Cigna Global Health Insurance Review

After spending a few thousand dollars in a span of a few days in the USA for unexpected medical expenses, I decided to purchase an international health insurance coverage before I left on my trip again.

I’m one of those people who don’t mind paying more for quality especially when it comes to thing related to my well-being. I did some research on international health insurances and I decided to go with Cigna Global. There were two main reasons for this. First was that they seemed to provide the most reliable and extensive coverage. By reliable, I mean that when you submit your claims, they are processed within a timely manner. Second reason was that I had Cigna health insurance, albeit not “Global” version before with my previous employer, and I found them to be excellent.

How much does it cost?

I have to admit, my insurance plan with Cigna Global was expensive compared to other competitors’ offerings. In total, it cost me $2,830.99 for one year of coverage. So that’s around $235 per month. Sounds expensive? Yes it is, especially if you consider that the cost of healthcare outside of the USA, even if you pay out of pocket is very inexpensive. For example, in Colombia, I paid around $10 USD for a visit to a general physician, and no more than $10 for any prescriptions that I needed. $235 sounds unnecessarily inexpensive right?

The thing is, the plan that I purchased also somewhat covers medical costs incurred while in the United States. After incurring those unexpected medical expenses last year in the United States (almost $4,000 spent over the course of two days), I wanted to make sure that I never pay that much for health care ever again. Also, if something terrible did indeed happen to me, and I had to pay a few thousand dollars for a serious operation, my plan would cover any incurred expenses since my plan covers everything from emergency room expenses, prescriptions, has a very low deductible, and etc.

Will I probably need the extensive coverage provided by my insurance plan? Probably not, but that’s why it’s called “insurance” right?

Is Cigna Global reliable?

Now, the most important part of an insurance plan is that they will actually cover your expenses when you need medical services and will process your claims in a timely manner. While traveling this year, I used my insurance plan twice, once in Madrid, Spain and once in Kiev, Ukraine.

During my short stay in Madrid, I had the chest pain yet once again that I experienced a few months prior. Since I had the pain before, I’d figured that it’s probably just chest inflammation again so I went to the pharmacy to try to get a steroid based anti-inflammatory medicine. Unfortunately, they said I would need to get a prescription from the doctor so I went into a walk-in clinic where the doctor performed an EKG examination on me. The doctor unfortunately misread my EKG and sent me to a hospital where I went through all of the standard procedures for making sure that I wasn’t dying. Before being admitted to all of the routine check-ups, I called up Cigna to see if my plan would cover the expenses occurred. They confirmed within a few minutes that they will cover it and off with the medical examinations I went. BTW, nothing was wrong with me again, and the doctor sent me home with a bunch of muscle relaxation pills and strong dosages of Advil.

Second medical examination was in Kiev, Ukraine where I went through the most painful experience of my life. For this specific exam, I went to an English speaking facility where they specifically service American expats. I went there instead of a local Ukrainian doctor due to the language barrier and the rumors I heard where you have to bribe Ukrainian doctors with money if you want decent medical service. Also, I did not contact Cigna Global before going through the exam. The out of pocket expenses were around $180 USD. After getting the receipt from the hospital, I simply scanned it and filed a claim on Cigna Global’s website. The claim was processed within a week and Cigna deposited $180 into my checking account.

So all in all, Cigna Global insurance is easy to work with.

Is it worth purchasing international health insurance?

I think this depends on the way you look at it. If you’re a young healthy guy, nothing is probably going to happen to you during your travels. And even if something does happen, for example you break your arm and you have to go to a hospital, health care costs outside of the USA are very affordable even if you pay out of pocket.

But there’s a reason health insurance has the word “insurance” in it. It’s to protect yourself from unexpected events that may happen. Let’s say that you get some deadly disease while you’re abroad and you need emergency treatment. And due to the seriousness of the disease, the out of pocket costs will be higher than you can afford, even outside of the United States. Well, international health insurance plans like the ones from Cigna Global will cover you.

I don’t think you have to purchase a high cost plan like the one I purchased (and I probably will get a cheaper plan next year), but I do think it’s a responsible thing to get some kind of health insurance plan before you head abroad.

So, before you start traveling, do some research on different expat friendly health insurance plans and purchase one before you hit the road. My experience with Cigna Global has been great, and I recommend them. They’re not the cheapest option, but they do come through when you need them.

About the Author Chris Jeon

Software developer currently focusing on Android development.