Updated – January 25, 2020
In the UK, Canada and a few other countries, health insurance is a luxury. For many expats in developing countries, in comparison, health insurance is a necessary evil.
It is a way of protecting wealth, and avoiding losses from huge unexpected healthcare bills.
With that being said, health insurance isn’t an investment. You don’t get rewarded by investing more. Therefore, you should get the most covered, for the least possible cost.
Countless of my clients have needed to withdraw money from financial accounts, to cover unexpected medical emergencies.
Today I will review one of the most up-and-coming health insurers in the market; Regency for Expats, and tell you how to apply for discounts through me.
Who are Regency for expats?
They are an insurance company that focuses on health and life insurance for expats in particular. They have an office in Dubai and numerous other countries.
Where are Regency for Expats sold?
Worldwide, but typically in parts of the world with high concentrations of expats. Examples include Singapore, Thailand, Dubai, Qatar, Abu Dhabi, Vietnam, China, Hong Kong, Peru, Argentina, Brazil and numerous countries in Latin American.
What are the positives about Regency for Expats?
There are countless positives about the policies including;
- Low premiums relative to benefits
- They can accept people with pre-existing conditions, but they don’t cover those conditions. For instance, if you had a heart attack before, you can still get covered, but you won’t get repaid if you have a heart problem.
- Great record in terms of paying out claims and accepting people quickly.
- No need to go for medical exams for health or life insurance.
- The application process is easy and straightforward. Usually takes 24-72 hours.
- 24-hour multi-lingual support
- Countless packages are available. So you can get basic coverage, which includes outpatient, and the cheaper packages that just include impatient.
- Policies can be transferred worldwide, if you move country, with the exception of the USA
What are the negatives about Regency Insurance?
- You can’t get covered after 70 years old unless you are an existing client.
- You can’t get covered for pre-existing conditions. You will get accepted, but the coverage will exclude those conditions. That shouldn’t affect claims for other illnesses, however.
- You don’t need to have a medical examination for life insurance below $350,000, however, you do for larger amounts.
- You can’t have a lower premium in return for a high deductible or co-pay. This is unlike some other insurance companies that allow you to have a lower premium, in return for paying thousands out of your own pocket.
Do you offer insurance?
My main service is financial services, however, I do help expat clients with financial planning more generally. That includes health and life insurance.
Can you offer any discounts?
Yes, often it is possible for me to provide discounts, making it cheaper than the prices you may receive online.
Can locals buy expat level leverage?
Yes, locals can usually buy
Are there discounts for larger groups?
Yes, there are. There aren’t discounts for families of say 3-4 people, though. So the discounts are usually for group coverage.
What is the process like for claiming?
Pre-authorization can be obtained via your broker and Regency for Expats. Therefore, Regency can speak directly with the healthcare provider, which means you don’t need to pay out of pocket.
The forms are very easy to fill out, and look like this.
It is good to have an excellent relationship with your broker, so he or she can also help you with any additional questions and help with claiming, although Regency are very quick in replying to customers.
How about in emergency situations though?
In some situations, you can’t get pre-authorization. For example, you have a heart attack or stroke.
In this case, you will need to notify Regency for Expats or your broker, as soon as possible, so bills can be paid.
Do the plans cover dental?
Yes, they do, on the two most expensive plans. Often times, however, the standard plans offer better value for money.
Paying out of pocket for dental, is usually cheaper than going for a comprehensive package.
What if I move countries?
You can relocate anywhere in the world, except the United States of America, and your coverage will still be applicable.
If I want to upgrade or downgrade my policy in subsequent years, is this easy to do?
Very easy. It can be done upon renewal of the policy.
Can I pick which hospitals and doctors treat me?
Yes you can. Again, the United States of America is an exception.
How about for American expats?
American expats and their families, can take out the policies, whilst they remain overseas.
What about terrorism coverage?
Terrorism is covered, on all plans, including the cheapest ones. That is assuming that the condition you are being treated for, is covered, and that depends on which plan you pick.
Is there a usage limit, per category?
Yes, as per the benefits schedule, each category has a limit. These are yearly limits, unless stated otherwise.
Does this cover traveling?
Yes, you can get treatment anywhere, apart from in the US. So if you get sick whilst you travel, you will be entitled to coverage, even though this isn’t “travel insurance” per see.
How about evacuation benefits?
If you want to add evacuation, this is an extra $250 per year, per year. This only makes sense in countries without great medical facilities.
Many people in Cambodia and Burma/Myanmar, decide to add this feature.
Does it get more expensive as you age?
In general, your insurance premiums increase as you age, for obvious reasons. However, there are some low claims discounts, on renewal.
Due to medical inflation, the plans can get more expensive due to normal increases over time.
This is typical of other insurers though, and 2020 rates have remained stagnant.
Can Regency be used for visas for places like Thailand?
Immigration departments will have different rules – it can vary from country to country.
Currently my Thailand-based clients have had no problem showing the Thai immigration department their health insurance certificate, to meet visa requirements.
The very basic Regency package isn’t always accepted, however.
How about paying for treatment directly?
It is certainly true that medical tourism is growing globally, as the stats below show:
In general, being without insurance in many countries can be risky though.
How about digital nomads health insurance?
Regency for Expats isn’t really the best option for this, as compared to firms that offer specific insurances targeted at location-independent nomads.
Would this be helpful in Thailand, for the mandatory health insurance for visa
New rules were announced recently that all non-Thais applying for a one-year permit to stay on an O-A visa must have health coverage for up to 40,000 Thai Bhat for outpatient services. This is in addition to 400,000 Bhat for inpatient services
Therefore, the basic package would not be sufficient, as it only covers impatient, but most of the higher packages meet the minimum requirements for immigration purposes.
Are some of the negative reviews correct?
The majority of reviews online are positive about Regency. There are always going to be some negative stories, with any product or service, so it isn’t anything to worry about.
Some of the negative reviewers, moreover, might have not known some key things beforehand as well, such as the fact Regency don’t accept pre-existing conditions.
How can I contact you?
You can contact me on the chat function below or via my email – [email protected]
Regency for expats is a great insurance option, for most people’s needs. The plans are easy to set up, for those that, like me, hate loads of paperwork.
It is easy to claim and renew. The only negatives are that it is hard to get significant amounts of life insurance, and coverage for pre-existing conditions isn’t included.
With that being said, getting covered for pre-existing conditions as an expat, isn’t easy, unless you are being covered as a group or want very limited coverage for those illnesses.
It offers much better coverage than almost all local options, in many expat destinations.
Most of the alternatives to Regency for Expats, are either:
- More expensive
- Similarly priced or lower, but worse coverage
- Very bad for paperwork and efficiency. The bigger insurers are typical examples of this. They tend to be slow and inefficient.
For those interested in expat investing, the following article would be useful.