I am looking for an international health insurance, i.e. a health insurance, covering both outpatient and inpatient that pays first versus having to the patient pay first and get reimbursed.

US and Canada do not need to be included in the package.

Usually, when I buy local health insurances and I use medical services (OP and IP) maybe of the health insurances have the service that you do not need to pay upfront, i.e. using your card in the hospital/clinic is enough. And this is really comfortable for me.

However, if I use international health insurances, I need to pay upfront and then make a claim to the health insurance. This has proven to me to be REALLY ANNOYING. Every time I need to fill in a long form provide documents etc. and wait for their answer.

Question: Is there any health insurance that works internationally and provides this service? In particular I tried Integra Global, which proved to be the worst customer service and service in general I have experienced. Wondering if anyone tried other big players such as Bupa.

  • The question is a bit vague. Which country are you from? Judging by the mention of Bupa in your post I guess Australia. Well, for me GU Health did provide this type of service, but it was a corporate type of cover.
    – NotAName
    Mar 7, 2020 at 9:30
  • It would be worth investigating the main providers listed here healthcoverltd.co.uk/guides/… In general though, it might be difficult to find a provider that always pays first for both inpatient and outpatient. It seems to be much more common for the former, and each insurer may well have their own restrictions, agreements with specific medical care providers etc
    – Traveller
    Mar 7, 2020 at 9:44
  • International SOS has a large network of local partners that seem to do this, at least in the US. YMMV. Mar 7, 2020 at 10:57

2 Answers 2


Chinese company Ping An insurance has direct billing globally if you have their most expensive service, note however that it can only be bought by companies and requires a minimum of 6 policies to be bought.

I have personally used it for over 10 years in a multitude of countries and never paid anything, simply showed my insurance card and lately virtual card from their app and everything has been handled for me.

I have used it for both emergency care and scheduled appointments.

I am a swedish passport holder with a china permanent residency, I am unsure if the china permanent residency is a requirement to buy the insurance though.

NOTE: I am in no way affiliated with Ping An insurance I am simply speaking from my personal experience as their customer.

  • Thank you so much. The problem is that I need it for personal use, not company policy.
    – Traveller
    Mar 8, 2020 at 14:18

GeoBlue Travel Insurance. I have nothing to do with them except as a satisfied customer. They have "network" hospitals/clinics all over the world. At least in a large city such as Beijing, I found several in-network clinics and hospitals with English speaking clinicians. Once at the clinic, I called GeoBlue and requested a pre-authorization for payment. They then emailed a claim form to the clinic for my signature, the clinic emailed the form back. Then within fifteen minutes or so, GeoBlue emailed the clinic a payment authorization to a certain dollar limit based on my claim info. I received services and the clinic was paid $800 directly by GeoBlue. The clinic submitted the receipts and injury result justifying treatment directly to GeoBlue. No followup paperwork for me. I am American and this policy only applies out of country. Don't know if they have citizenship restrictions for the prospective subscriber..

  • Thank you for the info. The point is, you need a pre-authorization, right? Do you know if they work so efficiently also in other countries other than China?
    – Traveller
    Mar 8, 2020 at 14:20
  • The pre-authorization request was me telling the GeoBlue rep on the phone (who is US based, 24hr) that I was assaulted and may have a broken arm. Then he processed the paperwork on his end and emailed the clinic within 15 minutes. Don't think of pre-authorization like in the US where you need the doctor's recommendations and where it takes days or weeks for approval. Mar 9, 2020 at 18:30
  • Ok, still you need to make a phone call, and get the pre-authorisation. It is good to know is so great but still not exactly what I am looking for. I am looking for an insurance that works like local insurances where you do not need a pre-authorisation.
    – Traveller
    Mar 21, 2020 at 6:35

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