When planning to move abroad, one of the most pressing issues you’ll need to think about is health insurance. As an expatriate, you will have several options to choose from. You will have the option to pay into the public health insurance scheme in the country you are moving to, purchase a private insurance plan from a local agency, or get international health insurance in your home country. However, before you decide on any of those, you’ll need to learn a little bit more about how medical coverage for expatriates works. Here are 6 things you need to know about ex-pat health insurance.
While this is true even for health insurance in your home country, your medical needs play an even greater role in choosing a plan in another country. When there is a chronic condition or a need for alternative and/or additional medications, your primary focus should be finding coverage for these.
Another question you need to answer is whether you are looking for a plan for just yourself or if you are moving with your family, for others as well. If you have children that’ll be moving with you, you must account for their growing and changing medical needs. There are also the inevitable injuries, dental conditions, and other foreseeable health issues you or your family may face while staying abroad.
Health insurance coverage for expatriates varies greatly depending on the following factors:
When you are moving to a foreign country, it may be tempting to cut some costs, and simply skip out on health insurance, especially if you are otherwise healthy.
However, in some European countries, such as Germany, health insurance is mandatory, even for ex-pats. Make sure to look into information for expats about health insurance in Germany if you plan to work in this country. This may be one of your visa requirements as well. This means that having valid and relevant health insurance coverage will be a prerequisite for you to move. Even if the government does not demand it, your employer might so make sure to look into this as well.
On the brighter side, the optional coverage solutions are often more flexible for expatriates than for nationals. Besides covering your medical costs, you may be provided with repatriation assistance, which – depending on your occupation – can be exceptionally reassuring.
For example, civil liability private life insurance is great for those who travel a lot of work in high-risk places. Work termination compensation can protect you if your employer lets you go due to financial difficulties. Death capital is another insurance option you can choose from. It’s designed to provide financial assistance to your loved ones should you pass away while abroad.
Depending on the type of insurance you are getting, the claims management process may take way longer for you than for nationals. If you are covered under a private plan, you probably won’t notice this so much. However, if you have public insurance, you certainly will.
Most countries prioritize the reimbursements for nationals, so you may need to wait a little more for yours. Make sure to look into how you can file a claim, and how long the healthcare cost reimbursement process takes in that country.
Last but not least, you must consider the deductibles. The costs of different deductibles can vary from one insurer to another, so it’s really worth comparing the prices. In countries where health insurance is mandatory for everyone, insurance companies often take advantage by offering higher deductibles for ex-pats. The most notable differences are typically in the annual caps, so make sure to look into this to avoid any surprises.
As you can see, there are many reasons why ex-pat health insurance is not to be taken lightly. In some countries, one’s work visa is tied to health, home, and vehicle insurance plans. Your employer may also require that you have all of these covered before hiring you. While it may not seem like the most budget-friendly option for most expatriates, having proper coverage will save you from many headaches and added stress while abroad. This is particularly true if your work involves traveling to multiple countries.