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  • Writer's pictureAhsan Malyk

Does US Health Insurance Work Overseas?

Insurance is a vital factor to consider for any person in the US who is thinking about moving overseas. Coverage when traveling and coverage if you live outside of the United States, are the two primary types of it.

The majority of airlines operating in the United States provide some kind of coverage for medical treatment. To grasp the benefit, you will need to verify with the individual carrier that is associated with your plan.

The following are the most significant considerations to make about insurance:

● How much are they going to pay? (either completely or as a fraction of the overall expenditures)

● What is the greatest possible advantage?

● Do they make payments directly to the health care provider?

● Do you have to make the payment and then get reimbursement?

● To file a claim for reimbursement, what kinds of documentation are necessary?

● How long must you be absent from the United States before the benefit ceases to apply to you?

● Which countries are included in their coverage?

If your current insurance provider does not provide coverage for travel, you have the option of purchasing a travel policy from a number of other providers.

Are You Covered with Insurance Outside the US?

The quick answer to whether or not you are covered if you reside outside of the United States is “not”. If you leave the United States permanently, most health insurance policies in the United States will no longer apply.

Medicare, of course, is not exempt from this either. But the extended response offers a more nuanced perspective. Therefore, if you are considering migrating overseas, it is in your best interest to inquire about it with your insurer.

Separate overseas health plans are provided by a number of the largest health insurance providers in the United States. However, in most cases, the policies applicable in the US do not protect you if you go outside the country.

Overseas Insurance Plans

Having said that, insurance companies are aware of the high expense of medical care in the United States. As a result, over the last several years, many health insurers have begun covering specific medical treatments overseas.

Of course, this does not constitute widespread coverage abroad. It is under very specific conditions, in locations outside of the United States where medical treatment is excellent.

However, it would only be applicable if the treatment is covered by the insurance provider and if you're eligible.

Replacements of the knee or hip, for example, are operations that may need arrangements in advance. This is due to the fact that the insurer will first pre-approve the treatment, as well as its cost. Only then, it would be agreed to cover it when it is being performed overseas.

The information that the policyholder has to provide can include the name of the attending physician and/or the hospital.

If your business offers a self-insured health plan that is more adaptable in terms of benefit design, it may be more open to the idea of having certain treatments carried out abroad in countries.

Medical Tourism

Medical tourism, often known as traveling to another country for the purpose of receiving medical care at a lower cost, is a booming industry in a number of nations located in Asia and Latin America.

It is common practice for hospitals that cater to medical tourists to provide estimated costs for the operations they provide. In addition, they often have a whole staff dedicated to taking care of the medical tourists' travel and lodging needs.

Therefore, providing answers to the questions asked by an insurance company is often not difficult.

However, even if your health insurance provider in the United States does cover medical tourism treatments, such as that hip replacement, it is unlikely that it will meet all of your requirements for medical care.

If you go overseas permanently, you may very likely find that you need to look into alternative possibilities for health insurance. You could have access to a first-rate nationalized healthcare system in certain nations.

You also have the choice to go with regional private insurance coverage.

Because this is typical operating practice for the vast majority of private health insurers throughout the globe, acquiring a new private coverage while traveling to another country very certainly won't cover any pre-existing problems that you may have.

On the other hand, the premium for the new coverage can end up being far less expensive than what you are now paying. Additionally, even paying for one's own medical treatment out of pocket is not prohibitively expensive in a lot of different nations throughout the world.

Figure Out if You Are Moving Out Forever

Consider keeping your health insurance in the United States, if you only want to live abroad part-time. If you intend to spend a large time overseas scouting out potential new homes before making a final decision, you should go with insurance.

You're going to need it after you've returned to the United States. And who can say for sure? You may want to think about engaging in a little bit of medical tourism for yourself if your employer pays for some of your medical treatments overseas.

Keeping Medicare Coverage

Medicare will not pay for medical treatment in a country other than the United States. The most important issue is whether or not you should continue to be covered in the event that you relocate abroad.

Keeping your Medicare coverage is, on the whole, a smart move. Nevertheless, you should discuss the specifics of your case with a professional first. If your current situation improves in the future, you never know when you could make the decision to relocate to the US again.

It is in everyone's best interest to keep Medicare Part A. Part A does not often have a monthly premium, and purchasing it at a later date might be quite expensive.

Despite the fact that your monthly costs for Part B will go up, there are a number of compelling reasons to maintain your coverage after moving abroad.

You will be able to obtain coverage the day you return to the United States, whether it be for a visit or to reside there again, which will save you the time, money, and hassle of having to fill out a new application.

Take Away

If you already have an insurance plan in your home country, there are several that will cover you abroad too. If this is the case, you may have to pay additional fees for receiving care or have coverage restrictions placed on some aspects of your care (e.g. emergencies only).

Medicaid in the United States is one example of a health insurance program that does not cover overseas health expenditures. In such circumstances, it is important to consider whether or not receiving therapy closer to home might be beneficial.

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