Expat Toolkit: Getting Health Insurance Overseas

Sharon  @GoodMigrations

Let’s be honest: finding decent health insurance is difficult. As an expat, finding health insurance after you’ve moved overseas can be difficult. Every country has its own healthcare system and since your family’s health is at stake, you want to make sure you have the right care. To help you figure out the right coverage for your family, we’ve sought advice from the experts. Here are the top tips:

Jonathan Connelly
Cigna Global Communications Manager

  1. Be sure to check if the country you are moving to offers free nationwide healthcare insurance. If you are being relocated by your employer, be sure to check if they will be covering or partially covering your insurance.
  2. Be sure to check the health advice vaccination recommendations by organizations like the CDC before moving to any country.


Phillip Carey
Expacare Senior Marketing Executive

  1. Ensure the type of overseas healthcare coverage you are looking for not only covers the region you are in, but any other area you are likely to visit, be it for temporary business or pleasure.
  2. Ask whether there are any compulsory or voluntary excesses on the plan. This will be the amount you have to pay each time you claim for a condition. Those apparently modest deductions soon add up although they can help to lower the initial premium.
  3. Make sure you are not paying for benefits that are not relevant. Question whether you would actually need some of the benefits you are being charged for. If the answer is no then look for more tailored cover to meet your circumstances.
  4. Find out who underwrites the plans. These are the people who will be paying out your claims so ensure they are financially secure.
  5. Try to gauge how much coverage you may need. For example, if you are moving to the UK and will be paying social security contributions, you will be entitled to treatment under the NHS for a period of time. But, if you require private treatment or the waiting time on the NHS is too long, then a higher level of cover would be advisable.
  6. Remember that your family can also be added to your healthcare plan, so make sure the benefits cover all eventualities for a “whole” family.
  7. With international medical insurance, the price is based on the cover you opt for. The more cover you need – especially if you are insuring more than one person – the higher the premium.


Philip McCusker
BrokerFish Product Director

  1. Individual over group policy selection Often overlooked, it’s sometimes preferable to have an individual policy rather than being part of a group policy with your company because if you leave your job, move country, etc which is very common for expats, you can continue to renew. This is important because if you pick up a pre-existing condition while under a group policy, exit the group policy, and then try and find a new individual policy, you may find it difficult to get the pre-existing conditions covered.
  2. Lifetime Renewability Some international health policies automatically terminate at a certain age whereas others cover you for life as long as you keep paying your premiums. This can be important as you get older to ensure you remain covered again especially if you’ve picked up pre-existing conditions. We track lifetime renewability for all providers that we work with under the Administration > Lifetime Renewable section on the BrokerFish Companies pages.
  3. Waiting Periods Waiting periods or the time that you must wait before you become eligible for cover sometimes are in effect for certain benefits. Waiting periods on maternity, dental, and psychiatric benefits are common. It’s important to check out the detail around waiting periods before buying a policy to ensure that you don’t make the mistake of thinking that you’re covered when you’re not.
  4. Deductible Selection This is the money that you must pay before the insurance company starts paying for medical expenses. Usually on a “per year” or “per condition” basis, the higher deductible you select, the lower the cost of the policy. Depending on the policy, deductibles can range from $0 to $10,000 or higher so there’s a wide range to consider. A very high deductible may be more suitable for highly expensive/catastrophic type accidents/illnesses whereas a very low deductible would be a suitable policy for more frequency and lower-cost treatments.

Getting Healthcare overseas on GoodMigrations

Another helpful resource could be Good Sam- Travel Assist. They offer medical, security, and travel assistance for domestic and international travelers. They have 6,000 physicians across the world.

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