Americans Helping Americans Abroad

Almost 70 people signed up for this meeting at the brand new headquarters of MSH International in the 17th Arrondissement. Since it is their new headquarters in the Batignolles neighborhood with lots of construction that may have hindered finding the locale, so this report and the video will be especially important.

MSH had four presenters: Laurent COCHET, Executive Director of MSH, subsidiary of Siaci Saint Honoré; Stephanie DELAVIE, in charge of the AARO since 2003, Laurent CHARRET, Partnership Director; and Dr. Annie PEYTAVIN, Medical Director.

The presentation provided an overview of the MSH and the AARO plan. Due to time constraints, not all questions could be taken.

MSH, in General

MSH International is a subsidiary of Siaci Saint Honoré (S2H). Its specificity is offering international health care and death liability for all sorts of clients, from multinational corporations, small businesses, NGO’s, international organizations (UNESCO was cited), and individuals. AARO’s plan comes under the “individual” banner. Members of AARO who join the plan, join as individuals. The company, on the whole, covers over 300,000 people; 505 are currently in the AARO plan.

MSH concentrates on providing medical expertise. They take into account risk factors, with medical selection, at the time of application to the plan; they manage serious cases; they can help the insured get second opinion; and they coordinate assistance in case medical evacuation is required. Claims can be made online via the new MSH mobile app or the MSH secure area on the website, which both take uploaded scanned documents and allow clients to access their records, find health professionals and make appointments, etc.

The four regional headquarters in Calgary, CA; Paris, FR; Dubai, UAE; and Shanghai, CN assure 24/7 coverage, wherever the patient is. In many instances, MSH can offer direct billing, so the insured member has no outlay.

The AARO Plan, in Particular

The plan is fully described in the brochure.

Where are we covered?

Everywhere in the world, with the exception of countries at war. Even then, if you are a member of the plan and live in a country where war breaks out, you will be covered as much as possible. This question was asked and the answer was that if the patient needed medical evacuation but the provider was not able to fly in and out, then they would not be able to help. Everything possible would be done to try.

Coverage in the US is limited to 30 days, but this is no longer 30 consecutive days. If you go to the US in February and have to consult a doctor, that counts as one day. If you return in the summer and find yourself hospitalized for a week, that’s an additional 7 days. If you return at the end of the year for the holidays and fall ill, again, you have not, yet, used up your time. You will be covered up to the limit of 30 days in total.

Who can join?

  • Current members of AARO can join the plan. If you do not renew your membership in AARO, you will be dropped from the plan. Coverage begins the 1st of the month following acceptance into the plan. It continues as long as AARO membership is maintained, with payment of the insurance premium, and primary residence continues outside the United States.
  • Only American citizens can join. They can include non-American dependents and spouses on their plan as long as they are all living together, with some exceptions.. They must reside outside the United States.
  • There is NO age limit. This is almost unheard of in the world of such insurance coverage, today. There is a medical history questionnaire and risk analysis when you apply to join the plan. The risk analysis takes into account pre-existing conditions and where you live. For people living in France, who are covered by French Social Security and are applying for complementary coverage, the plan can cover more risk than in some other countries.

What coverage?

There are 3 choices of benefits: inpatient only; inpatient plus medical (including maternity); inpatient, medical, plus dental and optical. There are 2 levels of coverage Silver (80%) and Gold (100%). Two options: first “euro” (full coverage, no deductible) or, i some countries, as a top up supplement to national health insurance (currently: France, Belgium, Austria, and Czech Republic). Call MSH for more information) or full coverage under the “First Euro” option. Swiss Life is the underwriter for the insurance and EuropAssistance provides the medical assistance and evacuation when the insured member is traveling.

80 or 100% of how much?

  • Reimbursements in France are for “reasonable and customary” charges, which may be up to 400% of the French social security rates. The supplemental version is, in France, therefore allowed to reimburse more than the country's mutuelles or complementary policies.
  • In countries other than the United States, reimbursements are for up to 80% (Silver) or 100% (Gold) of reasonable and customary charges; in the United States they are 80% whether Silver or Gold.

Why is this a good plan?

  • Again, there is no age limit; any AARO member, US citizen can subscribe, no matter how old.
  • There is no annual ceiling on the benefits, something that is no longer found in the insurance market.
  • You are a member for life, as long as you maintain your AARO membership, too.
  • The premiums are excellent value and they are relatively stable. There was a 4% increase in 2014, none in 2015 and 2016, 2.5% in 2017 and none for 2018. Compared to other insurers, this is remarkable.

Why should you consider joining the plan?

For yourself and your family: If you are American and live outside the United States, you need health coverage of some sort. This plan is not expensive and very complete. It is, by no means, limited to US citizens in France.

The more people join the plan, the better the premiums can be kept stable and low. The younger the people who join the plan, the more the premiums can be kept stable and low.