Expat Insurance

Jason Ippolito/CC ~BY 2.0

Jason Ippolito/CC ~BY 2.0

So, you finally got out of that awful place and decided to live out your days in paradise. One problem: paradise doesn’t take your expat insurance.

Why expat insurance?

New places bring new challenges. You might love the water, but it might not like you. Your new surroundings may give you asthma or hay fever. You may find true love in paradise, and decide to start a family. No matter how quaint your surroundings are, remember, health care should never be rustic!

Health insurance for expatriates is designed for the long-term traveler.  Basic plans cover the basics. Depending on the level of coverage you’d like, outpatient, vision/dental, even maternity plans are available. Health and wellness plans can include outpatient care and regular monitoring. Pre-existing medical condition policies are also available. The premiums are generally based on age, current medical history, and level of coverage. The policies include global medical protection and can also include medical evacuation services. As a globally-portable policy, travellers may move from one country to the next without loss of coverage.

Policies normally offer two areas of cover: worldwide and worldwide excluding the United States. This is because medical care in the USA is the most expensive in the world. Some plans have direct-pay with hospitals and global networks, so you don’t have to cough up the cash. Unlike short-term travel insurance, these plans are annual, rather than for a specific duration. With expat insurance, policyholders can choose health care providers and institutions.

Before making a decision, read your policy carefully, being careful to mention any pre-existing conditions. Be sure to think of the climate, culture and access to good health care that you will have in your new home, and insure accordingly. Just in case paradise becomes Paradise Lost, know that expatriate health insurance usually doesn’t work back on the old sod.

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