iPMI USA: Inbound Individual Inpats – Local Health Insurance, Short Term Medical or iPMI?

In this iPMI Global Insights article, we speak with leaders from the international private medical insurance market and ask about individual inbound inpats health insurance coverage options. When thinking of the USA market, most target outbound expats, but after the collapse of compulsory health insurance inbound expats have a need. Do inbound individuals, who are not immigrants, seek local health insurance, short-term private medical insurance, iPMI or no cover?

Ross Walker, Cigna Healthcare: There are probably 2 critical questions from the customer’s lens: first, am I eligible for a domestic product, second does a domestic product give me what I need, or do I need a global solution?

Typically for those moving to the US, be it on a short-term basis or longer term, we see a growing demand for global individual solutions which offer access, affordability and quality at the global level. This affords an expat peace of mind that they have a product which can be used anywhere in the world, including back in their home country if the worst happened. There’s also a growing macro trend of those spending part of their year in a particular location and part of their time elsewhere. Global individual solutions are well suited to this sort of nomadic lifestyle.

Gitte Bach, New Frontier Group: In our experience, expats are generally coming for work or to study, and are typically coming with IPMI-like coverage. Additionally, some people will use short term travel insurance and extend to the policy maximums. Overall, the duration and nature of one’s stay in the US is a large factor, and students specifically will have a different experience. Most universities will offer their own insurance plans for students to buy, and students must do that or present their own proof of acceptable insurance. However, most people inbound to the US will use IPMI insurance if they have the means to do so, especially because it is simpler to navigate than local US insurance. It would be extremely unwise to travel to the US with no coverage.

Dan Tuman, Tuman Global Solutions: The main determinate on whether or what type of policy an inpat would buy is directly related to the reason and length of stay. If an inpat is travelling to the U.S. for less than 30 days, they may seek a policy from their home country. A length of stay between 30 days and up to a year, they may secure a travel policy provided by a U.S. carrier. If inpatriates are living in the U.S. for 6 months plus and are on a work visa, then their employer would normally add them to their existing group plan. An IPMI plan purchased overseas, may be acceptable if approved by the U.S. regulatory authorities.

David Capote, Trawick International: The type of coverage they seek may vary depending on the amount of time they will be residing in the USA, but there are expats that definitely will want to have IPMI, especially plans that offer them portability to other countries or back to their country of residence.

Janette Hiscock, UnitedHealthcare Global: Obviously, the United States has an expensive health system, so I think as companies consider coverage for expats, they need to select the type of plan based on the length and reason for a worker’s stay. International Private Medical Insurance (IPMI) policies are portable for travel back and forth from an employee’s home country, but it is important to ensure that the IPMI plan contracts with a U.S. network, or else discounted services might not be available. For instance, UnitedHealthcare Global has seamless access through our U.S. domestic network, which offers high-quality care plus meets our strict network and cost efficiency criteria.

Lourdes F. Peters, World of America: Very much so, not being able to get through the regular marketplace, the inbound traveller looks for coverage with companies that will provide them with the same IPMI coverage they are used to. The inbound expat cannot afford to be without coverage, they either have coverage that will allow them to stay in the USA for a certain period or they begin to shop around before leaving their country.

Related Reading: Managing iPMI Programs for Foreign Companies in the USA

Editors Note: The above answers are published alphabetically, by company name.

UnitedHealthcare Global

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iPMI Global is the leading business intelligence provider for international private medical, health, travel and expatriate insurance markets worldwide. Due to the nomadic nature of the international private medical insurance (IPMI) market, iPMI Global is an internet based news service for worldwide insurance and medical assistance professionals who need to understand the impacts of insurance and healthcare policy, regulatory, and legislative developments.

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