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Health Insurance for Expatriates

November 21st, 2012 by The JetSetter Team | Comments Off on Health Insurance for Expatriates

Bills can run the gamut from a mild annoyance to complete financial devastation. Before setting down roots for any length in a foreign country, you owe it to yourself to know the score when it comes to health care and be darn sure you can afford to get sick.

For some expatriates, students and those with work permits in countries with nationalized health care, finding insurance isn’t that big of a deal. A university sponsoring a study abroad program will likely have a mandatory health insurance program you can participate in. If this turns out NOT to be the case, many travel companies provides affordable student options for up to two years.

But what’s a budding expatriate to do if he or she isn’t a student and doesn’t have a job lined up yet? Well, in the first place, if you’re not independently wealthy, what the heck are you thinking heading to another country without a job? Did you eat paint chips as a child? Back on the serious side now, many nations with national health care systems allow you to buy in with annual or monthly dues which are normally not excessively expensive.

Keep in mind that the drawback to many of these “socialist” style systems is that services are stretched to the limit and expect to encounter long waits and a standard of care that is probably lower than what you’ve come to expect in the United States. Cuba is a good example of this. The government operates a national system that assumes financial and administrative responsibility for the health care of all its citizens. In fact, there is no such thing as a private hospital or clinic. ALL health services are a result of Fidel’s revolutionary success way back in 1959.

As mentioned earlier, comprehensive health insurance is available from travel companies and other insurers, but you might find the cost prohibitive. If your target country isn’t crawling with indigenous health threats and random infectious diseases (tropical and developing areas especially), it would be quite unwise to make the trip until you find some sort of reasonable coverage for doctor’s visits, medication, and emergencies. Those in otherwise good health might to save money by only opting for emergency coverage.

The bottom line is that health insurance while traveling or living overseas is a necessary evil. Don’t blithely assume nothing can go wrong because it most certainly can.

The Jetsetter Show Team