Learn Five Reasons Why United Kingdom Expatriates Need to Purchase Global Medical Insurance
It is becoming clear to many UK citizens that they can work abroad as digital nomads or retire outside of the United Kingdom and maintain their lifestyle and family ties. Your UK citizenship will not be affected if you move to the EU or another country as noted by the UK Government. Most countries will require a visa for long-term stays or naturalization for UK expats, but also healthcare as well.
In this article, we will explain why UK citizens living abroad should buy international health insurance coverage.
1. NHS often won’t cover you abroad
The national health service provides basic healthcare services for UK residents residing in the United Kingdom, but it is not designed to cover you living abroad. As many citizens of the UK will attest, it is advisable to obtain a private supplementary health policy while living in the UK, but that plan is also not designed to cover you living abroad as an expatriate or global nomad.
As noted on the NHS website, UK citizens and residents moving abroad on a permanent basis will no longer be able to access medical treatment under normal NHS rules. The reason for this is “because the NHS is a residence-based healthcare system.” There are some circumstances where you will have some coverage if you are moving to an EU country or Switzerland. You may be able to use the UK Global Health Insurance card to get healthcare for short stays up to 90 days. Once you are in your European destination you will have to get local care OR better yet, an international health insurance policy.
2. Standard of medical care may be substandard abroad for UK expats
Even in an EU country like Ireland, many UK expats have noted that the quality of health coverage and treatment is not up to standard, so a private global health policy is a key component of your move abroad from the NHS coverage. If you are moving abroad to a developing country, often where the best beaches and a lower cost of living, the local healthcare facilities may be lacking or non-existent. This means that you should buy a global health plan that will cover you locally, but regionally and yes, back in the UK as well. Such a plan should also contain a medical evacuation rider that will provide emergency medical relocation and repatriation if required.
3. Your visa may require global health coverage
Many countries have made health coverage a requirement for setting up shop as a digital nomad or simply retiring in that destination. This includes many countries in the European Union such as Spain and Italy, but also countries in Asia, such as Thailand. Often these requirements will be very low and you may be tempted to get a local plan, but these policies will only cover you in that country alone and not back home, regionally or if you move to another country. This a big problem if you develop a pre-existing medical condition. Most international health plans that are offered via our website will easily meet the visa health requirements but ask your immigration advisor for a breakdown.
4. Peace of mind for UK expats
If you are moving abroad, a health emergency or new chronic illness or injury can not only stress you and your family, but it can seriously impact your finances and destroy your life abroad. Global health insurance provides financial security and peace of mind for just about anything life abroad throws at you. Living in the UK with NHS and private health coverage provide a great safety net for UK residents, but living your dream life as a global nomad requires a high-quality global medical plan.
Don’t be drawn into cheap policies with lesser-known insurers – we find it is best to get advice and support for a global medical plan through an experienced advisor, of course, such as ourselves. But we also recommend large global insurance providers such as Allianz or Cigna that we know will be there for the long run. Other providers, such as our Integra Global plan are also a great choice.
5. To provide coverage for preventative health expenses
Part of living a healthy life abroad or back home is making sure you are maintaining your health by eating well, exercising, keeping stress levels low also obtaining preventative healthcare and wellness from your general practitioner, but also alternative providers such as physio, massage, naturopaths and much more. Preventive healthcare is often referred to as the prevention of illness to decrease the burden of disease and associated health risk factors. UK expats who purchase preventive health coverage can use the services to help prevent and even detect serious and chronic diseases before they become a major medical concern.
These expenses can often be part of a wellness option on your global health plan or part of the overall outpatient module that is added to most international medical plans. Most global citizens will get wellness care plans that cover immunizations, flu shots, pap smear tests, cancer screening and other preventative care expenses.
What Are the international health insurance coverage solutions for British citizens abroad?
If you are a UK expatriate or live in the United Kingdom and planning to move abroad, the first step is to get a quote for a global medical plan that will cover you globally excluding OR including the USA. Of course, if you are going to be living in the USA and not eligible for a local plan there, you will definitely need a global medical plan that includes USA care. If you are wanting access to medical care in the USA or living nearby, such as the Caribbean where medical services may be lacking, it is often a great idea to get a plan that includes USA care, but it will definitely add to your premium.
What are the most popular expat health plans for UK citizens living abroad?
This is a common question we get asked by UK global nomads and expatriates – which international health plan should I get? We offer a lot of plans for Brit expats, but our most popular plans are from Cigna International as it is not only very competitive, but it can meet almost any budget as there are so many options to choose from. You can pay the premium in USD or Pounds Sterling and increase your deductible or get their silver plan to reduce your costs.
How do UK expatriates buy international health policies?
It is surprisingly easy to get a quote online for one of the global medical plans that we offer to UK and other nationalities who have become an expatriate or planning to within the next 45 days or possibly longer. It always makes sense to plan ahead for global medical care, but if you are already a UK expat or global nomad, you can still purchase a plan from one of our premier global medical insurers. Note that coverage is subject to their medical underwriting questions that can be done via the online or offline application and quote process.
British expatriates can choose from a variety of coverage options – from basic to comprehensive. Our staff is always available to answer questions via email or via zoom meetings. We don’t charge a fee, the premiums are the same whether we are involved or not and you get our advice and advocacy now and in the future at no cost.
At the end of the day, taking the next step as an expatriate from the UK requires that you buy global medical insurance. It is easy and fast and will help you both maintain your health abroad, but cover potentially large medical expenses for you and your family members.