Among the probable advantages of retiring abroad, in some places it is possible to get comprehensive health insurance for as little as $100 a month or lower and at times for free.
Some policies don't pay outside the United States - like the military policies, Medicare doesn't work overseas. When you retire abroad it would be a good idea to either buy a local insurance policy, an international policy or pay cash for medical expenses as required. Not buying insurance can feel very risky - though it makes sense in countries like Thailand or Vietnam, where a doctor's visit can cost $2.
AdvertisementWhen some retirees feel uncomfortable without medical cover, buying a local policy can be very inexpensive. In countries like Latin America, Panama, Uruguay, Ecuador and Columbia, depending on your age - you will pay less than $1000 a year. These local policies will cover you only in the particular country it was purchased, it will not cover medical costs if you are to travel out of the country.
Usually you cannot buy insurance after you are 60 or 65 years old. When you buy it earlier the policy will continue but once you cross your 60's you will not qualify for health insurance as a new policy holder. This is why when you decide to retire abroad you should work out your health needs sooner than later.
An international carrier for a policy is best when you want to move around after retirement, like you have a base in France but want to move around Europe, as you can then customize the policy according to your plans.
An international insurer like Bupa can cover you worldwide and the cost depends on the geographic scope of coverage, age and pre-existing conditions. For a 60 year old will cost approximately $300 a month. Bupa accepts new policies for up to 73 year old people. In some countries health policies are free for residents who qualify - Ireland and Europe for example.
The best plan to follow when you retire overseas is to continue paying for Medicare and also investing in a local country policy.
Hannah Punitha IRDA Licence Number: 2710062)
Kathleen Peddicord, May 2013
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