5 Best Medical Insurance for International Travel
The 5 Best Medical Insurance for International Travel in South Africa revealed.
We tested them side by side and verified their medical aid plans.
This is a complete guide to the best medical insurance for international travel in South Africa.
In this in-depth guide you’ll learn:
- What is a Medical Insurance?
- What classifies as international travel?
- What does medical insurance include?
- Why do you need medical insurance for international travel?
- What is considered affordable for medical insurance?
- What benefits do you get from medical insurance?
So if you’re ready to go “all in” with the best medical insurance for international travel in South Africa, this guide is for you.
Let’s dive right in…
Best Medical Insurance for International Travel (2023)
|🩺 Medical Aid||✔️ Offers Medical Insurance for International Travel?||⚕️ Monthly Premium||👉 Sign Up|
|1. Discovery Health||Yes||From R300||👉 Apply Now|
|2. Bonitas||Yes||From R300||👉 Apply Now|
|3. Momentum TIC||Yes||From R300||👉 Apply Now|
|4. Bestmed||Yes||From R300||👉 Apply Now|
|5. Fedhealth||Yes||From R300||👉 Apply Now|
5 Best Medical Insurance for International Travel Summary
- Discovery Health – Overall, Best Medical Insurance for International Travel in South Africa
- Bonitas – Broadest Range of Low-Cost Medical Aid Plans
- Momentum TIC – Best Customer Service Medical Aid
- BestMed – Best Pay-As-You-Go Private Healthcare
- Fedhealth – Top Extensive Medical Protection in South Africa
Understanding travel insurance
Coverage against potential dangers and monetary losses when travelling is what travel insurance is all about.
There is always the chance of anything going wrong, from a simple nuisance like missing a flight or having your bags lost to a catastrophic one like getting seriously hurt or becoming seriously ill.
Whether you’re on a trip of a lifetime or just driving across the country to attend your cousin’s wedding, you might be wondering if and when you should invest in travel insurance.
To put it simply, you should only risk money that you can afford to lose. Knowing the ins and outs of travel insurance will help you decide whether or not it’s a good investment.
What travel insurance covers
Travel insurance provides protection against a wide variety of risks, depending on the policy you select.
Illness and injury
If you are sick or injured while travelling, you may incur medical costs that are not covered by your regular health insurance. If you are sick or injured before or during your trip, the costs of treatment could quickly exceed the amount covered by your regular health insurance.
Costs associated with missing or stolen bags might be partially offset by purchasing travel insurance. This is especially helpful if your bags are lost during transport and the airline refuses to compensate you.
Passengers can get the greatest compensation for their lost bags and their contents if they can present receipts for the full value of the items.
If they offer cancellation/interruption coverage at all, some credit cards only provide minimal protection up to a certain annual maximum. However, few credit cards provide protection against the most costly travel hazards, such as medical costs or emergency evacuations, which are often covered by travel insurance.
Read more about Travel Cover
Different types of travel insurance
Travel insurance that can be cancelled for any reason
If you get a hangnail after purchasing this insurance and decide to cancel, you are free to do so. In most cases, an explanation is not required by the insurance company.
They only require that you cancel within the allotted time window, usually between 48 and 72 hours before your departure.
It’s more convenient, but you’ll get less money back. You can get up to 70% of your pre-paid, non-refundable travel costs returned with cancel for any reason insurance, and you don’t even have to give a reason.
This sort of coverage is sometimes sold on its own, and other times as an add-on to a more extensive policy.
When most people think of travel insurance, they picture a policy like this one. Loss of luggage, unexpected medical expenses, and cancellation due to illness or death are all typically covered under all-inclusive policies. You should read the small print to find out exactly what is included.
Why you need travel insurance
While adventures abroad are thrilling, they are not without danger. Getting travel insurance protects you from things like having your belongings stolen or misplaced, being unable to travel due to unforeseen personal or health issues, and having to pay for expensive medical care in a foreign country.
Even if it causes a minor dent in your finances, you should definitely invest in travel insurance before jetting out on your adventure.
If anything unanticipated happens, your loss could be even higher. Let’s say you’re abroad and you suddenly have to leave your hotel because of a medical emergency or a natural disaster.
It’s possible that your flight will be cancelled, that your luggage will go missing, or that your passport and/or wallet will be stolen. All of these things happen to travellers all the time.
How much insurance should I get?
Consult your financial planner to find out if your current insurance policy covers you while travelling internationally. However, please be aware that if travel insurance is included, it is not likely to provide adequate cover in light of the inclusions and excess payments.
Theft and medical emergencies requiring a helicopter transfer to the nearest hospital are only two of the many cases that are covered by travel insurance.
Insurance for medical emergencies, lost bags, flight delays, personal responsibility, and accidental injuries are typically covered. The policy you select will determine what is and is not covered. Your travel agent is in the greatest position to help you determine which option will meet your specific requirements.
The Discovery Health Medical Scheme offers over 20 distinct health plan options, all of which include unlimited private hospital coverage and a variety of incentives to match the needs and financial conditions of everyone.
The plans provide access to a wide range of benefits, care plans, and services to guarantee that any young adult obtains the best medical care possible when it is needed.
According to Discovery, competitive South African medical schemes charge an average 14.9% higher in contributions for the same level of coverage, which is an appealing feature for young individuals who may not be earning big salaries yet.
You can also join Vitality, the company’s wellness programme, which offers gym memberships and other advantages in exchange for leading a healthy lifestyle.
An independent Board of Trustees oversees the management of the Scheme, which is owned by its members.
It is handled by a separate company, Discovery Health (Pty) Ltd, which is an authorised financial services provider. The Medical Schemes Act and the Council for Medical Schemes govern Discovery Health Medical Scheme.
Discovery Health International Travel Benefit
You have access to the International Travel Benefit as a Discovery Health Medical Scheme member. When you travel outside of South Africa, this benefit provides medical emergency coverage for you and your family for 90 days from the date of departure.
This allows you to enjoy your well-deserved vacation while knowing that you and your family will receive great medical care. MSO’s overseas partner provides medical assistance to members going abroad in the event of an emergency.
How it works
You must be an active member of the Scheme at the time of your claim to be eligible for the International Travel Benefit. You also cannot be in a three-month general waiting period when you file your claim.
You must seek medical attention from a certified practitioner. You will be reimbursed for the ordinary, acceptable expenditures of medical emergency treatment while overseas.
The coverage expires when you return home or 90 days after your departure date, whichever comes first. If you are travelling for an extended period of time, you must acquire supplementary medical coverage through your travel agency before departing South Africa.
According to your medical plan, you will be covered for the following with the trip benefit:
- Executive Plan – up to $1million in medical emergency cover for each person per trip
- Classic, Essential, Coastal and Smart Plan members – up to R5 million in medical emergency cover for each person per trip
The benefit is not available on KeyCare Plans.
How Much Are Discovery Medical Aid Monthly Premiums?
Monthly premiums start from R930 per member for the Keycare Series with medical cover for both in-hospital and out-of-hospital treatment by providers in a specified network and goes up to R8 298 per member for the Executive Plan with extensive cover for in-hospital and day-to-day benefits, extended chronic medicine cover, and unlimited Above Threshold Benefit.
What Is the Waiting Period for Discovery Medical Aid’s Benefits?
Discovery Health Medical Scheme’s general waiting period is 3 consecutive months and the condition-specific waiting period is 12 consecutive months.
How to Claim for Discovery Medical Aid Benefits
You can submit a claim fast and easy in the following ways:
- Scan and upload your claims on the website.
- Scan and email your claims to [email protected].
- Use the Discovery app on your smartphone. If the claim has a QR code, scan the QR code or alternatively take a photo of the claim from within the app.
- You can also submit your claims by post.
Discovery Medical Aid Contact Details
PO Box 784262,
Phone: 0860 99 88 77
Bonitas has been in business for for 40 years, giving them a rich history and in-depth knowledge of the South African private healthcare sector.
As a result, its team of experts is always looking for new ways to ensure that members receive affordable, high-quality healthcare, whether it’s keeping a finger on the technological pulse, managing your care so lifestyle diseases are identified before they become chronic, or negotiating better rates for you.
If you are one of the company’s more than 700,000 beneficiaries, you can take advantage of lower pricing and trusted service providers to stay healthy while keeping healthcare costs under control.
Bonitas’ diverse selection assures that you and your family will find the greatest suit for your specific requirements. The plans are designed to be simple to use while also delivering the best possible benefit. If you are a young adult looking for your first medical insurance policy, Bonitas is an option.
The corporation has high fiscal health indicators, solid finances, and more than R6 billion in reserves.
Connecting with consumers is one of Bonitas’ strategy pillars since it allows them to be member-centric and dedicated to serving their best interests.
Bonitas International Travel Benefit
The Bonitas International Travel benefit is managed by Europ Assistance and administered by Linkham Services SA (Pty) Ltd (FSP 45396).
The benefit it underwritten by GENRIC Insurance Company Limited (FSP: 43638), an Authorised Financial Services Provider and licenced non-life Insurer.
Bonitas members (excluding members on BonCap) who live in South Africa and regard it as their permanent residence are entitled to this Benefit.
How it works
This benefit protects you and your dependents in the event of an emergency medical condition when travelling outside of South Africa.
If you have gotten pre-authorisation to cover your hospital stay, your international travel insurance for Emergency Medical Conditions will cover unanticipated and unexpected illnesses or injuries.
The given coverage is not a medical policy and does not cover medical operations that can be performed in South Africa.
What Is the Waiting Period for Bonitas Medical Aid Benefits?
The minimum general waiting period for Bonitas medical aid is three months for all benefits. Some plans, however, have a waiting period of 12 months, especially regarding a pre-existing condition.
How to Claim for Breast Reduction Benefits from Bonitas
You can send in your claim in the following ways:
- Email your claims to [email protected].
- Post your claims to Bonitas Claims Department, PO Box 74, Vereeniging, 1930.
- Submit your claims in person at one of the walk-in centres.
Follow these simple steps to get your claims paid quickly:
- Ensure your banking details are correct for refunds by electronic transfer (EFT) into your bank account
- Make sure that your account and receipt show your name and initials, membership number, treatment date, the name of the patient as shown on your membership card, amount charged and ICD-10 code.
Bonitas Contact Details
34 Melrose Blvd, Birnam
Phone for General Queries: 0860002108
Email: [email protected]
Email: [email protected]
3. Momentum TIC
For over 25 years, TIC has been insuring travellers both worldwide and domestically, and can meet all of your leisure and business travel needs.
Travel Insurance Consultants (TIC) is a part of Santam Limited, South Africa’s leading short-term insurer. TIC is an ASATA (Association of South African Travel Agents) member and an authorised Financial Service Provider.
Travel Insurance Consultants (TIC), a completely owned Santam specialty business within South Africa’s largest travel insurance firm, was founded in 1988.
TIC, which is situated in Johannesburg, safeguards visitors from most Southern African countries. Through a vast distribution of travel agents, brokers, banks, medical schemes, and affinity organisations, TIC provides travel insurance coverage for individual leisure, business, and corporate travellers.
TIC provides a comprehensive range of products to meet the demands of travellers, catering to all travel requirements.
Momentum TIC International Travel Benefit
Meeting the traveller’s needs, TIC offers a wide range of products to cater for all travel requirements including:
- Leisure Comprehensive
- Leisure Standard
- Annual Declaration
These products include important benefits such as :
- Medical and Related Expenses and Assistance Services
- Personal Liability
- Personal Accident
- Lost or Stolen Luggage
- Travel Delay
- Legal Assistance
How it works
The travel benefit can be used in the following ways:
- Medical cover for pre-existing conditions is only available on the Leisure Comprehensive plan.
- Pre-existing medical conditions cover in-hospital expenses only.
- Cardiac and cerebrovascular conditions are excluded for senior travellers.
- Loss of luggage must be reported to the local police authority where the loss occurred.
- Extreme and/or professional sports are excluded unless a sporting extension is purchased.
- Cover is limited to a maximum of 365 days on Leisure Comprehensive and Standard and 92 days on Seniors.
How Much Are Momentum Health Monthly Premiums?
Momentum monthly premiums start at R1 539 for the main member on the Evolve Option and go up to R12 345 for the main member on the Summit Option.
What Is the Waiting Period for Momentum Health’s Benefits?
The general waiting period is 3 months, but since pregnancy is considered a pre-existing condition, it is excluded from all benefits for the first 12 months of scheme membership.
How to Claim for Momentum Health Benefits
You can submit a claim in several ways:
- Use the Momentum App
- Use the web chat facility in the bottom left corner.
- Send an email to [email protected] or send normal mail to PO Box 2338, Durban, 4000
To make sure your claim is processed quickly and accurately, include the following information:
- Membership number.
- Principal member’s surname, initials, and first name.
- Patient’s surname, initials, and first name.
- Date of treatment.
- Amount charged.
- ICD–10 code (code to indicate what condition you’ve been diagnosed with), tariff code (product-specific code for procedures and claims), and NAPPI code (unique identifier for a given ethical, surgical, or consumable product).
- Service provider’s name and practice number.
- Proof of payment if you’ve paid the claim out of your own pocket.
Momentum Health Contact Details
201 Umhlanga Ridge Blvd
PO Box 2338
BestMed claims to be the largest self-administered medical plan in South Africa and the fourth-largest open medical plan in the world.
BestMed offers a proven track record of connecting young adult members with a network of healthcare providers, wellness benefits, and cost-effective healthcare coverage options.
The company is particularly proud of its recent constant single-digit growth, as well as its 13 well-organized products that cover every possible life stage and financial need.
All of its alternatives, such as contraception for women, pneumonia treatment, influenza vaccinations, and a variety of other options, give significant preventative healthcare benefits to young individuals.
Thanks to the assistance and support of this medical aid, young adults in South Africa today have access to over 4,300 primary care physicians, as well as networks of hospitals and specialists.
The Bestmed Maternity Care initiative, which is available to all coverage plans, delivers a variety of pregnancy and birthing information and services to young pregnant mothers and fathers.
BestMed International Travel Benefit
This benefit protects you and your family in the event of a medical emergency while travelling outside of South Africa.
International travel insurance for Emergency Medical Conditions covers unforeseen and unanticipated illnesses or accidental injuries (up to R250 000 for pre-existing medical conditions).
The given coverage is not a medical policy and does not cover medical operations that can be performed in South Africa.
How it works
To be eligible for benefits under that is included in the international travel insurance policy, your premiums must be current and the travel insurance policy must have been issued prior to your date of departure from your home country.
Please keep in mind that the policy paper will be delivered within 24 business hours.
How Much Are BestMed Medical Aid Monthly Premiums?
At the time of writing, monthly premiums for the cheapest BestMed Beat1 Network Hospital Plan started at R1 710 for a member, with an additional R1 329 for an adult dependant and R720 for a child dependant, to a maximum of 3 child dependants. Additional children join at no additional cost.
The most expensive plan at the time was the Pace4 Comprehensive Plan, with monthly contributions of R9 411 per member and R9 411 per adult dependant. For a child dependant the extra contribution was R2 205, up to 3 child dependants with additional children added as beneficiaries of the scheme at no extra cost.
What Is the Waiting Period for BestMed Medical Aid’s Benefits?
There can be a general waiting period of three months or a specific waiting period of 12 months for a certain condition.
Bestmed Medical Scheme will sometimes only pay a claim if it is a PMB. This can happen if you are in a waiting period or if you are getting treatment for a condition that your plan doesn’t cover.
How to Claim for Benefits from BestMed Medical Aid
If your healthcare provider does not submit claims to BestMed, one must submit the original claim directly to the fund administrators.
You can claim by means of the BestMed App, or by scanning and emailing your claim to them.
Details that should appear on all claim documents include:
- Member’s name and contact details
- BestMed membership number
- Patient’s details
- Service provider’s name, contact details and practice number
- Details of treatment, including applicable tariff and ICD-10 codes
- Whether payment should be done to the service provider or the member
You will receive an email confirmation when your claim is received and indexed.
BestMed Medical Aid Contact Details
Bestmed Medical Scheme,
Glenfield Office Park
361 Oberon Avenue
PO Box 2297
Phone: +27 (0)86 000 2378
Read more about 5 Best Travel Medical Insurances in South Africa revealed
Fedhealth was created in 1936 in response to a medical treatment need in South Africa. While a lot has changed over the years, their dedication to offering exceptional service at a reasonable price has not.
Fedhealth, being a cooperative that exists to benefit its members, is always seeking for new ways to deliver healthcare to its members.
Fedhealth places an emphasis on individualization so that you can have a say in developing a healthcare plan that is tailored to your personal requirements. Fedhealth goes above and above to meet the needs of its members in a variety of ways, including providing excellent customer service.
Because of its strong financial position, the Scheme has maintained its AA- Global Credit Rating for the past 14 years and has a reserve for its participants that surpasses the legally required 25%.
Fedhealth is well-known for its traditional benefits as well as its revolutionary Risk-based awards, which boost the value of members’ benefits.
There are no restrictions on seeing doctors within the plan’s network, and you can get a free plan upgrade at any time during the year if your medical needs change substantially (within 30 days of a major life event).
Fedhealth International Travel Benefit
All Fedhealth members get FREE membership to Sanlam Reality on the Reality Access membership option. On this membership option, you will receive free International Travel Insurance and the Pet Care Benefit.
How it works
Reality Access provides you with free travel insurance that will assist you with cover for unforeseen medical emergencies and related expenses when you travel outside the borders of South Africa.
How Much Are Fedhealth Medical Scheme Monthly Premiums?
The monthly premiums for the salary-banded myFED option is from R 1 275 per month for the main member. The maxima PLUS extensive medical cover will cost from 13 122 per month per main member.
What Is the Waiting Period for Fedhealth Benefits?
The general waiting period for Fedhealth benefits are usually three months, depending on the medical aid scheme you join. The waiting period for pre-existing conditions is 12 months.
How to Claim for Benefits from Fedhealth Medical Scheme
Members can submit claims using one of the following:
- On the Fedhealth Family Room,
- Through a WhatsApp service
- On the Fedhealth Member phone App
- You may also email, fax or post the claims to email: [email protected], fax: (011) 671 3842 or post to Private Bag X3045, Randburg, 2125.
Fedhealth Medical Scheme Contact Details
Flora Centre Shop 21 and 22
Corner Conrad street and Ontdekkers Rd
Phone: 0861 116 016
Frequently Asked Questions
When should you get travel insurance?
Travel insurance should ideally be purchased as soon as you have paid for your trip. The reason for this is that you will be covered for trip cancellation from the start.
What are the benefits of travel insurance?
The main advantage of having travel insurance is that it covers the expenditures and losses associated with international and domestic travel. For example, if you incur emergency medical bills while abroad as a result of an accident or illness, your luggage is lost or stolen, or your trip is cancelled or even cut short.
Do South Africans need travel insurance for the UK?
Typically, you want your travel insurance to cover the following: Medical care – The United Kingdom does not have a healthcare agreement with South Africa. That means that if you want medical treatment while travelling, you will have to pay for it yourself.
Can I buy travel insurance at the airport?
No, you cannot purchase travel insurance at an airport. You also can’t buy it if you’ve already boarded your cruise, opted out of a tour, or your flight is so late that you miss your connection.
How far in advance can I buy travel insurance?
In general, you can purchase coverage at any time before your trip. Having said that, it’s usually a good idea to purchase insurance as soon as you make your bookings. The sooner you purchase travel insurance, the sooner you will be protected, and the more advantages you may be entitled for.