One thing that should be organised before you leave for your expat adventure should be international health insurance. Your company may have already arranged your insurance, but you should always check the details.
Why do I need expat health insurance?
Expat, or international health insurance is designed to cover people who leave their country of origin to move abroad permanently. The laws on having medical insurance and the type you need vary considerably, but the following are some common reasons why you need it:
- The country you are moving to legally requires you to have private medical insurance.
- The standard of health care in your new country doesn’t meet your standards or needs.
- You may struggle with local language barriers and prefer to use a private health care provider.
- While the quality may be good, health care is very expensive in your destination.
Why not wait until I arrive?
If you wait until you reach your new home health insurance could take several weeks to set up and start covering you. These weeks would mean you and your family weren’t covered for medical expenses. If something were to happen and you needed emergency care the cost could spiral without insurance coverage.
What coverage will I need?
Depending on your destination and nationality the level of coverage you require will vary. Most countries offer information regarding health care online.
- EU – The NHS website in the UK offers information regarding health care policies in EU countries for EU citizens.
- USA – The State Department website gives information to US citizens moving abroad.
- Australia – The Australian government has published an online booklet covering all aspects of the health system.
- Canada – The government in Canada has a website in both French and English detailing the health system.
Check Expat Health for the second part of this series – what to look for when buying expat health insurance.