Chelsey Tucker graduated with a Bachelor of History degree from Metropolitan State University in 2019. She now writes about insurance with her specialty being life insurance and has been quoted on Help Smart Phone and MEL Magazine.

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years. He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Dec 1, 2021

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The Lowdown

  • You can buy international health insurance from several companies
  • Medicare recipients may have some global health insurance coverage, based on their plans
  • Cigna and GeoBlue offer unlimited lifetime medical coverage with specific international health insurance plans

Do you need international health insurance? Depending on the country you plan to visit, plus the level of coverage your regular health insurance offers, you might need extra coverage during your travels.

In many cases, your regular health insurance policy will not provide you with coverage while you are abroad. You may need to purchase a separate policy from a health insurance company in the country you plan to visit or elsewhere.

Read on to learn more about international health insurance, including the average costs for global health plans. If you would like to see health insurance rates for top companies in your area right now, enter your ZIP code into our free quote tool above.

How does international health insurance work?

International health insurance works much like your regular health insurance, with a few caveats.

Like regular health insurance, you can cover yourself and a limited number of family members with an international health insurance plan. However, you can likely only add children under a certain age (usually 16) to your policy free of charge.

Also, depending on the country you plan to visit, the type of health issue you have while abroad, and the type of insurance you purchase, you can have limited or comprehensive coverage.

Additionally, your short-term international health insurance plan might serve as your primary form of insurance if your regular health insurance is out-of-network. Long-term international health insurance will likely be your primary insurance source regardless.

All international insurance plans should have medical evacuation coverage. You may need medivac insurance if you stay in a remote area or an area without adequate medical services. That insurance can save you money should you need a medivac, which may cost more than $100,000.

Keep in mind that you will likely be responsible for out-of-pocket costs regardless of the level of coverage you have. Many countries require you to pay cash upfront to use some medical services. That can include COVID-19 tests you are required to take upon your arrival and before departure.

And if your regular health insurance company does cover you abroad, you may still have to pay cash for service in some countries. Since that service is considered out-of-network, extra charges apply.

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How can you buy international health insurance?

Depending on your regular health insurance company, some of your basic coverage might carry over to the country you are visiting. Some insurance companies act as brokers for global health insurance companies. A few others may have a network that extends into partner countries.

Alternatively, you can purchase travel health insurance through your travel insurance company. However, you might want to consider purchasing a complete package that includes trip cancellation, trip interruption, and medical evacuation insurance coverage.

(Trip cancellation and trip interruption coverage may help you if you or someone traveling with you experiences a medical issue before or during the trip.)

Other than that, you can find affordable international health insurance through the following methods:

  • Supplemental or complete coverage from an international health insurance company or large domestic company
  • Extended coverage from your credit card company
  • Extra coverage from a Medicare Advantage or Medigap partner

Keep in mind that Original Medicare (Parts A and B) does not offer international medical coverage. Also, Medigap Plans C, D, F, G, M, and N will cover up to 80% of your foreign emergency medical travel expenses.

How much does international health insurance generally cost?

Your international health insurance rates might total about 10% of your travel expenses. Of course, the cost of insurance depends on several factors, like pre-existing conditions and your age.

According to Consumer Reports, if you are a 35-year-old traveler who wants to purchase a $1 million health insurance plan with a $0 deductible, that might cost you $15 per week.

You may pay around $200 to $600 per week as a senior with a similar insurance plan. However, the added costs might come from any pre-existing conditions you have, plus add-ons like cancellation coverage.

Additionally, your rates may vary based on the length of your trip and the company you choose. Next, we will look at some of the best international health insurance companies. We include the costs of most of the plans we listed.

Which companies offer the best international health insurance?

Here are the top international health insurance companies:

Top 10 International Health Insurance Plans

CompanyName of PlanMaximum Lifetime or Annual Benefit LimitMaximum DeductibleCoinsurance LimitPre-Existing Conditions CoverageCOVID-19 InsuranceAverage Monthly Rates for a Single Person
Aetna InternationalMobile Healthcare Plan Exclusive$4 millionStarts at $0$1,000Not specifiedTesting and treatment$420
April InternationalMyHealth Premium$6 million$5,000Up to 20%YesTreatmentUnavailable
AXA Assistance USAPlatinum Plan$1.5 millionNo deductiblesNot specifiedYesNot specified$383
Bupa GlobalElite Global Health Plan$5.1 million$8,364.13Not specifiedYesTesting and treatment$142.30
Cigna GlobalPlatinumUnlimitedUp to $10,000Up to 30%YesTesting and treatment$350
GeoBlue GlobalXplorer PremierUnlimited (Lifetime)Set by “Eligible Participant”Set by “Eligible Participant”YesTesting and treatment$581
International Medical Group, Inc.Global Medical Insurance$5 million (Lifetime)$25,00020% (U.S. out-of-network)YesTesting and treatment$188.33 (With a $10,000 deductible)
Now Health InternationalWorldCare Apex$4.5 million$15,000Not specifiedYesTreatment$600.18
Seven CornersLiaison Travel Plus Medical Insurance$5 million$5,000Up to 30%YesTreatment (Up to $100,000)$1,695.59 (with a $250 deductible)
USI Affinity Travel Insurance ServicesWorldMed InsuranceUp to $2 millionUp to $2,5000Not specifiedYesTesting and treatment$419.50
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From this group, the comprehensive plans from Cigna, GeoBlue, and April International stand out.

  • April International’s MyHealth Premium plan offers the highest specific dollar amount for lifetime coverage ($6 million).
  • Cigna and GeoBlue’s top plans have unlimited lifetime coverage.
  • April International and GeoBlue’s plans offer ex-pat health insurance coverage.

All these travel medical insurance plans provide some coverage for COVID-19 treatment, but Cigna and GeoBlue expressly offer COVID-19 testing, as well.

Besides these three, the other companies offer temporary health insurance, plus 364-day health insurance plans.

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International Health Insurance: Some Tips for Traveling Abroad

Before you go on your trip, there are a few things you need to do on the medical front.

Do Some Research

First, do some research about the country you plan to visit to help gauge how much your out-of-pocket expenses for international healthcare might be. Find out how much medical coverage the nation offers to visitors and if it is a location without modern medical services.

Inquire About Your Coverage

Second, find out whether your regular health insurance company offers coverage for international travel, or you need to purchase additional coverage before you travel.

  • Ask your international health insurance company about exclusions for injuries caused by terrorist attacks, acts of war, natural disasters, high-risk activities like ziplining, and pre-existing conditions.
  • Ask your international health insurance company if it requires preauthorization for various medical services.
  • Inquire about deductibles, copays, coverage limits, and out-of-network policies.

Also, make sure to buy an international health insurance policy that will cover you for the duration of your stay.

  • If you are only staying for a month, for example, you need a short-term, affordable international health insurance policy.
  • A year-long stay or multiple trips per year will require a plan the lasts that long and gives you the option to renew every 364 days.
  • If you are staying abroad indefinitely, you may need ex-pat health insurance.

Additionally, many of the plans we mentioned here offer other benefits, like dental, vision, and maternity care. In most cases, you will need to add that coverage if you need it.

Of course, get some international health insurance quotes along the way.

Take Extra Precautions

Besides buying insurance, make sure that you take extra precautions if you have special medical conditions. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that you carry enough prescribed medicines to last for your trip and wear a MedicAlert bracelet if you need it.

We hope that this information about international health insurance has helped you prepare for your trip. If you need to see rates from top health insurance companies near you, enter your ZIP code into our free quote tool below.