Money & Finance

Best Expat Medical Insurance: Compare Health Insurance Costs, Short-Term Coverage, & More

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Suitcase with papers and book (Caption: Expat Health Insurance Comparison)Are you planning on living abroad? Don’t get caught up in the excitement of your upcoming adventures without taking some necessary precautions. One of the most important things to consider is health insurance. Most U.S. medical insurance plans don’t include coverage outside of the U. S.

Even if you’re young and healthy, you never know what can happen. What if you develop a serious illness while abroad, or you get injured in a car accident? Your impending medical bills will put a massive damper on your adventures and could force you to return home. Fortunately, you have medical insurance options to cover your time overseas. Here, we’ll give you the need-to-know info about expat health insurance.

Article Overview

Why Do I Need Expat Insurance?

If you’re planning on living and working abroad as an expatriate for an extended period, you should seriously consider getting international health insurance for expats. In fact, the U.S. State Department highly recommends you purchase global medical insurance if you’re planning on traveling or living abroad. Why?

Many expats aren’t covered under a U.S. corporate or group health plan. And as a foreign national, you and your family likely won’t be entitled to any free or subsidized healthcare plans offered by the country you’re temporarily living in. Getting medical treatment and hospital care overseas can be very expensive, and a medical evacuation back to the U.S., should you need it, can cost $50,000 or more.

How Much Does Expat Health Insurance Cost?

Many companies offer two coverage areas: a) worldwide, excluding the USA, or b) worldwide coverage. Expatriates often travel to multiple countries during their time abroad, so a global policy provides continuous coverage no matter where you fall ill. If you are traveling back to the U.S. at any time while living abroad, you’ll want to make sure you opt for comprehensive worldwide coverage.

However, some providers may offer policies and pricing based on regions — and they may exclude high-risk areas of the world. When setting pricing and premiums, providers must take into consideration the costs of healthcare in high-risk areas. Some companies rank countries or regions by the cost of medical care and the risk of living in those areas.

In addition to regional differences, expat health insurance costs vary widely by the type of policy you want, the provider, your age, and medical history. In that way, international health insurance cost is similar to other kinds of health insurance. It’s crucial to do your homework and compare plans and companies to ensure you’re getting the best coverage for your money.

USAway Major Medical Insurance Review

One of the best expat health insurance plans is USAway Major Medical Insurance, underwritten by Petersen International Underwriters. This policy offers medical coverage up to $5 million and gives you several choices for your deductible, ranging from $0 to $5,000. In addition to the list of covered health expenses below, this policy gives you some excellent added benefits, including accidental death coverage, lost luggage reimbursement, trip cancellation benefits, and financial assistance if you need to return home for an emergency.

Covered Medical Expenses

  • All necessary hospital, skilled nursing facility, and home health care expenses
  • All necessary physician services
  • Ambulance services within 100 miles
  • Medical evacuation up to $250,000
  • Repatriation of remains up to $250,000
  • Outpatient prescription drugs with a maximum of $500

Add-On Coverage

USAway Major Medical Insurance also offers the following optional coverage add-ons to their policy.

  • War and Terrorism coverage
  • Hazardous sports and activities

Video: USAway Insurance Overview

Check out the video below by Petersen International Underwriters to learn more about USAway Major Medical Insurance.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about expat health insurance. Don’t see your question here? Hit us up in our comments, and we’ll try to help you.

What’s The Average Cost Of Expat Health Insurance?

The cost of expat health insurance can vary widely based on several factors, including the geographic location where you’re moving, your age, your medical history, the policy customizations you choose (deductible and maximum limit options), and any add-ons you purchase.

According to International Citizens Insurance, an international health insurance plan’s annual cost can range from as low as $500, with limited benefits, to as high as $8,000 for a comprehensive global medical plan, including coverage in the U.S. The average cost across the globe is $5,000 per year. As an example of a popular relocation country for U.S. citizens, the average cost for health insurance in Mexico for expats is $5,658.

Does Expat Health Insurance Cover Pre-Existing Conditions?

It depends on the insurance provider and your individual situation, but the process is similar to regular health insurance. When you apply for expat health insurance, the insurance provider’s medical underwriter will review your medical history and determine if they can insure you. They may approve the application as is, limit or exclude the pre-existing condition, add a special premium to cover the pre-existing condition(s), or deny coverage.

Need Short-Term Coverage?

We hope our international health insurance reviews have given you the information you need if you’ll be spending an extended period abroad. If you don’t need coverage for that long, you always have the option of keeping your existing policy and purchasing travel insurance. Many travel insurance policies cover medical expenses for you and your family if needed. Check out our travel insurance reviews to learn more.

Sally Jones

While attending the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s graduate school for journalism and public relations, Sally began a long career researching and writing about hard-to-understand topics, such as insurance and finance. Her additional experience in marketing, fundraising, public relations and financial planning at various foundations and nonprofit organizations over the years has given her the practical tools to inform consumers about making the smartest business and personal financial decisions. Her work has appeared in many notable media outlets, including The Washington Post, Entrepreneur, People, Forbes, Huffington Post, and more. Speaking of smart living — growing up in the (at-the-time) per-capita murder capital of the U.S. (Richmond, VA) taught her a thing or two about the need for personal and home safety. Sally stays on top of all the latest gadgets and services to protect her and her teenage daughters from potential predators and thieves. And she brings this knowledge to every article she writes.

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