OSCAR's Survey of NHS-gap Insurance Providers

by Mike Frith
Posted on 1st April 2015

The NHS (Charges to Overseas Visitors) Regulations 2015 came into effect on 6 April 2015 and have implications for access to free secondary NHS healthcare in England for missionaries. OSCAR has surveyed many of the insurance providers to see if they have insurance products that might cover the gap for those who find themselves excluded by the new regulations.

Firstly, the details of the new regulations have been summarised here

Here are the responses from various insurers:

Talent Trust Consultants

In the past we have not been very large in the UK, one of the main reasons for this is that for long-term members (longer than 1 year overseas) we insisted that they should be on one of our private medical insurance (PMI) plans, not a travel policy (we do have a travel policy as well, but we restrict this to trips of less than a year). PMI plans are more expensive than travel plans, but they also have several benefits. However due to the UK missions exemption (which was removed in April) a number of medical providers who you are probably aware of, provided plans that used this exemption and extended travel policies to long-term missionaries, and brought them home to the UK for free treatment if there was something major. Now with this exemption gone, these plans are no longer cost-effective, and are being removed from sale.

The only effective option now is a PMI plan for anyone who does not meet the Ordinary Residency rules, and have free access to the NHS, and we believe that we have an excellent option for this.

We have 2 long-term plans, Alpha and Omega, Omega is only relevant for people who need cover for more than 60 days a year within the USA. For everyone else we recommend our Alpha policy.
Alpha provides comprehensive worldwide cover (limited in the USA - Omega provides full US cover), including cover for emergency evacuations, and it also provides full cover for terrorist attacks and similar situations. (we actually have had a member involved in a church bombing in Pakistan need this, there is a video on our website if you are interested). We only cover Christian missionaries, and we currently cover about 7,000 missionaries on our PMI plans in just over 180 countries.

One thing to note when comparing our plans is to note that our website prices are currently only in US$, so if our numbers seem competitive, this actually means we are about 2/3rds the cost of other providers.

OSCAR members receive a 20% discount off our long-term plans and 35% off our short-term plans (mention OSCAR under your church/mission when applying).
Website: www.talent-trust.com
Email: info@talent-trust.com
Tel: ++ 60 4 899 8945 (MALAYSIA)

Salt Insurance

SALT are working on something with their underwriters that will cover the gap. They also offer International Medical Group (IMG) products from their website and these can provide cover back in the UK. Contact them for details.
Website: www.saltinsurance.com
Email: info@saltinsurance.com
Tel: 01342 843560

Christians Abroad

From our point of view there is no product available at the moment that caters for those 'not ordinarily resident' ..and NHS charges...usually if you are registered with a GP in the UK you can avail yourself of services if you regularly return to the UK. The whole regime was much looser...but times are changing. The only product at the moment is longer term medical policies which are quite expensive ....about £1500 for a single person and up to say £3500 for a family of four pa which would allow medical costs whilst in the UK as part of their policy provision. Banner are keeping an eye on the situation and will be researching options but at the moment if you cannot satisfy regs re 'ordinarily resident' you will not be eligible for NHS cover....we can still cover you whilst overseas for accident and emergency for a year for about £370 pa per adult for up to about four years but UK NHS costs are not covered in that policy.
Website: www.cabroad.org.uk
Email: support@cabroad.org.uk
Tel: 0300 012 1201

Banner Financial Services

Banner offer multiple products and services to the third sector which includes international private medical insurance. As a broker we have access to a range of insurers offering multiple cover levels to suit each individual or organisation. These can be used in the Country of Service and Country of Domicile as completely portable in nature. We would happy to discuss any requirements and provide further information or quotations.
Website: www.bannergroup.com
Email: info@bannergroup.com
Tel: 0844 875 3506

MissionaryHealth.net

Yes, we offer temporary medical insurance for mission workers returning home on furlough. Our policies provide 7 days up to 12 months of coverage and cover new doctor office visits, prescription medication and hospital care for new illnesses and accidents.

A policy which covers missionaries for medical expenses worldwide, including the U.K. but excluding the U.S. with a $250 annual deductible (Excess) is $874.00 for a male age 44 and $1208.00 for a female age 44. Temporary medical cover which would include furloughs back in the U.K. but no coverage in the country where they are serving would cost ~$79.05 per month for men or women age 40 - 49. Both plans are underwritten by Lloyd's of London insurance company and may be applied online. Coverage can begin any day of the month.
Feel free to call or email with any questions or concerns.
Website: www.missionaryhealth.net
Email: health@missionaryhealth.net
Tel: ++ 1 800 647 4589 or ++ 1 480 821 9052 (USA)

Visitors Insurance

We are in business over 35+ years. In these type of situations, we would look at the GlobeHopper range. Going by the below explanations, they should declare their home/residence as the country they are in prior to returning to the UK i.e. the country they are resident at that time during their mission. This way the coverage in the UK is eligible, as it's outside their declared home/residence country. The coverage will then fill the gap until there are eligible for NHS services. Keep in mind that GlobeHopper doesn't cover pre-existing conditions and all relevant terms/conditions will apply on the new application.
See below link to the GlobeHopper Plan-1 has the Single-Trip page: www.visitorsinsurance.com/IMGEuropeAllTheProducts.asp
Please visit all our Travel Insurance at- www.visitorsinsurance.com/IMGEuropeproducts.asp
Website: www.visitorsinsurance.com
Email: Info@VisitorsInsurance.com
Tel: ++ 1 847 897 5120 (USA)

International Medical Group Europe

In these type of situations, we would look at the GlobeHopper range. Going by the below explanations, they should declare their home/residence as the country they are in prior to returning to the UK i.e. the country they are resident at that time during their mission. This way the coverage in the UK is eligible, as it's outside their declared home/residence country. The coverage will then fill the gap until there are eligible for NHS services. Keep in mind that GlobeHopper doesn't cover pre-existing conditions and all relevant terms/conditions will apply on the new application.
See below link to the GlobeHopper Single-Trip page:
http://www.imgeurope.co.uk/international-expatriate-plans/short-term-medical/globehopper-travel-medical-cover/overview.aspx
Website: https://www.imglobal.com/mission-insurance
Email: info@imgeurope.co.uk
Tel: 01444 465555

Good Neighbor Insurance

We are one of IMG's top brokerage firms here in the U.S.

1. Here is what IMG stated to us:
In these type of situations, we would look at the GlobeHopper range. Going by the below explanations, they should declare their home/residence as the country they are in prior to returning to the UK i.e. the country they are resident at that time during their mission. This way the coverage in the UK is eligible, as it's outside their declared home/residence country. The coverage will then fill the gap until there are eligible for NHS services. Keep in mind that GlobeHopper doesn't cover pre-existing conditions and all relevant terms/conditions will apply on the new application.
See below link to the GlobeHopper Single-Trip page:
http://www.imgeurope.co.uk/international-expatriate-plans/short-term-medical/globehopper-travel-medical-cover/overview.aspx

2. We also provide international travel through IMG's U.S. office.
* You may view these plans on our master list at https://www.gninsurance.com/international-insurance-plans-listed-company-name/.
* We also provide a lot of different travel plans, like the one above, at https://www.gninsurance.com/international-travel-health-insurance-plans/#All_Plans.

3. The travel plans similar to the one that IMG Europe stated that would work for your folks who are U.S. citizens are these:
* Our Outreach International travel plan at https://www.gninsurance.com/outreach-international-travel-health-plans/
* For those traveling outside the U.S. for up to six months our GeoBlue plan at https://www.gninsurance.com/geoblue-voyager-choice-essential-single-trip-travel-insurance/#excursion
* And our Diplomat International travel plan that also includes sports cover at https://www.gninsurance.com/diplomat-international-travel-medical-insurance/

4. We are a full service international insurance brokerage firm. We handle travel, team insurance for churches and organizations taking groups out for a few days, to long term expat coverage for many years, as well as international group insurance for organziations.
* In case there is something we can do for one of your team members, you can go to our site here at https://www.gninsurance.com/ and on the right side "can we help? is information you can ask for.
Website: www.gninsurance.com
Email: info@gninsurance.com
Tel: ++ 1 866 636 9100 (USA)

Mike Frith is the Founding Director of OSCAR. Prior to starting OSCAR, he worked as a pilot/engineer with Mission Aviation Fellowship where he spent time living in the USA, France, Switzerland, Madagascar and Uganda. He has been involved in working with, supporting, training and resourcing cross-cultural workers for over 25 years.