Monday, 11 October 2010

Expat guide to healthcare

When moving abroad the healthcare provision can often be very different to what you’re used to back home, both in terms of cost and availability. Private medical insurance is included in many relocation packages but what if your expat adventure is more of a DIY job? How can you best ensure you and your family are able to access affordable and quality healthcare?

For those who are EU citizens moving within Europe then you will be entitled to the same access to healthcare facilities as the locals. Being aware of what you are entitled to locally is important so that you don’t become victim of healthcare scams. For example as this article discusses how some UK residents ended up being charged for European healthcare cards that are available free from their national health service.

Arranging healthcare provisions can also be problematic for those who are not EU citizens or for those moving further afield. Most expats will opt to take out some form of private medical insurance but with the number of companies offering different policies and terms, sifting through page after page of small print can be bewildering. It might be worth having a look at this article by HR Magazine that looks at how to go about choosing a private medical insurer.

As well as seeking medical treatment abroad, expats should also consider what health requirements and restrictions the governments in their new homes have on those seeking work visas. The Daily Telegraph for example discusses changes in UAE vaccination regulations. Even if your new home does not mandate certain vaccinations it is always advisable to check what local vaccinations are recommended and ensure you leave enough time before you travel to complete any courses of drugs you need. The Travel Doctor website has region by region lists of the vaccinations you need before you travel.


  1. I recommend the following company’s plan:
    It provides coverage for treatment/diagnosis of injuries and illnesses sustained, as well as treatment needed for emergency-onset pre-existing conditions. Everyone qualifies and the plan is emailed to you within 10 minutes of purchasing through the link I posted, above. I bought the plan for my husband, and was very glad to have the relief of coverage in case something happened during his travels. They also have direct billing set up for MANY international doctors and hospitals. For long-term international coverage, try:
    Best of luck!!

  2. I understand you on this, My hubby and I currently does now have any health insurance coz we both transferred to companies who does not provide.. I guess we will settle for the local/government health card here..

  3. The EU healthcare card do have flaw for expatriates, and it is they don't provide a holder of the card with repatriate costs. This can be one the mostly costly services a patient may need to pay for, if they fall seriously ill.

    Brokers such as Globalsurance are also a good source of information for expat, as they specialize in worldwide medical and health insurance for expatriates.

  4. As you wrote, finding an international medical insurance could be long and complicated for expats. Benefits, conditions, pricing,...are different from one insurer to another one. Plus, you have to consider the services : advices, helpline, claims and so on.
    A specialized broker may help you without additional costs. Don't hesitate !


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