Healthcare is a top priority for expats retiring or relocating for an assignment to a new country, but finding the right cover is not always easy.
Many countries expect expats to have the correct healthcare cover on arrival.
Most companies will provide healthcare cover as part of their benefits package for expats on assignment, but individuals on the move must sort out their own medical insurance.
Here are some top tips to bear in mind when buying expat healthcare insurance:
If you are on assignment with your family, does the corporate plan give them all the benefits they need as well, or do you need a top up?
Typical points to watch are arrangements for medical evacuation if you are in a country without top-class facilities, how the cover deals with pregnancy and what happens if you quit your job but remain in the country as an expat.
Age limits are important, especially if you are retiring. If you cancel your cover or want to change insurers, you may find yourself in an age limbo that exposes you to personally paying for your medical bills, which will make a severe dent in your retirement income and savings if you suffer a major illness.
Changing medical conditions can also cost a fortune. You’re likely to complete a medical history questionnaire when signing up for cover, but on renewal, if new conditions have presented, you may face a refusal to insure or a massive hike in prices.
Check out the company’s small print and go for one that does not adjust prices on renewal according to your claim history.
Moving on assignment can cause health insurance issues as well. Cover will cost more in the USA, but also in a host of other countries.
If you are already dealing with a chronic illness, taking medication regularly or requiring ongoing treatment, it is important to understand that it is not an impossible task to find an insurance company that will provide you with coverage.
A sad fact is many people cut corners with medical insurance and spend much less on their health each month than they might on eating out or cable TV.
Health insurance will take a big bite out of your income as you get older.
Some expats find that the government in their new home demands they have a certain level of cover, but the cost is just too much, and they must relocate elsewhere.
Consider this before moving, if you can’t afford healthcare, you may find your new home is a financial burden and that you might not have the funds to buy a property elsewhere.