the commission does not increase the price of the policy for the customer. The insurance company pays the commission to the broker as a way to compensate them for their work in finding and placing the policy with the customer. By working with a broker, customers can benefit from their expertise and guidance in selecting the most suitable policy for their needs, without incurring any additional costs”

4. Choosing the Right IPMI Policy: "A Buyers Guide to Medical Insurance" and Finding the Perfect Coverage for You!

When it comes to protecting your health while living abroad, an international private medical insurance (IPMI) policy is a vital consideration. With numerous options available, determining the best-suited policy for your needs can be challenging.

At BrokerFish, we understand that navigating the world of IPMI policies can be confusing. That’s why we’ve created this section to guide you through the process. Our goal is to provide you with the knowledge and resources you need to make an informed decision about your health insurance, hence we created this Medical Insurance Purchasing Guide.

As you read through this section, we will address crucial factors for selecting an IPMI policy, such as identifying key benefits, asking pertinent questions to your provider, and avoiding common mistakes. By the end of this section, you will have the tools to confidently choose the right IPMI policy for your unique needs.

Our hope is that this section will not only be informative but also serve as a valuable resource for you. Let’s start!

4.1. Step 1 - Determine Your Needs and Priorities

The first step in finding the best medical insurance policy is to consider your needs and priorities. Start by making a list of your priorities and what you need your policy to cover. This will help you determine what kind of coverage is necessary and what you can do without.

Consider who needs to be covered by the policy, and whether you require coverage in certain regions such as the US or Canada. Take into account your health and lifestyle, including any pre-existing or chronic conditions you may have. Be honest with yourself about how much you spent on healthcare last year and how often you visit the doctor.

Lastly, consider your budget and whether you want to pay monthly or annually. You may be able to lower your premium by choosing a policy with a high deductible or coinsurance. By taking these factors into consideration, you can ensure that you choose a policy that meets your specific needs and priorities.

This step is crucial in finding the right insurance policy for you, as it lays the groundwork for the type of coverage you require. Take the time to thoroughly consider your priorities and needs before moving on to the next step.

4.2. Step 2 - Select a Suitable Level of Cover

Choosing the right level of medical insurance cover is essential to ensure you have the coverage you need. Most insurers typically offer three levels of cover: standard, intermediate, and comprehensive. Each level of coverage provides a different level of protection and the choice you make will depend on your specific needs.

Standard Cover:

This budget-friendly level of cover includes in-patient care only, encompassing emergency care, diagnosis, and nursing costs for overnight hospital stays. Some standard policies may also cover day-patient treatment.

Intermediate Cover:

This level of cover includes everything in standard cover and also provides out-patient cover. Out-patient treatment does not require an overnight stay or supervised recovery period. It may also offer higher plan limits than standard plans.

Comprehensive Cover:

This is the top-tier policy and provides the highest level of cover with the highest plan limits. In addition to in-patient and out-patient care, it may include maternity, dental, and optical cover.

Additional Modules:

Some insurers offer extra modules that can be added to the policy for travel insurance or personal accident expenses.

Policy Options:

You can also customize your policy by choosing policy options such as excess/deductible, co-pay for benefits, hospital accommodation, and hospital-network access.

Excess / Deductible:

This is the amount of money you pay before the insurance company starts paying for medical expenses. Choosing a policy with a higher deductible will lower your premium.


Refers to the shared amount of money that you are obligated to pay for covered medical services/treatment. This is less common than having and excess but as premiums go up it will be used by more and more insurers as a way to keep premiums down. Usually when having both co-insurance and an excess/deductible the insurer will also have a choice of out of pocket maximums. This is very common in American style health insurance packages and will most likely make its way into both international and local markets.

Your medical history:

In general a medical insurance policy would exclude any pre-existing conditions. However, not all insurers are the same. Some insurers may offer to cover certain conditions, especially if they are stable, with or without a loading but it depends on the  specific condition. Working with a broker is often helpful as brokers know which insurers to approach regarding certain conditions and who would usually exclude or possibly decline cover altogether. Sometimes it is also important to know what type of underwriting you select. If you have, for example, suffered cancer 7 years ago and last time you had symptoms, was given advise or medications was 3 years ago the preferred choice could be Moratorium underwriting. To ensure it is the correct option some insurers may offer you to complete a medical questionnaire although moratorium terms usually do not include answering any medical questions.

4.3. Step 3 - Find the Best Policy with the Help of a Specialist

Now that you have a clear idea of your insurance needs, it’s time to start looking for the most suitable policy. This is where the services of a good insurance broker or agent can be really helpful.

A knowledgeable specialist can save you time and effort by providing you with a selection of international private medical insurance (IPMI) policies that meet your requirements. They may even suggest policies from insurance companies that you were not aware of.

Additionally, an insurance expert can review your specific circumstances to ensure you’ve not overlooked anything important and can point out any potential shortcomings in the plans you’re considering.

You can take advantage of the services of a specialist such as BrokerFish, either by using our comparison tool or seeking advice from our insurance experts. We can provide you with a selection of the most suitable plans, clearly laid out for easy comparison.

By working with a specialist, you can be confident that you are making an informed decision when choosing a medical insurance policy that meets your needs. This can save you time, money and give you peace of mind.

4.4. Step 4 - Submitting Your Application and Receiving a Response

Once you have selected the insurance policy that meets your needs, it’s time to submit an application to the insurance company. This can often be done online, , but sometimes requires a paper application form. It’s important to note that submitting an application does not guarantee automatic approval.

Instead, the insurance company will typically conduct an “underwriting” process to assess your case and determine if you are insurable according to their risk policy. If necessary, a broker such as BrokerFish can assist you in completing the application at no additional cost.

After a few days to a few weeks, you will receive one of the following responses from the insurance company:

“You’re approved!”

This means that your application has been accepted, and your coverage will begin on the “effective date” confirmed by the insurer.

“You’re approved, with conditions.”

In this case, the insurance company may offer you coverage but with limited benefits for specific conditions based on your medical history. Alternatively, they may agree to cover certain conditions but at a higher premium.

“More information is required.”

Sometimes, the insurer will request additional information or medical records from your doctor before making a final decision on your application.

“Your application is denied.”

Although rare, some applications are denied. If this happens, there may be an opportunity to appeal the decision. If not, we can assist you in applying to a different insurance company or recommending alternative healthcare solutions.

It’s important to note that the approval process may take some time, and it’s best to be patient while awaiting a response from the insurer. With the assistance of a specialist, you can navigate this process with confidence and ensure that you obtain the best possible insurance coverage for your needs.

4.5. Receiving Your Membership Pack and Enjoying Coverage!

Congratulations, now that your application has been accepted and you have received approval from the insurer, you are now officially covered under your new medical insurance policy. In order to fully utilize your benefits, it’s important to understand what is included in your membership pack.

The insurance company will provide you with a membership pack, which can be either paper or digital, and can be posted or downloaded from a website or app. The membership pack will typically include the following:

» Your Membership Card
» The Insurance Certificate(s)
» A Table of Benefits outlining the benefits you are entitled to and their limitations
» Medical provider network documentation
» A Membership Guide or policy wording outlining the terms and conditions of your policy
» A Treatment Guarantee Form
» A Claim Form or online process for submitting claims

It is important to register with the insurer and download proof of coverage, which you should always carry with you. It’s also recommended that you provide details of your insurance coverage to all covered family members, a close relative, or a friend in case of an emergency where you or your family members are unable to communicate.

We hope this guide has been helpful in finding the perfect coverage for you, your family, or your company. If you have any questions or require further assistance, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. With the right coverage, you can have peace of mind knowing that you are protected in the event of any unforeseen medical issues.