How Telehealth Can Improve Medical Care for Expats

by David Tompkins

Telehealth for Expats – Get virtual access to health care services while living abroad

The first thing you do when you fall ill is to book an appointment at a doctor’s office, especially for global citizens and expatriates living abroad. Everyone wants access to high-quality treatment- and fast. But what happens when you’re unable to access such amenities, especially if you’re living in a remote area in light of recent events? It can be a challenge to get a doctor’s visit with minor medical problems or general advice and support.

With Telehealth, you’re able to get virtual access to health care services. While we are not medical professionals, we will use our global health insurance expertise to explain how Telehealth works for global nomads and expatriates. Learn about the many reasons why expatriates should be covered by a global health plan that offers Telehealth.

telehealth for expats

What is Telehealth & Telemedicine?

Telehealth & telemedicine is the easy use of digital communication technologies that can often include computers and smartphones to access health care services remotely and even help manage your healthcare.  It is a digital method for expatriates to get timely medical advice and support. It can also include some diagnosis and information, especially for conditions that are not urgent. Telehealth for expats can often involve interacting with a nurse, counselor, or medical doctor. It is especially convenient for families living in a remote region or when immediate medical advice is unavailable.

In the time of the COVID-19, Telehealth can be vital as you may not want to go to a doctor’s office to get medical questions answered as it may expose you to the coronavirus.

What do  Global Citizens Use Telehealth For?

  • Obtaining support for non-emergency pediatric care
  • Video or phone consultations with a licensed doctor or nurse
  • A diagnosis for non-emergency health issues ranging from acute conditions to complex chronic
  • Getting advice on a medication plan and potential side effects
  • Obtaining treatment options for medical conditions like fever, rash, pain and more
  • Prescriptions for common health concerns, when medically necessary & refilling an ongoing medication
  • Obtain preparations for an upcoming consultation

How Does Telehealth Work for Expatriates?

Most telehealth plans for global nomads and expatriates are part of an existing international health insurance policy. Plus, only a few insurance providers offer this service as part of their global healthcare offering. If provided, Telehealth is often very easy to use as you will have access to a portal or an app where you can reserve an appointment to talk to a doctor or nurse.

Through this app, you can chat, talk, or video conference while discussing your medical needs. Note that the doctor may still request and recommend that you go to see a doctor in person or go to a hospital.

Telehealth for expats is not a substitute for seeing a doctor or going to a hospital, especially for a serious injury or illness or when urgent medical care is required – it is meant to support your medical care while living abroad.

telehealth for expats

Is there a Cost for Telehealth for Expats?

For most of the global health plans we offer, Telehealth is an included medical service. Plans offered by Expat Financial such as the Cigna Global health options plan can include telehealth at no extra fee. If you think about it, the Telehealth service is an asset to the insurer as it might help avoid an unnecessary visit to a doctor. Most high-quality global mobility plans will include telehealth as well.

Benefits of Telehealth for Expatriates?

So here are some reasons why expatriates should buy a global health plan that includes Telehealth while living overseas:

  1. Convenient – Access the service in the comfort of your home or workplace.
  2. Cost-Effective – It’s an alternative to the doctor’s office or clinic visits. Now you don’t have to worry about deductibles or coinsurance payments
  3. Flexible – Have access to real-time scheduling. Set up appointments at a time that is convenient for you.
  4. Access Medical Advice at Any Time – With Telehealth you can receive 24/7/365 access to a top doctor, usually within 24 hours. Note that time can fluctuate depending on language preference & the insurer

Telehealth is a crucial asset for any expatriate or global citizen who is planning to move abroad or who has already made a move. Note that if you think you need to see a doctor in person or attend a hospital, make sure you go ASAP as telemedicine is not a replacement for your doctor or hospital. Remember that it is key that you buy global health insurance before you need it as after you have a claim, it is too late. Make sure you buy your international health coverage as soon as possible. Expat Financial offers some great global benefit plans that include Telehealth for expat employees.

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