International Health Insurance

“Kathleen, before I get to my questions, I wanted to tell you that I recently bought your bundle of three PDFs on health care, went through them today, and breathed a sigh of relief that someone finally put together the specifics for many of the countries your readers would consider relocating to. Absolutely indispensable information and worth every penny.

“Now…on to my questions.

“First, no one has information on health care in Colombia. I was hoping that it would be included in the documents I bought from your site, but it was not. I did some research on it, and it appears that if one is over 55, local coverage in the country is not available. I happen to be 61. Is there any chance that you could prepare a report on this aspect of Colombia? You speak highly of Medellin, and I am sure the question will come up at your upcoming conference.

“Second, I don’t know where to ask about this. One of the possible scenarios that we may experience in the United States, as a consequence of the financial mess we are in, is hyperinflation. What will happen to such countries as Ecuador and Panama, which depend on the U.S. dollar as their primary currency, if that happens? I belong to several membership sites, such as Retire Worldwide and Sovereign Man, where that question has never come up, and I don’t even know where to broach the subject on their forums. If you don’t know the answer, could you provide links that would have some information on this?

“I am so grateful that I ran across your website quite accidentally. I always wondered where you ended up after your many, many years at International Living. Your site has grown exponentially in the last couple of years and well it should. You have the best free newsletter that I have ever subscribed to. Thank you for any assistance you can provide.”

–William T., United States

First, good point. We’ll add Colombia to the list of countries included in our Top Health Insurance Options For The Retiree Abroad manual when we publish the new edition this year.

Second, I’m no economist.

That said, here’s my two cents…

If hyperinflation hits the United States and the U.S. dollar, then countries that use the dollar, such as Panama and Ecuador, will, of course, be affected, as will countries that peg to the dollar, such as Belize. Again, I’m not an economist, and any economist reading this will smile at my naïve interpretations of these issues. But…what is hyperinflation? Fundamentally, it’s an unstable currency that no one wants or trusts. So people spend every unit they get when they get it, as goods are better than money.

If this phenomenon takes hold in the States, yes, it will take hold, too, in any other country that uses or pegs to the dollars, though probably less dramatically so. The option for those countries would be to switch to using another currency (which is likely what Panama would do), to adjust their peg to the dollar (as Belize could), or to remove the peg altogether. In the case of Ecuador, they could return to using their own currency (Panama has only ever used the U.S. dollar).

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