Expat Health Insurance

Shawn Plummer

CEO, The Annuity Expert

Let’s face it—living abroad is an exciting chapter in anyone’s life. Whether you’ve relocated for work, retirement, or the sheer thrill of adventure, there’s a new world to explore. But amidst the wanderlust and excitement, a crucial topic deserves your undivided attention: expat health insurance. Why? Because nothing throws a wrench in your plans like unexpected medical bills in a foreign country. This guide breaks down the ins and outs of expat health insurance so you can make informed choices that serve your best interests. Let’s dive in!

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Why Do Expats Need Health Insurance?

The Critical Importance of Being Insured

While skipping on health insurance might seem tempting, especially if you’re young and healthy, the risk isn’t worth it. Medical emergencies can happen to anyone, anytime. If you’re not insured, you could be looking at steep medical bills that can quickly spiral out of control.

Example: Imagine you suffer severe food poisoning and require hospitalization while living in Japan. Without insurance, you could end up paying thousands of dollars out-of-pocket.

Peace of Mind

Beyond the financial aspect, knowing you’re covered provides immense peace of mind. You can fully immerse yourself in your new environment without worrying, “What if something happens to me?”

Types of Expat Health Insurance

Local Health Insurance Plans

These plans provide coverage only within the country where you’re residing. They’re typically cheaper but unsuitable if you travel frequently or move countries.

Example: A local Spanish health insurance plan would cover your medical needs if you reside solely in Spain.

Expat International Health Insurance

Unlike local plans, expat international health insurance offers a broader range of coverage that typically includes multiple countries, sometimes even worldwide. This type is ideal for frequent travelers or those who plan to move from one country to another.

Example: You’re an expat in Germany but travel frequently to neighboring countries for work. An international health insurance plan would ensure that you’re covered across borders.

Expat Health Insurance Costs

What Factors Affect Expat Health Insurance Costs?

Age and Medical History

Like any other insurance policy, your age and medical history will significantly determine your premiums.

Geographic Coverage

The more comprehensive the geographic coverage, the more expensive the policy. Some plans even allow you to customize your coverage area to suit your needs.

Additional Benefits

Optional add-ons like dental care, maternity coverage, and vision care can also impact the overall cost.

Example: An expat health insurance plan with global coverage and add-ons like dental and vision care can cost significantly more than a basic plan with local coverage.

Choosing the Right Global Expat Health Insurance Plan

Assess Your Individual Needs

Before diving into various plans, assessing your specific needs is crucial. Are you traveling solo or with family? Do you have pre-existing medical conditions?

Shop Around

It pays to shop around and compare different plans. Look for trusted providers, and don’t hesitate to ask for referrals from other expats.

Read the Fine Print

Always read the terms and conditions carefully. Understand what is covered and what isn’t and how to make claims.

Expat Health Insurance

Next Steps

Living abroad is an enriching experience, but securing the right expat health insurance is essential to enjoy it. Understand why it’s crucial, explore the types of plans available, and take note of what factors affect the cost. Knowledge will empower you to select a plan that aligns perfectly with your needs and lifestyle. You didn’t move across the world to stress about healthcare; you did it to embrace new opportunities. So make the smart choice today and invest in your peace of mind.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How long can a us citizen live abroad?

A U.S. citizen can live abroad indefinitely, but there are tax and legal considerations to remember, such as filing U.S. taxes and potentially reporting foreign bank accounts. Absence from the U.S. can also impact eligibility for certain benefits like Medicare.

Do US expats pay Medicare?

Yes, U.S. expats who qualify for Medicare are required to pay Medicare taxes through the Self-Employment Contributions Act (SECA) or Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) taxes, even while living abroad. However, Medicare coverage typically only applies within the United States.

How does social security work for expats?

U.S. expats can still collect Social Security benefits while living abroad, provided they are eligible. However, certain countries may have restrictions due to bilateral agreements. Expats must also continue to file U.S. taxes to maintain Social Security eligibility and report any work abroad.

Shawn Plummer

CEO, The Annuity Expert

Shawn Plummer is a licensed insurance agent and annuity broker with over a decade of in-depth experience. Since beginning his journey in 2009, he has not only been pivotal in selling and educating about annuities and insurance products but has also played an instrumental role in training financial advisors for a prestigious Fortune Global 500 insurance company, Allianz. His insights and expertise have made him a sought-after voice in the industry, leading to features in renowned publications such as Time Magazine, Bloomberg, Entrepreneur, Yahoo! Finance, MSN, SmartAsset, The Simple Dollar, U.S. News and World Report, Women’s Health Magazine, and many more. Shawn’s driving ambition? To simplify retirement planning, he ensures his clients understand their choices and secure the best insurance coverage at unbeatable rates.

The Annuity Expert is an independent online insurance agency servicing consumers across the United States. The goal is to help you take the guesswork out of retirement planning and find the best insurance coverage at the cheapest rates. 

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