By Jonathan Connelly
State provided healthcare across Western Europe and in the U.S is generally regarded as being among the best in the world for statutory care and emergency treatment. Being an expat, or a globally mobile individual, you can expect differences in all aspects of your life. Healthcare for many people is a vital aspect, and something to consider in detail before making the jump to live in another country.
While of course varying from country to country in detail, and with major differences in waiting times, cost, and access availability for expats; slotting straight into another country’s national health system may not be as easy as you’d think.
The subtle nuances of a nation’s own healthcare provisions are sometimes not exposed to expats until they have first-hand experience of them. These experiences can be positive, but there’s no denying that an expat from an affluent background may find themselves disappointed with the standard of care in their new country of residence. It’s key to research the implications for expats in your new country, as all the home comforts you’ve come to expect may not necessarily be available to you.
Another option for expats is to obtain individual private medical insurance. Private medical insurance policies are available on the market which are specifically designed for expats. Obviously this comes at a premium, but the benefits are significant. For example, waiting times can be all but non-existent, thanks to sizeable networks of hospitals and medical professionals available via the supplier.
Given that the cover comes at a premium, it’s important for expats to tailor their policy to their requirements, where possible. Is outpatient care required? Medical evacuation cover? Vision and dental care? Some of the larger suppliers have high policy limits, cancer care, and are fully medically underwritten.
How important is healthcare to you? While weighing up your options for the big move, be sure to do your research. Ensuring that you’re eligible for state care is key, as some expats are not guaranteed this (depending on where they’re coming from, or where they’re going).
If you’re used to a specific standard of care, then perhaps a private medical insurance policy could be for you. Establish what you want from your medical insurance policy, and run through a few quotes to see exactly what’s available to you.
Jonathan Connelly is Communications Manager with Cigna Global