New expats urged to think about healthcare before moving abroad

by Ray Clancy on January 15, 2014

British people considering moving abroad to work or retire need to be aware of the costs of healthcare in their chosen country which can be more than anticipated, especially in countries like China that are becoming more popular with high flying expats.

EU cross border healthcare

Four times as many British expats said they intended to take out international health insurance before they left the UK

But even in old favourites like Spain, France and Canada, expats can face considerable health care costs and may be well advised to have private health insurance.

The UK Office of National Statistics figures on net migration show the number of people leaving the UK over the last two years has consistently been around the 345,000 mark.

But once abroad and away from your domestic healthcare provider, healthcare costs can quickly mount up, according to international health care specialist MediCare International.

It gives as an example an appendectomy operation. Whilst each case will be different at the patient level, the surgical costs can vary from £8,000 in the United Arab Emirates to £25,000 in the United States. In the UK such a procedure might cost £12,000, whilst in India it would cost £5,000 and in Spain, £10,000.

In other cases a client who suffered a fall reclaimed medical costs of over £10,000, while another who injured an elbow whilst living in Hong Kong ran up medical expenses of over £20,000, once X ray, physio and other treatment costs were taken into account.

However, Britons may finally be getting better at planning their move aboard, according to a new survey published by the firm from amongst its website users. When questioned about their healthcare planning, four times as many said they intended to take out international health insurance before they left the UK, as opposed to waiting until they were installed abroad and looking locally for international health insurance cover later.

‘For many years, insurers and the government have stressed the importance of planning before moving abroad. In particular, with healthcare costs rising at average levels of 8% to 9%, unexpected medical bills can wreck a move abroad, unless expats are properly covered,’ said MediCare International managing director Debbie Purser.
‘This survey suggests many more are at least intending to take out cover before they leave the UK, which is a significant step in the right direction in our view,’ she added.

MediCare International offers four different levels of cover across two geographical options, worldwide and worldwide excluding the US and the Caribbean. Policies cover a wide range of potential complaints from GP and dentist visits through to emergency hospital care and evacuation for the most serious cases.

MediCare International said that it is well known as one of the few insurers whose policies cover in full the cost of chronic care treatment. The company also covers workers in some of the world’s more difficult areas such as warzones and post conflict reconstruction areas.

It has over 30 years’ experience of supporting the international business community worldwide and clients from 86 nationalities in 121 countries.

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