How to Find Retiree Health Insurance Abroad

Premium prices are generally far lower than in the U.S.

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Health insurance coverage in your new country of residence is one of the most important issues you must address when you retire overseas. The good news is that it is possible to arrange health insurance overseas at far more affordable prices than in the U.S.

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It's important that you understand what you're buying. Policy options, details of coverage, deductibles, and premium costs vary dramatically by country and agencies within a country. In addition, insurance providers abroad typically accept new policyholders only through a certain age. If you qualify, in-country insurance options in some of the world's top overseas retirement havens can be remarkably affordable. In the Dominican Republic, for example, a 60-year-old man could arrange health coverage for as little as $277 per year. That's $23 per month. A more comprehensive policy could be had for $1,062 per year or $88.50 per month.

Uruguay boasts one of the world's most affordable options for obtaining medical treatment as a resident. For around $50 per month you can obtain hospital-based coverage through two programs, La Asistencial and Sanatorio Mautone. As a member of either of these programs, you are covered for all in-patient treatment, surgery, emergencies, tests, and even after-care in your home. It's tremendous coverage and an amazing bargain, especially considering the standard of the care. However, you must understand that this is not health insurance, but a hospital-based program. This coverage does not follow you to any other hospital or medical facility within Uruguay and provides no coverage outside the country.

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In Ecuador, your best option can be a prepaid medical center program. These can provide coverage at more than one hospital and some plans cover you at major medical centers throughout the country and elsewhere in the region. Humana SA, for example, has been offering pre-paid medical plans in Ecuador for 13 years and is known as a leader in the field. Humana provides coverage to more than 100,000 clients throughout the country and, via their comprehensive network of medical providers, offers integrated services at low costs. A 75-year-old man can arrange basic coverage for as little as $88.58 per month or very comprehensive coverage for $165.82 per month.

Quinn Healthcare in Ireland provides coverage, including some coverage when traveling outside Ireland, for from 545 euro ($718) to 854 euro ($1,125) per year. That’s as little as $60 per month for insurance that covers you in Ireland and internationally.

[See The 8 Best Places To Retire Abroad.]

One of the most affordable health insurance options in the world is available in Malaysia. AXA Affin will insure a 50-year-old man for as little as $228 per year or $19 per month. Malaysia has been one of the top international destinations for medical tourism for more than a decade. This country boasts a high standard of health care and its medical services are among the best in the world. Many doctors have been trained in Western countries and doctors and the nursing staff usually speak English.

Kathleen Peddicord is the founder of the Live and Invest Overseas publishing group. With more than 25 years experience covering this beat, Kathleen reports daily on current opportunities for living, retiring, and investing overseas in her free e-letter. Her book, How To Retire Overseas—Everything You Need To Know To Live Well Abroad For Less, was recently released by Penguin Books.