U.S. most Expensive Place in the World for Private Medical Insurance

by Ray Clancy on July 30, 2016

When moving abroad, many expats – whether retired or working – often need private medical insurance. Now, new research shows the United States is the most expensive for health coverage in the entire world.

Overall, the average cost of international private medical insurance in 2016 covers a range of US$7,608 to US$17,335, according to Pacific Prime’s annual cost of health insurance report.

USA-FlagWhile the U.S. is the most expensive location for international health insurance with an average cost of US$17,335, Mali is this year’s least expensive location, coming in at US$7,608.

Dubai has seen the largest increase in ranking in the past year, coming in as the sixth most expensive location, up eight places from 2015. The research links the increase in claims in Dubai over the past two years to the high number of expats. Regulations have made Dubai into the single most important market for international health insurance.

Also highlighted in the report: Canada has now replaced Israel as one of the top four most expensive countries. It cites a number of reasons for this change, including the fact that some providers have increased their rates at a relatively high percentage over the past year.

Japan is ranked in the top 20 most expensive countries for private health insurance for the first time, up from 23 to 17, mainly due to one certain provider increasing their rates considerably. The report states, however, that these increased premiums actually brought the rates more in line with other providers in the country.

When compared to 2015’s study, the numbers show a decrease in the gap between the cost of insurance in the U.S. and other locations, and also point to an overall decrease in the average cost of international insurance in that country.

The report also finds that when compared to the U.S., premiums in other countries have increased 13.6 per cent over the average difference between the U.S. and other nations last year.

‘The problem here is that according to our results, plans in the U.S. actually decreased in cost which could skew the accuracy of the numbers. To see whether this gap is actually closing, we excluded the U.S. and used the second highest ranked country Hong Kong as a base comparison number,’ the report explains.

When the U.S. was taken out of the results, researchers saw that plans have indeed been closing the gap between the highest cost providers. Major movers, including Dubai, increased 15.1 points with average premiums being 71.6% of Hong Kong in 2015 to 86.7% in 2016.

Canada increased 13.9 points with average premiums being 78.4% of Hong Kong in 2015 to 92.3% of Hong Kong this year. Switzerland increased by 10.3 points with average premiums being 63.4% of Hong Kong last year to 73.7% of Hong Kong in 2016.

Israel was the only country where the difference actually decreased, down 1.4 per cent. On average, however, the percentage of countries increased by 5.6 per cent.

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