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Overseas Medical Insurance

One of the primary considerations when thinking of international or overseas retirement is healthcare and medical insurance cover. Many USA citizens already are very familiar with medical and health insurance at home but have little knowledge of how such plans work overseas, or even of the standard of medical facilities, hospitals, doctors and so on, in the location they are considering for retirement. This location may be France or Florida, the medical insurance considerations and healthcare insurance planning needs are similar.

Consequently, some major considerations are

1. The cost and benefit level of any international medical plan together with ease of use, assistance, and claims handling;

2. The quality of local facilities, hospitals, nursing care, doctor skills and knowledge of English in the area you are considering to make a permanent overseas home;3. Whether or not you may be evacuated back to your home country and have elective treatment in your home country, if you so wish.

There are currently some 30-40 million expatriates abroad, with millions of others retiring for long periods to a country which has never before been their long-term home. The growth of modern digital communications, Internet access and video conferencing has now transformed the level of financial and insurance services available to the individual, family or company anywhere in the World on a location, non-specific basis.

International medical insurance companies, medical assistance groups, underwriters and brokers are now all moving into what is a huge and growing market for new healthcare insurance services. The expatriate and those retiring abroad now have far more available quality healthcare insurance products available than ever before. Help lines from these companies for clients are multilingual and available worldwide 24 hours a day.

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You may be in Belize, Berlin, Baku or the Bahamas, you can still be well serviced for your medical and healthcare insurance needs by international internet broker advisors and a wide range of insurance companies who specialise in this field. However, for the older clients going abroad, cost and level of cover must be prime considerations. Therefore, a check out first of local OUTPATIENT services is also a useful first move. Many developing countries or overseas retirement communities have good local Doctors and drugs and dressings. However, for serious hospital issues and treatment most would prefer the best care possible, probably “back home”.

We now address the issues of proper medical insurance advice and budget planning to take you over the longer-term not short term. If you are retiring at say 55 years old, your costs of premiums will rise year on year with both medical inflation and often with “age banding” where the insurer raises premiums each five year band.

If you have been covered in USA for example for comprehensive cover at say age 54 years, this cost could rise beyond your means whilst retired overseas at say, 70 years old. What is one to do? There are several solutions, one of course taking an increasing level of voluntary deductible against premium rises, thus keeping your budget costs stable. We also suggest that you do not take out fully comprehensive cover after aged 60 years, unless you can really afford to keep up premiums for life. It is much better to locate services for outpatient care in your local community but have a catastrophic full cover hospital plan with elective cover for 30 days a YEAR BACK home.

This budget strategy will save you thousands of dollars over the long term whilst ensuring that your emergency/hospital insurance is always there for you. Many insurers call these plans “Standard Plans” giving full cover for in-patient and day-care, but no cover for out-patient. Thus, if you are placed in a hospital bed, they pay, if you are walking wounded, you pay. Remember, a phone call to the insurer help line takes care of everything when you need to be admitted to a hospital bed, even for a day. The insurer can settle directly, place a bond on your behalf and talk to local Doctors and consultants on the ground, in their own language too, if you have trouble in this respect.

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