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Health Insurance Abroad: Which Option Is the Best?

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Summary

Anybody about to move to another country should take in mind the need of having proper medical coverage.

A health insurance abroad will save you money, time and headaches if something unexpected happens.

In this article you can find out what is the most suitable medical insurance for moving abroad. You will read about the different options so you can make an informed choice.

Different Options in Medical Insurance for Going Abroad

When it comes to choosing health insurance to move abroad, there are two main options.

The first one is Social Security with a supplementary policy.

The second one is the 1st euro/dollar insurances.

Long Term Medical Insurance Abroad with Your National Social Security

The conditions of Social Security coverage are different from country to country. In some, it doesn’t even exist. While in other, it can cover you when you go abroad as an expat.

Its fees are low compared with other medical insurances. They depend solely on your age and family situation (Solo rate for single persons, Family rate for insured persons with dependents).

In most cases, your level of income doesn’t have any influence on the price or the coverage offered.

The contributions are now quite high in many countries. And this makes Social Security uncompetitive, except for young people.

Finally, its reimbursements are based on your home country’s scales. They do not reflect the real cost of health care in your country of residence.

In other words, a consultation could be reimbursed according to the same rates as your country. Even if the rate charged abroad is double or triple.

Supplementary Policies

There are complementary plans to supplement the coverage offered by Social Security. They grant you more complete health insurance abroad.

With them, you will benefit from better reimbursements and more diversified guarantees.

Private Medical Insurance for Moving Abroad: 1st Dollar Policies

The 1st euro/dollar health insurances are private policies that work according to a totally different system.

They cover the insured’s health expenses from the first euro/dollar spent, hence their name.

Their system of reimbursement or coverage is totally independent of any public organization. It can cover all health expenses alone.

Take in mind that in some countries is mandatory to affiliate with the local health system. You will have to pay its fees even if you already have a private plan.

The level of coverage, the number of contributions, and the benefits included are determined by contract. It’s possible to add or remove items based on your personal situation.

The basic offers generally include coverage of health expenses, hospitalization, and repatriation assistance.

But it is also possible to insure oneself in case of injuries caused to a third party.

Also against theft or loss of personal belongings, cancellation of flights, or even for the practice of certain sports considered risky.

The more protective the contract, the higher the premium, as a general rule.

How to Choose your Health Insurance Abroad?

When moving abroad, it is important to take the time to choose your expatriate health insurance and to ask yourself the right questions.

According to which Criteria should I Choose my Health Insurance?

Each personal situation is different. And you should choose your long-term medical insurance abroad based on it. The main criteria to consider are the following:

  • How does the host country’s health care system work and what is the cost of care?
  • What are the probable care needs?
  • What is your family situation?
  • How long will the expatriation last?

It is also possible to use tools to make a choice. In particular online insurance comparison sites, which allow you to obtain a number of offers free of charge.

They come together with detailed guarantees and quotes.

In any case, some general advice can help you choose between Social Security and 1st dollar insurance.

Social Security: Advantages and Disadvantages

Medical Insurance for Going Abroad without Medical Questionnaire

Social Security does not require a medical questionnaire and covers all medical history.

It is a good choice for people with chronic illnesses, complex surgeries, or pre-existing medical conditions.

Therefore, there is no need to worry about possible additional premiums or exclusions of coverage. And even less about a refusal of membership, contrary to what can happen with private companies.

The other advantage is that you maintain an administrative link with your home country’s system. This might simplify your administrative procedures when you return to your home.

Lack of Flexibility

Take in mind that this medical insurance for moving abroad is not flexible at all. It will rarely adapt to your particular situation, or let you add and remove coverage.

Repatriation insurance, for example, is not included in the contracts.

In order to benefit from this coverage, which is essential when you go abroad. You will need to subscribe to a complementary plan.

Health Insurance Abroad with a More Complex Management

On the one hand, the member must often advance the hospitalization fees.

This can be expensive in many countries where the health systems are private, as in the USA, Latin America, or Asia.

Third-party payment is being developed but is not the rule for all destinations.

On the other hand, the management of reimbursements can be complex. Especially if you have a supplementary policy.

Since your coverages are managed by two organizations, response times will be lengthened.

In case of disputes between both companies, you might need to spend time sending documents and reports to both.

1st Euro Medical Insurance for Moving Abroad: Advantages and Disadvantages

For a person who does not suffer from a chronic disease, the 1st euro/dollar insurances have almost only advantages.

On one hand, the contracts offered are totally flexible: it is possible to add guarantees according to one’s needs.

They can therefore be adapted to the situation of each expatriate, who can thus benefit from a tailor-made coverage or almost.

Many offers are available on the market, so there are solutions for all situations and all budgets.

In addition, international insurance companies are generally experts in the problems encountered when going abroad.

They can offer services adapted to the country of expatriation.

Also, they have adapted health care networks, which favors the quality and level of coverage.

Sometimes you will get benefits such as the waiver of advance payment in partner establishments.

Finally, subscribing to this type of medical insurance for going abroad gives you other advantages.

Some of them are dedicated apps to provide documents, and faster response and reimbursement times.

All the management of the contract is done entirely in your language. This is a guarantee of comfort and peace of mind and a good way to avoid surprises.

Especially when you live in a country where the language and the details of the health system are not well understood.

For people with pre-existing medical conditions, a health questionnaire is mandatory at the time of enrollment.

And it can limit the number of guarantees covered, or lead to an increase in the premium.

Anyways, it is still interesting to look at the different offers on the market.

Choosing insurance at the 1st euro as health insurance when you go abroad often presents an excellent quality-price ratio.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Social Security mandatory?

No, it is not mandatory. The countries that provide medical coverage abroad do it as something optional.

Does your income have an influence on Social Security coverage?

In most countries, no. But remember that the reimbursements are often calculated according to the prices in your home country. And this can be insufficient in the place where you are expatriated.

How to choose your long-term medical insurance abroad?

In order to choose the right one, several criteria must be taken into account:

– The health system of the host country and the cost of care
– The probable health care needs of the insured
– The family situation of the insured
– The duration of the expatriation.

What are the disadvantages of Social Security policies abroad?

This type of health insurance abroad can have several disadvantages:

– The benefits and coverage are not flexible
– The obligation to advance hospitalization fees, which can be considerable in many countries
– Response times can be long, especially in the event of a dispute.

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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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