5 Things to Know About Health Insurance When Moving Abroad


Moving abroad is a big decision that could leave you with a lot of questions. A big one might be what to do about health insurance. Do you need to be covered? How does it work? Can you even get an insurance policy as a foreigner?

These questions are all valid and should be considered before you even take the plunge and move abroad. You’ll need to ask questions specific to your destination, but here are a few important things to know if these questions are on your mind.

Your Regular Insurance Probably Won’t Cover You

First of all, you need to be aware that your regular policy in your home country probably won’t cover you internationally. Most private insurance plans are only designed to cover you in your home country, and may not even cover you on an international holiday.

If you’d prefer to stick with them, it’s worth having a discussion to find out their options for travel.

Otherwise, you’ll need to look into other options such as Worldwide Health Insurance to ensure that you’re covered in your new home, temporary or permanent.

You Definitely Need It

As much as you might be questioning whether all the hassle is worth it, you definitely need to get your international health insurance sorted out.

If your home country won’t cover you, and your destination country doesn’t offer healthcare to non-residents, you don’t want to be leaving yourself and your family uncovered and at risk in your new home.

Health insurance is a financial safety net and serves as a source of peace of mind when it comes to your and your family’s health. Failing to get health insurance leaves you at risk, and in the case of a medical emergency, you might struggle to pay for hospital fees, procedures, medicine and other medical expenses.

There Are Different Kinds

Choosing health insurance can be complicated even when you’re living in your own home country. Just like with a standard policy, people living abroad will have various different health insurance options to choose from.

You could have the option for employer-based insurance, private or public health plans, travel health insurance, global health insurance and others. Within these categories, there will be different policies with different costs and different benefits to choose from, and different companies that you could choose to sign up with.

The good news is that your options are wide open, and there will almost certainly be a policy out there that suits you and your family’s needs perfectly. The less good news is that it’s up to you to put in the hard work and effort to research your choices.

Your Residency Status Will Play a Role

Where you are in the world and who you are there will have an impact on your insurance situation. Different countries have different regulations (in some places it’s mandatory to be on health insurance after becoming a resident).

You may or may not have access to public health care. However, in some areas, you might even struggle to get private health insurance if you’re not a citizen or even a resident. It’s important that you do a little digging into the laws and regulations in your destination country to figure out whether or not you’ll qualify for government health plans and how you can get health insurance.

This might even play a role in your decision to move – your health is your wealth and not something to neglect.

It’s a Big Decision To Make

Planning and choosing your health insurance is not a decision to take lightly. Underinsuring could lead to issues in the case of a medical emergency and you may find yourself under financial pressure.

Take the decision seriously and be sure to put some effort into seeking out the best options. Do some research online, ask for recommendations and chat to other expats about their experience with health insurance.

You’ll also be able to receive professional help from someone who works in the industry, so if you’re willing to pay a fee for professional guidance, that might be your best option.

Final Thoughts

Overall, health insurance is a pretty big decision to factor into your moving abroad journey. Language barriers could make things more difficult, and not being a citizen in the country you live in is a tough thing to navigate when it comes to more than just insurance.

Be sure to ask as many questions as you can before firmly deciding on a policy: consider mental health benefits, dental and vision coverage, and any pre-existing chronic conditions that you or your family might have.

Everyone’s needs are vastly different when it comes to healthcare, and just because you’re moving internationally doesn’t mean that you should compromise on what’s important to you.