How To Choose Among Your Health Insurance Options When Retiring Overseas

“Kathleen, The New York Times article with specifics about the cost of obtaining comprehensive health insurance for a senior abroad has made me discontinue my search. I am sure it has affected others as well.”

–Lenore K., United States

That’s a shame. I’ve read the article. It makes the point that some insurance options overseas can be more costly than you might expect. That’s true.

It’s also true that medical care in many countries can cost a fraction what comparable care can cost in the States…and that many retirees find their health insurance costs to be much less overseas, as well.

How you choose to handle your health care and insurance expenses as a retiree in another country is a very personal choice.

My general recommendation for an American planning to retire overseas is to keep Medicare (assuming you’re eligible for it). The cost for this is nominal, and you must keep Medicare Part A at least if you want to continue collecting your Social Security payments (which I’m assuming you want to do). Think of this as your fallback plan. Your Medicare won’t cover outside the States, but, if you ever needed to, you could return Stateside for care.

Then either invest in local insurance in the country where you’ll be based or, if the cost of medical care is low enough in the place where you’ll be living, consider going without insurance altogether. This is a frightening thought for many but can be sensible, again, depending where you’re living.

If you can’t fathom the idea of going without insurance, consider a local (as opposed to an international) health insurance plan, which can cost as little as US$100 per month or less, depending on your age.

Continue reading: Laureles Is The Top Budget Retirement Choice In Medellin, Colombia or Founder’s Lodge Groundbreaking At Los Islotes, Azuero Peninsula, Panama

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