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Health Insurance For Americans

“Kathleen, with respect to #7 in your recent dispatch (‘Your U.S. health insurance won’t cover you once you leave U.S. soil.’), people need to check their coverage with their health insurance company to be sure about this.

“After five years of living abroad, I was surprised to find out that my former employer’s Blue Cross/Blue Shield plan had covered me abroad all along. This was not in my plan literature, and I only found out because an agent mentioned it casually. So it’s worth a phone call to check, before buying into another insurance plan.”

–Leonard C., Uruguay

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“Kathleen, if it is difficult to take money out of Brazil, as you have written, why not take it out in the form of merchandise, like precious stones or a container load of coconut oil? My friend and I are thinking of moving south. We do business with heavy equipment and industrial machinery.”

–John W., United States

First, to clarify, it can be difficult to take money out of Brazil if you aren’t careful about how you bring it in. The point is that exchange controls exist, and, if you don’t want to end up on the wrong side of them, you must follow the sometimes complicated rules and regulations associated with documenting and reporting all money transfers into the country.

Second, sure, you could try to take your money out of this country, or any, in the form of merchandise, but you will have customs issues to deal with and perhaps customs duties to pay. As for precious stones, unless this is your business and you’re sure about what you’re buying, you’re likely to be taken advantage of both coming and going.

If you decide to go this route, you should discount what you expect to net. In other words, expect to lose a percentage of whatever the cash amount would have been in the process of converting to merchandise and transporting.

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