Health Care And Retiring Abroad

If you have made the decision to retire abroad, then you will need to consider the implications this has on your current health care plan.


Many health insurance companies in the United States will not offer coverage once you have chosen to move overseas at the onset of your retirement. There are select health care plans that will offer coverage once you have moved abroad for emergency purposes only. To ensure you are receiving full coverage after you have moved out of the U.S. you will need to find a health care plan conducive to your international lifestyle.

Whether you choose to cover your medical expenses with cash or you opt for international insurance, there are options available to you to ensure you are receiving the health care you need into your retirement years. This article will explore the options providing accessible health insurance to individuals who choose to settle into retirement overseas.

How to Find the Best Health Care Options

The first step toward receiving health care once you retire abroad is to determine which option works best for your specific needs. Part of planning for health care costs during retirement involves considerations like out-of-pocket costs and monthly premiums. You may wish to retain your health insurance in the U.S. through your standard insurance company if you plan to travel back and forth to visit family throughout your retirement. For instance, if you have an ongoing health condition and you prefer to receive treatment in America, then you can retain your current insurance plan and pay for medical costs in cash while living abroad should the need arise. However, if you have an ongoing health condition and you prefer maximum coverage regardless of where you are in the world, then you may want to seek insurance from other countries where you will be.

The cost of health care in foreign countries is typically lower than the cost of health care in the U.S. and you may find paying cash for medical expenses is more attainable than you previously expected. If you need to visit a hospital in Spain for a medical emergency, then it will cost you approximately $500 in comparison to the $1,400 this same visit would cost you in the United States. By paying cash when you need access to medical coverage abroad and retaining your American health insurance plan at the same time, you may have fewer medical costs than paying for two policies. Additionally, this option may be beneficial for individuals who choose to continue his or her medical care in the United States even after moving overseas.

If you want to switch to a health care plan provided by an international insurer, then you can choose to do so once you have taken up residence outside of the United States. There are numerous international health insurance policies available to U.S. retirees who chose to live abroad in expat communities following retirement. You can select a plan in the same way you would select a health care plan in America. International health insurance policies are offered at different coverage levels and will stipulate varying deductible amounts as well.

How to Find the Best Places to Retire Based on Health Care Coverage

For those of you who want to make the switch to an international health care plan, you may want to spend time researching which retirement destinations across the globe offer the best health insurance to expatriates. There are a number of good locations for retiring abroad, but if you are looking to move somewhere warm following your retirement, then choosing to live in Latin America may be beneficial, as Latin American countries offer desirable health insurance plans. Mexico has one of the most progressive health care policies in Latin America and has an array of clinics and hospitals located throughout the country where you will be able to receive immediate or ongoing care. Panama City also offers inexpensive health care plans as well as affordable medical treatments, which you may want to consider if you are still choosing a location for your retirement home.

European countries also offer affordable health care coverage for expatriates who choose to live abroad following their retirement. France is renowned for its health care system and boasts the best medical coverage in the world. Italy and Portugal provide desirable health care for individuals who are looking for health care coverage after moving away from the United States. Hospitals located throughout Europe are of the same high quality as the hospitals found in America, so you will receive the same level of coverage and comfort you are used to back home.


Joining a National Health Care System

If you have made the decision to join a national health care system to receive medical coverage while living abroad, then the process of applying is easy and straightforward. You will first need to determine whether your American health insurance plan will offer any level of coverage once you have moved overseas before settling on an international plan. If you currently receive benefits through Medicare, then you will not receive coverage on any level once you have moved from the United States, which may decrease the length of time your retirement savings can cover. Some insurance companies will offer coverage on an emergency basis and this will influence the amount of coverage you seek overseas. Once you have determined if you will still receive coverage from your U.S. health care provider you can begin the process of applying for coverage through the national health care system.

American citizens are permitted to apply for most programs provided by the national health care system. The level of health care you are afforded will vary depending upon the country you choose to live in following your retirement. National health care systems in Europe are subsidized whereas health care systems in Latin America are offered on a basic level to expatriates. Regardless of where you choose to live abroad, you will be able to access international insurance through the national health care system. International insurance can be purchased for an affordable amount and will cover you through most serious medical issues. However, if you need a higher level of coverage to assist with an ongoing ailment or injury you will need to repeatedly see a doctor for, then you will need to take this into consideration when choosing an international health care plan.


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