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Our complete guide to understanding the importance of international health insurance

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What Is the Best Insurance for Expatriates?



When it comes to insurance for expatriates, it is not easy to make a choice. We will help you to better understand the market by presenting the advantages and disadvantages of the main insurance solutions for people living abroad.

Insurance for Expatriates Through Social Security

Some countries offer Social Security coverage to the citizens that move abroad.

An Insurance Valid Only for Some Expats

Most of the time, this option is open to all, but it is not mandatory for anyone. Its main advantage is in the fact that no medical questionnaire has to be filled out upon enrollment. And, since it’s a public service, it can refuse to insure any person or apply additional fees.

One of its downsides is that it might be available only for short stays abroad. So, people moving long-term to a new country will not be covered. It will be necessary to get international medical insurance for expatriates.

Limited Reimbursements

The fees often depend on the age of the insured his/her family situation. They are generally higher than the rates charged by private insurance companies.

As for reimbursements, they are based on your home country’s scales. You will be covered up to the price of each service there, regardless of what you have paid.

Consequently, these reimbursements are insufficient in many countries (such as the United States or Switzerland, for example) where health costs are among the highest in the world.

In any case, you will have to cover the remaining expenses from your pocket.

Expat Private Health Insurance

Those who wish to have good medical coverage should get expat private health insurance instead of relying on their country’s Social Security.

Social Security Supplementary Insurance

As you just saw, the coverage provided by Social Security is limited. And the policies are not very flexible compared to other insurance offers.

Repatriation assistance, for example, is not covered. And is one of the services that should be included in any insurance for expatriates.

Some people still want to use their home country’s Social Security if they suffer from pre-existing medical conditions. And to benefit from a more efficient service, it’s possible to get a supplementary policy.

These contracts are marketed by private companies. You must therefore pay an additional fee and manage two separate contracts with two different entities.

International Medical Insurance for Expatriates From the First Euro

The so-called “first euro” (or “first dollar”) insurances are policies for expatriates that cover health expenses abroad from the first euro spent, up to the actual costs.

This type of insurance does not require Social Security membership, unlike the complementary insurance plans. But it provides the same level of coverage.

This type of insurance is characterized by its flexibility. In addition to coverage of health expenses, it is possible to benefit from additional services.

For example, protection of luggage or identity papers against loss or theft, insurance of airline tickets in case of cancellation, legal assistance, or civil liability.

The variety of packages offered allows you to benefit from very complete and almost tailor-made coverage. And to find a solution that fits your budget. Specific offers also exist for certain destinations or specific situations (PVT, students, etc.)

The cost/reimbursement ratio of these insurances is generally better than that of Social Security. In addition, they offer better services, such as the waiver of advance payment in case of hospitalization, faster reimbursements, or a dedicated app to manage your policy.

However, it is important to take into account that the companies marketing this type of insurance have a compulsory medical questionnaire at the time of enrollment.

It can lead to certain exclusions of coverage or increases in premiums in case of chronic illnesses or medical history.

Frequently Asked Questions About Insurance for Expatriates

What Is the Best International Medical Insurance for Expatriates?

Expatriates can choose between two health insurance solutions:
– Social Security with a supplementary policy
– Private insurances “from the first euro/dollar”. They, are often more efficient and provide better reimbursements.

Is Social Security Membership Mandatory?

In the countries where it is available, Social Security is open to everyone and can cover citizens that go abroad. But it is not mandatory in this last case. Each expatriate is, therefore, free to subscribe to this insurance or to choose a more advantageous solution.

How Is Social Security’s Fee Calculated?

The amount to be paid often depends on the age and family situation of the insured. It is generally higher than the rates charged by private insurance companies.

What Are the Private Insurances for Expatriates?

– Supplementary policies to the Social Security
– Insurance for expatriates from the first euro.

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This is also interesting:

What countries should I move to? The best countries to move to are not the same for everyone! Finding the ideal destination depends first of all on what is expected on a personal level.

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