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Expat health insurance: How to choose the best expat insurance

Expat health insurance

After taking the huge step of relocating to a new country, it’s important to ensure all aspects of your new life are secure, particularly when it comes to organising your expat health insurance. Ensuring that you and your family can access healthcare abroad is one of the first things you should organise – because no one can predict when an emergency or health issue might arise.

If you wait until you are sick, the process of arranging expatriate healthcare could prolong getting timely treatment or end up very costly. Organising adequate expat health insurance is particularly important for those who have pre-existing health issues that require ongoing monitoring.

Organising healthcare in a new country requires several (sometimes timely) steps: finding and registering with a doctor, locating the nearest hospital, emergency numbers and ambulance services, and checking what expat medical insurance you need to be permitted access to healthcare services.

Good expat insurance is important no matter where you live, but certain factors change when living as a foreigner abroad. For example, is local public or private health insurance adequate available to you, or do you need to consider an expat health insurance plan?

  1. Make note of country-specific factors when choosing expat health insurance because healthcare access can be quite different to what you’re used to back home. 
  2. Make certain there are no gaps in your health insurance coverage. You may be fortunate enough to access subsidised healthcare in your new country of residence, but take into account that not all public healthcare systems provide all-encompassing or full coverage.
  3. If you are employed, find out if your employer provides coverage. It’s important to make sure you understand the insurance offered by your employer. Is your family included in the policy? Do you have any pre-existing conditions not covered by the policy? Does your insurance plan cover you when you visit home? You may be offered a cheaper insurance policy but make sure it is adequate.
  4. Which insurance coverage do you need: local, private or expat insurance? 
  5. Choose a health insurance plan tailored to your needs. International health insurance companies offer a wide range of levels of expat medical insurance coverage –  but what services do you realistically need or use? You need to decide on this before you make a decision.

It’s important to research, compare, and consider the costs and coverage. You can find many websites that provide an expat health insurance comparison, so you can get a quick glance at what different insurance companies provide, and for what cost.

Source: Expatica