We have seen many French citizens visiting our website and requesting information on international healthcare for moving abroad as an expatriate. They often ask for the best health insurance options for French expatriates and global nomads.
French expats realize their European Health Card will have little or no coverage outside the European Union. So, we thought we would put together some reasons why they should buy global health insurance and the best options and plans available.
Why European Expats Need Global Healthcare Coverage
We have put together some reasons why most future and current European ex-pats and global nomads should buy global healthcare:
One: Most French Health Plans Won’t Cover Expatriates Abroad
France has a universal healthcare system called “La Sécurité Sociale” or Social Security. This system provides healthcare coverage to all French citizens and residents. The plan is quite comprehensive and is funded through taxes and social contributions. The health plan reimburses medical expenses, including doctor visits, hospital stays, and prescription medications. There are also some excellent private health plans for French citizens in France.
Those covered by the La Sécurité Sociale who have moved abroad are no longer residents of the EU, and since they are not contributing to the tax revenue that funds the government, they won’t be covered abroad. Expats from France are advised to secure international health insurance to ensure comprehensive coverage while living abroad, as they no longer fall under the jurisdiction of the national healthcare system.
Two: Local Coverage Might Not Be Available
Like the La Sécurité Sociale, most countries’ health systems are designed to cover locals, and expats often can’t qualify for local government or even private plans, or there may be a long waiting period. For example, Canada could have a three-month or several-year waiting period before becoming eligible.
Local healthcare may also not be offered to French expats because of residency requirements, legal compliance and bureaucratic processes.
Three: Expat Destination Health System May be Substandard
Sadly, much of the world has underdeveloped healthcare systems and insurance plans, especially in developing countries. An expat health plan can give French expats a way to access local, but more importantly, regional and international healthcare, even back in France.
Additionally, overcrowding, limited resources, and inconsistent quality of healthcare facilities in some regions may result in suboptimal care, making international health insurance a valuable asset for expats seeking reliable and comprehensive medical services. Language barriers, cultural differences, and unfamiliar medical practices can also challenge French citizens living abroad.
Four: Global and Regional Access
While accessing local healthcare may be easy in some French expat destinations, for the reason noted above, you may want to be able to seek medical care regionally or globally. For example, we often get requests from UK expats who live in Caribbean countries such as the Bahamas, but they want to be able to seek medical care in Miami or maybe in Panama. Adding the ability to get medical treatment in the USA will cost expats some extra premium, as you would expect.
French citizens living in countries with limited healthcare should ensure they buy an expat health plan that includes optional medical evacuation and repatriation. In emergencies, global healthcare may include evacuation to the nearest suitable medical facility or even repatriation to France. Note that the insurer and their evac provider must approve and coordinate such evacuations.
Five: Continuity of Care for French citizens Abroad
Most international health insurance plans offer expats the peace of mind that they can continue treatment for pre-existing conditions that occur after being covered or ongoing health concerns, especially if they move from one country to another. This is especially important for French global nomads who want to ensure a seamless healthcare experience.
Six: Compliance with Visa Requirements
In some countries, such as Spain or Thailand, having valid global health insurance is a visa requirement for French expats. Global medical coverage may help these expats meet these requirements, ensuring their legal status in their host country. Every country has different requirements, often subject to change without notice.
This requirement is because many host countries don’t want global citizens to tax the local health system resources.
Seven: Speedy Access to Private Care
Even in the most developed expat country destinations, access to medical care via the universal health system that provides public healthcare may be minimal. In countries such as Mexico and Canada, locals and expats may experience a very long waiting list for non-emergency care. Public health care may also be substandard when compared to the private system.
Note that you should choose a global health provider which will allow you to seek medical care from any facility or medical doctor you wish but also give you access to a big medical network in your expat destination and even back home in France. Many global citizens prefer a policy allowing them to seek medical care by showing their expat health card at a hospital inside the insurer’s network.
Eight: Peace of Mind
Knowing that you are covered in any healthcare situation, even in remote or underdeveloped areas, provides peace of mind. An uninsured medical claim abroad, especially in expensive countries such as Hong Kong, China and the USA, can lead to financial ruin. The internet is littered with stories of ex-pats and tourists who have traveled abroad and have not had adequate health coverage.
With financial protection and comprehensive coverage assurance, expats can focus on their work or lifestyle, knowing that their health is safeguarded, minimizing worries about unexpected medical expenses and uncertainties in foreign healthcare systems.
Some Final Thoughts for French Citizens Considering Their Global Healthcare
It’s essential for future and current French expats to consult with a qualified insurance expert as local insurance advisors abroad or even back home in Paris or Leon may have limited experience and exposure to expat healthcare companies and knowledge. It makes sense to explore specific needs, understand the options available, and choose the most suitable international health insurance plan for their circumstances.
Additionally, insurance regulations and offerings may change over time, so expats need to stay updated with the latest information.