What is Expat Medical Insurance

First was the advent of the airplane, then the ability to fly across the ocean, then the internet.  These things have all made the world much much smaller. Many people now live a global lifestyle.  Hopping from one continent to the next for business and personal traveling. They often travel with their family or even spend months or years living abroad.  In the past, these folks have had limited options to protect themselves and their families if something happened.  They would need to have large sums of money to pay for their own medical expenses or put up with long waiting periods or even worry about exclusions.  Not anymore. There is a better solution for expat medical insurance. We will discuss the many benefits of a better policy below.

The newer expat medical insurance policies have a lot of benefits older policies could not have. Today you can get unlimited annual and lifetime medical benefits, no waiting periods for preventative services, and the policies are extremely portable. You will be able to use the policy both inside and outside of the United States. If you have prior creditable coverage you may not even have to worry about pre-existing conditions not being covered. You will not be required to pre-certify for outpatient care and will be able to see a physician when you need to. Illnesses and injuries related to terrorism will also be covered if something were to happen to you or your family. You can choose from deductibles that start at $0 and go up from there. The policy will even cover emergency medical evacuation if you are in a country where proper medical attention is not available. These policies have come a long way in the past several years and the coverages have been deepened extremely all while keeping the prices affordable.

Why Do I Need It?

Expat Health Insurance – Why Do I Need It?

Health insuraTravel Health Insurancence and expat health insurance are not all that different.  They have many of the same benefits, many of the same copays, major medical deductibles, prescriptions coverages, and even can include dental coverage.  Expat health insurance usually has a few extra coverages you would not need if you were in the United States if something happened.  The reason you need this coverage when you travel, do missionary work, retire, or decide to work overseas is pretty much the same as needing regular health insurance.  We will dive into a few of the reasons below.


They happen, usually when you least expect it or when it is extremely inconvenient.  In case of an accident, it is important to have expat health insurance to make sure you will be covered if you need things like x-rays, surgery, emergency room visits, ambulance service, or anything else associated with an unexpected accident.  Accidents can get costly rather quickly as they are unplanned and often need urgent emergency care.

Sickness or illness

One never knows when they may come down with something.  One author I read discussed his trip to India and the horrible food poisoning he received from eating at a local restaurant.  He was in the hospital for days trying to get better and he almost had to be evacuated back to the United States because they could not seem to get his symptoms under control.  He was able to pay for his care out of pocket due to the low prices (and horrible care) he received but had he been evacuated an expat health insurance policy would take care of him.

Doctor’s Visits 

If you are overseas for an extended time or have decided to actually become an expatriate there may come a time you decide you want to see a doctor about a lingering issue.  High blood pressure, earache, gallstones, or anything else.  You don’t need to visit the emergency room or have surgery. You can be covered to go see a doctor by your policy.  Usually, you will have a copay just like a regular policy.

We discussed many of the options available on an expat medical insurance policy, what it is and why you need it.  Each policy can be customized to your needs.  Make sure you understand everything that is important to you before purchasing any coverage. As usual, make sure to talk with your broker about the ins and out of your policy.  They will be able to share with you the details of expat health insurance.  You can also contact us or leave a comment and we will be happy to get back to you.  Thanks for reading!

Website | + posts

Jesse Smedley is the Principal Broker for iHealthBrokers and the founder, president, and CEO of Smedley Insurance Group, Inc. and iHealthBrokers.com. Since the inception of SIG in 2007, Jesse has been dedicated to helping people save money on their health insurance by providing them with resources to educate themselves on all their health insurance options, both under age 65 and Medicare beneficiaries. He is featured in many publications as well as writes regularly for expert columns regarding health insurance and Medicare.

Health Insurance News

Contact a Licensed Broker

Skip to content