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Health insurance for expatriates

Aug 23, 2010 | | Comments Comments Off

Dear Liz: I read your answer about how Social Security payments can be sent to Americans who retire to other countries. You failed to mention that Medicare coverage is generally not available overseas. For many retired people, medical coverage is more important than Social Security coverage. Is there a way to address that problem for Americans who want to spend their retirement years abroad?

Answer: The good news is that many countries (although obviously not all) offer high-qualify healthcare that’s less expensive than in the U.S. Still, it’s smart to have insurance coverage.

Kathleen Peddicord, author of “How to Retire Overseas,” says you typically have two options: in-country and international policies. In-country policies tend to be less expensive (some cost as little as $100 a month) but may be tough to qualify for if you’re in your 60s or older. International policies are more expensive but you can qualify as a new client if you’re younger than 75. Furthermore, international policies will cover you if you move from country to country; an in-country policy won’t.

As you research your retirement destination, contact expatriates who live there to ask about their health insurance coverage, as well as about other details of their lives. You can start with Peddicord’s site, LiveandInvestOverseas.com, but also check out International Living (internationalliving.com and find country-specific sites by typing the name of the country and the word “expat” into an Internet search engine.

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Categories : Insurance, Q&A, Retirement