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Frequently Asked Questions about Health & Life Insurance

Comparing local vs international health insurance plans in Vietnam

For expatriates living in Vietnam, you will want to take out a private medical insurance policy to cover the costs of treatment at private hospitals and clinics. Your two options are to either purchase a local or international health insurance plan, which come with quite a few differences.
Benefit levels
One of the largest differences between the local and international plans are the way benefits are structured and what limits are placed upon them. Benefit limits are the total amount of money an insurance plan will cover treatment up to. Almost every medical insurance policy will come with an annual limit, but depending what plan you choose it may come with specific limits for certain kinds of things such as for cancer or pregnancy complications.

Generally, local Vietnamese insurance plans will come with lower total benefit levels and often include other limits on the benefits, such as a limit on the amount covered per day or per visit. International medical plans on the other hand usually offers higher benefit levels with fewer limitations.

Having a lower annual limit, or more specific limits on your plan’s benefits opens you up to additional out of pocket expenses which can influence where you seek treatment if you’re trying to avoid those extra costs.

Ability to offer direct billing

One area where local insurance providers excel is that they usually have extensive direct billing networks for both inpatient and outpatient healthcare providers.
Depending on which international insurance company you purchase a medical insurance plan with, they may have a more limited direct billing network in Vietnam, especially when it comes to outpatient treatments.

Freedom of treatment
For some planned surgeries, you may need to seek treatment outside of Vietnam, either because the standard of care is higher somewhere like Singapore, or because the treatment is simply not available in Vietnam, even in private hospitals or clinics.
For international medical plans that offer Worldwide or Worldwide Excluding-USA coverage, this will not be a problem. Simply let your insurer know ahead of time and they can arrange to pay for all treatment directly so you won’t even have to pay first and file a claim.

For local insurance providers, this can often be an issue as the insurance policies are priced for the cost of treatment in Vietnam. If the local provider agrees to cover the cost of a treatment outside of Vietnam at all, it will often be after a long process to get the agreement, and it may come with additional restrictions such as stricter limits on some benefits or a co-insurance on the costs.

What is the difference between In-patient Care and Out-patient Care?

The difference between in-patient treatment and out-patient treatment is how long a patient must remain in the facility where you may have a procedure done.

In-patient care with many insurers requires overnight hospitalization as you must stay at the medical facility where the treatment or procedure is done (which is usually a hospital) which is generally one night, though some insurers will cover you under in-patient daycare treatment where you have a procedure done and do not stay overnight.

Patients with out-patient treatment have all the benefits of the in-patient cover, plus out-patient doctors consultations, treatments and medications that are covered with out-patient care

If your doctor sends you to the hospital for x-rays or other diagnostic tests, this is considered an outpatient. You only become an inpatient if your doctor writes orders to have you formally admitted.

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