Health Insurance Overseas

Top Health Insurance Options For The Retiree Abroad

Since we left the States about 13 years ago, we’ve carried Bupa international health insurance. Our policy is based in Ireland, as that’s where we were living when we bought it.

Now we’re in Panama, and we’re thinking that, were a condition to develop for Lief, me, or young Jackson that required long-term, ongoing care, we’d likely have to travel back to Ireland to get it. That seems impractical, so we’re moving our Bupa coverage to Panama.

Practically speaking, we’re getting new international health insurance. The exercise is requiring health inquiries and doctor’s visits. The good news is that, even though Lief and I are now both over 40 (we weren’t when we purchased our original coverage in Ireland), our premium costs will be very affordable, only slightly more than what we’ve been paying all these years for our Ireland-based coverage.

Specifically, our new policy will cost US$3,500 per year for the three of us, or (if you do the straight math) about US$300 per month, again for our family of three. As I said, that seems very affordable to me.

And it includes coverage worldwide. We can seek treatment and be covered under this policy anywhere in the world, including in the United States.

That is not to say that this is U.S. insurance. This is an important point to understand. When I’ve written about the cost of international health care in the past, readers in the States have written back to quote the premium prices they were quoted by Bupa when they inquired about international insurance based in their home country.

Bupa is an international health insurance. It is not U.S. health insurance, and I don’t recommend it as such. You might be able to purchase a Bupa health insurance policy while you’re resident in the United States, but it will cost you dearly. One American reader living in the United States wrote recently to say that he’d shopped for a Bupa policy for himself and his wife and been quoted an annual premium of US$11,000.

The cost of your international health insurance will be determined by the following things: your age, any pre-existing conditions, and, most important, where you’re residing when you purchase the policy. That is where the policy’s coverage will be based.

The United States is the most expensive place in the world right now to seek medical care. Bupa knows that as well as the rest of us.

Kathleen Peddicord

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