It can be challenging enough to find decent, affordable health insurance here at home, with so many insurance companies and options on the market – but what happens when you decide to leave the United States and live in a foreign country? In this article we will take an in-depth look at health insurance for expats and how one can ensure that they aren’t moving to a new country without having adequate health care coverage.
First – if you are an expat that’s moving out of the country for work-related reasons, it’s best to check with someone at your firm that is already on the ground to see what kind of health insurance for expats the company offers. Most international or global firms will have some form of health insurance for their employees, especially if they are actively having their staff members move from their home country to a new location. If you have some form of health insurance for expats available through work, it may be far less expensive than trying to find something on the market.
Next, you’ll want to find an insurance company that offers health insurance for expats which includes access to a network of hospitals or other medical treatment centers in your new country of residence. Similar to how health care networks function here in the United States, most insurers who have a global presence will have partnerships with medical treatment facilities in other countries. Purchasing health insurance for expats is of little use if there’s no local treatment facility should you end up becoming injured or sick; stick with an insurer that has at least a few locations in your new area and be sure to check them out when you get your feet on the ground.
If you’re going to be out of the country on a short-term basis, ranging from a few days up to a year or so, you can generally get away with some form of travel health insurance for expats. All insurance companies offer travel health insurance that will include medical care for emergencies in any country, as well as some other very helpful things like passport replacement, emergency air ambulance and more.
Those that are moving out of the United States for more than a year will want to look in to a long-term health insurance for expats plan. These insurance plans are far different than travel insurance plans, as they take semi-permanent residency into account and can generally offer things like multiple doctor visits, regular vaccines or immunizations, maternity coverage, preventive care benefits, and more. Ensure that you read through the fine print on every health insurance for expats that you consider, as they generally have a number of different requirements that must be met for full coverage to take place.
When researching through the different insurance companies that offer health insurance for expats, try to look for ones that offer worldwide coverage services. Many expats have gone ahead and purchased health insurance that is valid in their new country of residence, only to have to leave shortly after for some other work project or for a new job. If you’re going to go through the trouble to purchase health insurance for expats instead of looking for health insurance locally, you might as well ensure that whatever insurance company you go with is capable of offering services to you no matter where in the world you are.
Finally, it’s worth checking in to health insurance for expats that includes some form of air ambulance or extraction services if you’re going to be living in a country that typically offers sub-par medical care. No matter where you are in the world, there is always a risk that you will end up suffering a severe injury or illness, especially if you are in a high-risk job or are at an older age. When you have health insurance for expats that includes extraction services, you can rest assured that no matter what kind of illness you develop, you will be flown to a hospital or other medical treatment center that is capable of providing you with medical care of a higher quality than that available locally.
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