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.
When 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
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