Bargain Health Insurance Anywhere In The World
As an American abroad, you’re going to find the cost of health insurance a bargain practically anywhere else you go.
Not so, necessarily, if you’re an EU citizen or a Canadian. If you’re accustomed to socialized or subsidized health insurance in the country where you’re coming from, the issue is not as clear-cut. In some parts of the world, you may find health coverage affordable…in other places, not so much.
We Americans, though, accustomed to health insurance that costs hundreds of dollars a month, are pleasantly surprised, even shocked, to discover that, in much of the rest of the world, health insurance needn’t be a significant part of your monthly budget.
You can organize local health insurance in many countries for less than US$100 a month. Members of our staff here in Panama City, for example, are covered by local health insurance that costs them US$40 to US$60 a month.
Lief and I move around too much to depend on local, in-country insurance. Since we left the States about a dozen years ago, therefore, we have carried international insurance through BUPA. We pay about US$100 a month apiece for our high-deductible coverage.
Key to the cost of your policy in both cases is your age. Through age 64, typically, you can arrange affordable coverage through either an in-country carrier or an international insurer. And, in fact, it’s possible to obtain a new international insurance policy at any age, if you’re willing to pay for it. We’ve gotten a quote through Lloyd’s, for example, for a new policy for a 99-year-old.
P.S. The average American abroad is also delighted to find that, in many places around the world, he can see a doctor for US$20 or spend the day in a hospital emergency room, as I did earlier this week in Panama (for the treatment of a nasty spider bite), for about US$70 (including lab work, injections, and the services of a knowledgeable, helpful, English-speaking physician). It’s for this reason that a high-deductible policy, like the one that Lief and I carry for our family, can make sense. We pay day-to-day health costs out of pocket and count on our BUPA policy to cover us in the case of more extraordinary events.