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Our complete guide to understanding the importance of international health insurance

Our ultimate guide to insurance at the 1st euro: how it works, the advantages and the possible choices

Our complete guide to the CFE: how it works, the offers and the alternatives

First Dollar Health Insurance: A Good or a Bad Idea?



The first dollar health insurance is one of the possible options for people moving abroad. A lot of expats recommend them due to their flexibility and good value for money.

To decide if it’s a good or a bad idea to get one, here you will find some keys that will help you make your choice.

What Is First Dollar Coverage in Health Insurance?

To fully understand what is first dollar coverage in health insurance, you must first understand what is Social Security.

Social Security for Expats

In the countries where it’s available, it’s a public service available to all the citizens. Sometimes it might be mandatory to be affiliated. But this is never the case for expats.

It offers health insurance coverage, occupational hazards, and retirement. For health coverage abroad, reimbursements are made according to the same prices of the care in your home country

Being affiliated with Social Security while you are abroad allows you to keep an administrative link with your country. You will have coverage when you go back home. And you will be contributing to your retirement fund.

Supplementary Insurances

Many insurance companies offer supplementary coverage to Social Security. It works somewhat like mutual insurance companies. Some even have special agreements with Social Security for smoother administrative management.

This solution allows you to benefit from higher reimbursements. This is important in countries where healthcare is particularly expensive, such as Norway, Switzerland, or Australia.

In addition, supplementary insurance plans often offer more extensive coverage than Social Security. For example, most of them cover repatriation. On the other hand, a subscription to Social Security is mandatory to join these types of plans.

First Dollar Health Insurance for Expatriates

Unlike supplementary policies, first dollar insurance does not imply any other compulsory membership. Thus, a single company will manage all the paperwork and reimbursements.

It takes care of the member’s health expenses from the first dollar or euro spent, hence its name.

Advantages and Disadvantages of First Dollar Coverage Health Insurance

When talking about supplementary insurance and 1st dollar/euro policies, it is difficult to identify a single “best” solution. The choice depends on your situation, the country where you are moving to, and the duration of the expatriation.

Also, on the type of coverage sought and the preferences in terms of management.

The Advantages of Expat First Dollar Insurance

The main advantage of a first-dollar health insurance plan is its simplicity of management. A single contact, a single contract, and faster reimbursements.

In addition, since Social Security is not required, people who do not meet the necessary conditions to affiliate can subscribe to these policies.

For those whose expatriation is likely to last long, maintaining an administrative link with their home country may be more uncomfortable than beneficial.

The guarantees offered by an expatriate insurance policy from the 1st euro are generally more flexible than those of the Social Security supplements. People with specific needs or requests will undoubtedly find what they need.

Disadvantages of a First-Dollar Health Insurance Plan

Since first dollar health insurance covers expenses from the first dollar/euro spent, the fees are sometimes higher than the supplementary insurances.

The only other real disadvantage of this type of policy is that it implies the rupture of the administrative link your home country Social Security. You will have to take the necessary steps to re-affiliate if you return to France.

Frequently Asked Questions About First Dollar Health Insurance

What Is the Advantage of Subscribing First Dollar Insurance?

The insurance from the first dollar/euro has many advantages:
– Simplicity of management
– It is not necessary to join the Social Security
– The guarantees offered are generally more flexible.

What Are the Limits of These Policies?

The first dollar coverage health insurance has some limitations:
– The fees are generally high
– It implies breaking the administrative link with your home country’s Social Security.

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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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