Why Expats Need Health Insurance

Published by Health Professional

on Saturday, February 18th 2023

General

When moving abroad, one of the most important things to consider is your health and well-being. As an expat, you’ll need to ensure that you have adequate health insurance coverage to protect yourself and your loved ones in case of an emergency. 

In this article, we’ll explore the different types of health insurance available to expats, what you need to know about them, and how to choose the right policy for your needs.

Types of Health Insurance for Expats

There are several types of health insurance available to expats, each with its own set of benefits and drawbacks. The most common types of health insurance for expats are:

  • Private health insurance: This type of insurance is purchased directly from an insurance company and typically covers a wide range of medical treatments and procedures. Private health insurance policies usually have higher premiums than other types of insurance but offer more comprehensive coverage.
  • Government-provided health insurance: Some countries offer national health insurance programs for expats. These programs are typically less expensive than private insurance, but the coverage may be more limited.
  • Group health insurance: Many employers offer group health insurance to their employees, including expats. This type of insurance is usually less expensive than private insurance and may offer more comprehensive coverage.
  • Travel insurance: This type of insurance is specifically designed for travelers and typically covers emergency medical treatment, evacuation, and other travel-related expenses. However, travel insurance does not typically cover long-term medical care and may not be suitable for expats who plan to stay abroad for an extended period of time.

What to Look for in a Health Insurance Policy

When choosing a health insurance policy, there are several factors to consider. Some of the most important things to look for in a policy include the following:

  • Coverage: Ensure the policy covers the medical treatments and procedures you’re likely to need.
  • Limitations and exclusions: Be aware of any limitations or exclusions in the policy, such as pre-existing conditions or certain types of treatments that are not covered.
  • Cost: Consider the cost of the policy, including the premium and any deductibles or co-payments.
  • Network of providers: Make sure the policy has a network of providers that you’re comfortable using.
  • Claims process: Check the process for making claims under the policy and the time frame for receiving payment.

How to Choose the Right Health Insurance Policy

Choosing the right health insurance policy can be a daunting task, but there are a few things you can do to make the process easier:

  • Research: Research different types of health insurance policies and compare providers’ coverage, costs, and networks.
  • Consult an expert: Consult with a health insurance expert who can help you understand the different types of policies and what is best for you.
  • Check with your employer: If you’re working abroad, check with your employer to see if they offer group health insurance.
  • Check with your government: If you’re a citizen of a country that offers national health insurance for expats, check with your government to see if you’re eligible for coverage.
  • Read the fine print: Carefully read any policy you’re considering to ensure you understand the coverage, limitations, and exclusions.

Is health insurance in the Philippines different?

Health insurance in the Philippines is different from other countries, as the country has a unique healthcare system. The Philippines has a mix of public and private healthcare, and the insurance options available reflect this.

Government-provided Health Insurance in the Philippines

The Philippines government provides health insurance for its citizens through the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth). PhilHealth is a social health insurance program that provides coverage for a wide range of medical treatments, including hospitalization, surgery, and diagnostic procedures. 

PhilHealth is mandatory for all citizens, and contributions are based on income. However, PhilHealth coverage can be limited and may not cover all necessary treatments, so many Filipinos opt to purchase additional private health insurance.

Private Health Insurance in the Philippines

Private health insurance in the Philippines is available through a variety of insurance companies. Policies can be purchased individually or in groups, and they typically provide more comprehensive coverage than PhilHealth. However, private health insurance can be more expensive than PhilHealth and may not be affordable for everyone.

Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) in the Philippines

Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) are another popular option for health insurance in the Philippines. HMOs are organizations that provide health insurance coverage for a group of people, typically through an employer. 

HMOs typically have a network of providers, and policyholders must use providers within the network to receive coverage. HMOs are usually less expensive than private health insurance, but the coverage may be more limited.

How to Choose the Right Health Insurance in the Philippines

When choosing a health insurance policy in the Philippines, it’s important to consider your individual needs and budget. Research the different types of insurance available, compare the coverage and costs and consult with an expert if needed. 

If you’re eligible for PhilHealth, be aware of the limitations and exclusions of the coverage, and consider purchasing additional private insurance or an HMO to supplement your coverage.

Do health insurance premiums become restricted and more expensive at retirement?

Retirement

Retirement is a time when many people’s health needs and financial circumstances change, and health insurance is no exception. Many retirees find that their health insurance premiums become more expensive as they age. However, the extent to which premiums increase, and the reasons for this increase, can vary depending on the type of insurance and the individual’s circumstances.

Medicare and Health Insurance Premiums

For those who are enrolled in Medicare, the federal health insurance program for people over 65 and those with certain disabilities, premiums can increase with age. The cost of Medicare premiums is based on income, and higher-income beneficiaries may pay more for their coverage. 

Additionally, some Medicare beneficiaries may also be responsible for additional costs, such as deductibles, co-payments, and coinsurance.

Private Health Insurance and Health Insurance Premiums

For those who have private health insurance, the cost of premiums can also increase with age. Some private insurance plans use age to determine premiums, meaning that older individuals may pay more for their coverage. Additionally, private insurance companies may also charge higher premiums for those with pre-existing health conditions, which are more common as people age.

Impact of Retirement on Health Insurance Premiums

Retirement can also impact health insurance premiums in other ways. For example, suppose a retiree loses employer-sponsored health insurance coverage and needs to purchase an individual plan. 

In that case, the cost of premiums may be higher than when the retiree had group coverage. Additionally, retirees may have to pay more for coverage if they purchase a plan on the individual market rather than through an employer.

How to Manage Health Insurance Premiums in Retirement

There are several ways to manage health insurance premiums in retirement:

  • Stay informed: Keep track of the cost of your premiums and any changes to your coverage.
  • Compare options: Compare the cost of different health insurance plans and the benefits they provide.
  • Consider Medicare Advantage: Medicare Advantage plans are offered by private insurance companies and can provide additional benefits and lower costs than traditional Medicare.
  • Look for financial assistance: Look for financial assistance programs that can help with the cost of health insurance premiums, such as Medicaid or subsidies through the Affordable Care Act.
  • Consider a Health Savings Account (HSA): Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) can be used to pay for out-of-pocket healthcare expenses, including insurance premiums. The money can accumulate over time and be withdrawn tax-free for medical expenses in retirement.

What does expat health insurance cost?

The cost of expat health insurance can vary depending on a number of factors, including the type of coverage, the location of the policyholder, and the individual’s age and health status.

Factors that Affect the Cost of Expat Health Insurance

Type of coverage: 

  • The type of coverage you choose will have a significant impact on the cost of your expat health insurance. A policy with more comprehensive coverage, such as a private health insurance policy, will typically have a higher premium than a policy with more limited coverage, such as travel insurance.

Location: 

  • The location of the policyholder can also affect the cost of expat health insurance. Policies for individuals living in developed countries with high healthcare costs will typically be more expensive than those for developing countries.
  • Age and health status: The age and health status of the policyholder can also affect the cost of expat health insurance. Policies for older individuals or those with pre-existing health conditions may have higher premiums.

 Average Cost of Expat Health Insurance

The average cost of expat health insurance can be difficult to determine as it varies widely depending on the factors mentioned above. However, some estimates suggest that an expat’s average cost of a private health insurance policy can range from $50 to $500 per month, depending on the location, coverage, and other factors.

It is important to note that the cost of expat health insurance can also vary depending on the insurance company and the specific policy. It is advisable to compare the prices and coverage of different policies to find the one that best fits your needs and budget.

How to Find Affordable Expat Health Insurance

There are several things you can do to find affordable expat health insurance:

  • Compare policies: Compare the cost and coverage of different policies to find the best option for your needs and budget.
  • Choose a high-deductible plan: High-deductible plans typically have lower premiums, but you’ll need to pay more out-of-pocket before your insurance kicks in.
  • Look for discounts: Some insurance companies offer discounts for things like being a member of a professional organization or paying your premiums in full.
  • Check with your employer: If you’re working abroad, check with your employer to see if they offer group health insurance.
  • Check with your government: If you’re a citizen of a country that offers national health insurance for expats, check with your government to see if you’re eligible for coverage.

The cost of expat health insurance can vary widely depending on a number of factors, including the type of coverage, the location of the policyholder, and the individual’s age and health status. However, by comparing policies, choosing a high-deductible plan, looking for discounts, checking with your employer, and checking with your government, you can find affordable expat health insurance that meets your needs.

Where can expats get free healthcare?

Depending on their citizenship and residence status, expats may be able to access free healthcare in certain countries.

Government-provided Healthcare

Many countries offer government-provided healthcare to their citizens and legal residents. In some cases, expats may be eligible for free healthcare if they meet certain requirements, such as holding a long-term visa or being a permanent resident. For example, European Union citizens are eligible for free healthcare in other EU countries through the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) system.

Employer-provided Healthcare

Expats who are working abroad may also be able to access free healthcare through their employers. Many employers offer group health insurance as part of their benefits package, which can include free or low-cost healthcare for employees and their dependents.

Military and Diplomatic Healthcare

Expats who are military members or working in a diplomatic capacity may also be able to access free healthcare. Military personnel and their families are typically eligible for free healthcare through the military healthcare system, and diplomatic personnel may be eligible for free healthcare through the diplomatic healthcare system.

Other Options

In some cases, expats may be able to access free healthcare through non-profit organizations or charity clinics. Additionally, some countries may have systems in place for indigent or low-income individuals to access free or low-cost healthcare.

It is important to note that access to free healthcare can vary widely depending on the country and the individual’s specific circumstances. Expats should research the healthcare options available in their host country and consult with their government or employer for more information on their healthcare options.

Expats may be able to access free healthcare in certain countries depending on their citizenship and residence status, as well as through their employer, through military or diplomatic healthcare systems, and through non-profit organizations or charity clinics. It is important for expats to research and consult with their government or employer on the healthcare options available in their host country.

Health insurance premiums can become more expensive as retirees age, but there are ways to manage these costs. It’s important to stay informed, compare options, consider Medicare Advantage, look for financial assistance, and consider a Health Savings Account (HSA) to manage the cost of health insurance premiums during retirement.

Are expats in the UK covered for free by the NHS?

The National Health Service (NHS) in the United Kingdom provides free healthcare to eligible individuals, including some expats. However, the eligibility criteria for expats can be complex and depend on various factors such as immigration status, length of stay, and purpose of stay in the UK.

Eligibility for NHS coverage

Expats who are considered “ordinarily resident” in the UK are eligible for free healthcare through the NHS. According to the UK government, “ordinarily resident” means that an individual has settled in the UK with the intention of living here permanently. However, the actual criteria to be considered “ordinarily resident” are more complex and involve various factors such as immigration status, length of stay, and purpose of stay in the UK.

Expats who are considered “ordinarily resident” in the UK are eligible for free healthcare through the NHS. They will be issued with a GP registration and will be able to access free healthcare services such as GP consultations, emergency care, and hospital treatment.

Expats who are not eligible for NHS coverage

Expats who are not considered “ordinarily resident” in the UK, such as those on short-term visas, may not be eligible for free healthcare through the NHS. They may be required to pay for healthcare services or purchase private health insurance. 

Moreover, some ex-pats may be required to pay an Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) as part of the visa application process. The IHS is a fee paid to access the NHS for the duration of their stay in the UK.

How to prove eligibility for NHS coverage

Expats who want to access free healthcare through the NHS will be required to provide proof of their eligibility. This may include providing a valid passport, proof of immigration status, and evidence of address in the UK.

Expats in the UK may be covered for free by the NHS, depending on their immigration status, length of stay, and purpose of stay in the UK. Expats who are considered “ordinarily resident” in the UK are eligible for free healthcare through the NHS, while others may be required to pay for healthcare services or purchase private health insurance. 

It is important for expats to research and understand the eligibility criteria for NHS coverage and to provide proof of their eligibility when accessing healthcare services.

In conclusion

Health insurance in the Philippines is different from other countries, as the country has a unique healthcare system. The Philippines has a mix of public and private healthcare options, so it’s important to research the different types of insurance available and choose the one that best suits your needs and budget.

Health insurance premiums can become more expensive as retirees age, but there are ways to manage these costs. It’s important to stay informed, compare options, consider Medicare Advantage, look for financial assistance, and consider a Health Savings Account (HSA) to manage the cost of health insurance premiums during retirement.