Learn About Health Costs Incurred by Expatriates Living Overseas

Living abroad is an exciting endeavor that is recommended for at least a few years. One of the preparations that you should make before you live abroad is how you will pay for medical costs should you become sick or injured. You probably can’t rely upon your domestic health plan which may cease once you live overseas or simply won’t cover your medical claims – or simply are not able to deal with complex claims incurred abroad. That is why most professionals recommend global healthcare and we thought we would list some typical claims costs for expats.

Examples of Health Claim Costs Overseas

The cost of medical services can vary widely from country to country. Some countries can provide excellent medical care at a reasonable cost while others have extremely expensive private medical care for expats, such as China, UAE, and the USA. Note that the claims costs will vary widely depending on the hospital, network, country, medical and treatment plan and much more. However, we thought it would be helpful to list the costs of some medical procedures that might be incurred in a more developed country:

Diagnosis Approximate Annual Risk $$
Arthritis $40,000 to $60,000+
Breast Cancer $40,000 to $80,000
Lymphoma $80,000 to $150,000
Heart Valve Repair or Replacement $60,000
HIV/AIDS $30,000 to $50,000
Diabetes $30,000 to $40,000
Stage I-V Kidney Disease $10,000 to $300,000
Multiple Sclerosis $80,000
Heart Transplant $300,000
Liver Transplant $250,000

Again, the above costs will be much lower if depending on where you obtain treatment. For example, one can expect the medical costs to be a lot higher in the USA, China or Singapore – but lower in countries such as India, Colombia or Mexico. Costs will also vary depending on if you sought treatment in a private vs. a public hospital or clinic. We should also mention that many expats like to go back home for medical treatment – so for Americans, that will often mean much higher medical costs back in the USA – so that USA coverage option in most global health plans will be key.

We find that it makes sense to also get a second opinion if you are getting medical treatment, especially if not urgent.

What About International Health Insurance?

All the above costs can easily bankrupt most expatriates, so it is absolutely necessary to obtain global health insurance before you move abroad or as soon as you can. Once you have a pre-existing condition, the individual health plans for expats may not be able to cover the condition, decline to cover you at all or request a higher premium. That medical coverage can not only be there to pay the above possible claims, but also provide preventative treatment that can help you avoid sickness in the future. Please contact us to learn more and discuss your unique medical insurance requirements for you and your expat family.