As an increasing number of people are doing, you have decided to help disadvantaged people overseas through volunteer work. Maybe you will teach in an underprivileged area, work in a family clinic or juvenile detention center, or build homes in an area hit by a natural disaster. Although you’ll be contributing to society, you’re probably realizing society isn’t always as generous in caring for its volunteers as it is for its paid workforce.
Some large, well-funded volunteer organizations (AmeriCorps, The Peace Corps, etc.) provide health insurance to their volunteers. However, their coverage may not meet the minimum essential coverage required under the ACA, leaving volunteers on the hook for substantial out-of-pocket costs when they need extensive health care. Many volunteer organizations do not offer health insurance to their volunteers. In some cases, the agencies receiving full-time volunteers will provide basic health insurance, but they may not be required to cover certain items, such as prescription costs for pre-existing conditions or follow-up doctor’s visits.
If your overseas work will last less than a year, you might consider a short-term health plan. If you do, you’ll find that most of these plans don’t cover pre-existing conditions and can be rejected based on medical history. They also place upper limits on how much they will pay out when you are sick or injured. In addition, most short-term plans don’t cover all essential health benefits, such as prescription drugs, maternity coverage and mental health care.
If you are part of a volunteer organization that recommends one type of insurance, that might be ideal for your trip because the policy will likely cover everything included in your volunteer experience. But if you’re doing anything a bit unconventional—traveling before or after the trip, staying on the road for a while, you’ll want a policy that covers you for the duration of your trip. Otherwise, you might find yourself stuck in a policy loophole. It’s best to get a travel medical insurance policy that provides health insurance and covers other travel-related risks, such as trip cancellation, travel delays, lost luggage and medical evacuation.
Medical evacuation coverage would help pay for the costs associated with transporting you out of a remote area to a hospital capable of treating your illness or injury. Sometimes you can upgrade this benefit to provide coverage for transporting you not just to the nearest hospital capable of caring for you, but to the hospital of your choice.
If your overseas work will extend beyond one year, you could begin by researching the country you will live in. Some countries allow visitors under certain types of long-term visas to buy into the health insurance system their government offers. This may be worth exploring, although you’ll want to investigate the quality of health care available in your host country. If you think you’ll want to return home if you became seriously ill or injured, you’ll want to figure out how to pay for evacuation and continued medical care back home.
It’s possible that a long trip to a single destination might classify you as an expatriate (expat). If you are moving overseas and setting up a house and a life abroad, then you might be best served by an expat insurance policy. In addition to providing primary health coverage in a foreign country, expat plans usually cover medical evacuation and repatriation of remains. You’ll want to check the requirements of your visa and make sure your insurance plan meets them, since some visas require you to have an expat policy.
You should be aware that some volunteer insurance companies do not cover you at your destination unless you intend to return home. The policy wording may use the word intention and that could post a problem if you travel on a one-way or open-ended ticket, with no firm idea about your return.
It’s important to become very familiar with both your insurance policy and the laws in the country where you will reside. For instance, driving a motorbike overseas requires you to have a motorcycle license in your home country, and an international driver’s license with motorcycle certification. If you don’t have these items, your insurance policy won’t cover you in the event of a motorbike wreck that injures you or others.
Once you are ready to research the best health insurance plan to protect you while volunteering, we are here to help you. Most of us at Good Neighbor Insurance have worked abroad or done charitable work ourselves, so we understand your insurance needs as well as anyone. We offer a variety of great insurance plans from top-rated companies with the most affordable rates. In addition, when you face an issue overseas, our team will help you navigate the claims process.
It is our mission to support your mission with comprehensive and affordable travel health insurance. Allow us to serve you and make sure you’re properly covered as you make a positive social impact on the world.
Whether you have a NGO job, are considering an NGO job abroad or a volunteer opportunity, joining an international nonprofit or charity, or are looking for group health insurance to cover your nonprofit organization, we’re here to help! We offer the best travel insurance for global volunteers and most affordable long-term international health insurance for nonprofits and individuals going overseas from only top-rated health insurance companies insuring non-profits at low, affordable rates. Best yet, we are paid by the carriers themselves (instead of them paying commissions to their internal sales department) so we can offer expert assistance at no extra cost to you – Most of us have worked abroad or done volunteer charitable work ourselves, and so we understand giving back. Please accept our service and these great rates as a “Thank you” for volunteering overseas or serving overseas!
We specialize in providing multi-trip insurance plans for frequent flyers, and single trip travel insurance for volunteers, short or long stay travel insurance, as well as international group health insurance for nonprofits and non-governmental organizations.