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Medical Insurance Abroad, How Does It Work?

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Summary

Health care systems are different from country to country. And they can seem confusing for foreigners.

It’s important to get familiar with the different types to fully understand if you are covered or if you need to subscribe to medical insurance abroad.

In this article, you can find some tips and guidelines.

Moving Abroad: Medical Insurance With Local Health Care Systems

It is impossible to present here all of the health care systems that exist in the world. But we can identify three main types.

Fully State-Run Systems

Countries in which health insurance is fully covered by the State are very rare today. These are mainly communist regimes such as Cuba or North Korea.

Mixed Systems

Many countries have a mixed public/private health care system, like France. However, there are considerable differences between them.

In some countries, such as Sweden, public health institutions are of high quality and the cost of care is low.

In others, such as many Latin American countries, public health care facilities are of poor quality. And the ones who can afford it, go to private facilities and practitioners.

Fully Private Systems

Finally, in some countries, such as the United States, the health care system is entirely private.

In these countries, patients are responsible for all health care costs, or for the private health insurance, they have purchased. Sometimes, the government provides financial aid to the poorest people.

Moving Abroad: Health Insurance Options Available in the Market

When moving abroad, medical insurance is your responsibility. In some cases, you might still be covered by your country’s Social Security, you can join the local system, or buy a private policy.

Adopt the Local System

The first option is to join the local health insurance system. This may be the most interesting option in countries where contributions to a public system are mandatory and where the system is efficient.

However, you must keep in mind that this option will deprive you of health coverage during your stays in your home country or other territories.

Medical Insurance Abroad With Your country’s Social Security

Your country’s Social Security might still cover you when you go abroad. It’s not the same in all countries, and you should ask the competent organism in yours. However, being affiliated is not mandatory if you are an expat.

Its coverage and reimbursements are calculated following your country’s scales and tops. And they can be insufficient compared to the real health costs in many countries. Finally, it does not offer any flexibility in the coverage it provides to its members.

If you rely on Social Security as your medical insurance abroad, you should consider getting a supplementary policy to solve these issues.

Choose an International Health Insurance From the First Euro

When moving abroad, health insurance policies like the ones “from the first euro/dollar” are really popular among expats.

They cover health expenses from the first euro/dollar spent. This makes all the administrative processes easier and speeds up reimbursements.

In addition, the companies that offer this type of insurance are generally specialists in the sector and have very efficient healthcare networks in most countries.

Finally, they know how to adapt to the situation of each insured. Their flexibility allows each expatriate to choose coverage according to his needs and budget.

For example, it will be possible to add repatriation insurance or health care coverage in any country, including during extended stays in your home country.

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