Many people are moving abroad these days to work as a digital nomad or even retire abroad. Future expats will often have a pension that will allow them to live overseas, especially in a country where the cost of living is inexpensive. However, their domestic health coverage, such as Medicare, will not cover them abroad or cover will cease, so they need an international health insurance plan, but one that will cover them for a life abroad as a retired expat. But can international health insurance plans cover you for life? Here are some answers:

Retired & Older Expats Need Healthcare

But before we delve into this question, let’s examine some important points about retiring abroad and healthcare. When you retiring abroad or in your home country, it makes sense to have good health coverage as your need for health services increases as you age. Just like machines, your body starts to experience more health issues as you get older. You will find that as you age, your need for a high-quality health policy will be critical, but more so if you retire abroad.

Retired Expats Can’t Always Rely on Domestic Health Plans

Also, note that most domestic health plans in your destination country will often request that you buy a global health plan to cover unforeseen medical expenses and not allow you to buy into their government or private health schemes. Many people who retire abroad will be going to countries with limited or no health coverage for expat and undesirable medical systems which necessitate the need for a plan that provides access to regional and global medical care, including back in their home country.

Why Retired Expats Need International Health Coverage

If you are not retiring abroad, it is likely that your home healthcare from private or government sources will cover you for life. Americans who are 65 or older will be eligible for Medicare, but like most government programs, the coverage doesn’t extend past the border. If you are a Canadian expat, provincial medical plans provide little or no coverage outside Canada. Travel medical insurance plans will only provide emergency-only cover for a few months, so a global health plan is required.

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Premium Considerations for Older Expats

As you can expect, the costs of international health coverage increase as you get older. However, you can check out our premium reductions page for some tips on how to lower your international healthcare premiums. These are quite relevant for expats of any age. You should keep in mind that your premiums will increase with age and the destination country can have a big impact on your premiums. If you are older and plan to live abroad for life, make sure you get a plan that can cover you for life as an expat!

Choose an International Health Plans that Covers You for Life

The short answer is that yes, you can buy an international health insurance policy that will cover you for life when retiring abroad. However, only a few global health plan providers will cover expatriates for life if approved. Some require you to apply before age 69 while others restrict coverage after a certain age. We like the Cigna Global Health Options plan because retired expats can apply at any age and once approve, cover is there for life as long as they remain an expat. Once you return home, the plans will not be renewable as they expect you to go back onto your country’s domestic plan.

What About My Health Status When Applying?

But note that like all individual expat health plans, the coverage is subject to medical underwriting and you can’t apply until you are 45 days out from moving abroad. So it is possible that after the initial medical questions on the online application via our site, the insurer’s underwriters may decline you, ask for additional premiums or exclude a pre-existing medical condition. You can always ask the underwriter or talk to us about providing additional information.

Do you still have questions on retiring abroad with adequate healthcare? Contact us to discuss or complete our international health plan quote request form. We will then get back to you with additional questions and/or a quote. We also recommend you download our international health insurance guidebook!