Living abroad is widely viewed as an adventure. People move overseas to become expatriates for work, lifestyle or to retire; but sometimes, we are so busy with expat life that we often forget to take care of our health. Moving abroad can often place you in countries with limited medical care or support along with being exposed to more health and safety risks. One way to keep yourself healthy is to take steps to prevent health problems from occurring in the first place when you move overseas.
Preventive healthcare refers to medical measures designed to prevent disease. Preventive healthcare is very important for detecting health problems before they become severe, such as preventing chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes and cancer. In this article, we will help you obtain a better understanding of preventive healthcare and why it is critical for expats.
Differences Between Preventive and Diagnostic Medical Care
Preventive medical care includes screening, immunizations, lab tests and other medical tests to help you avoid any illness before you notice any symptoms.
Diagnostic medical care is following up and monitoring existing healthcare problems, including treatment based on test results. Both preventive and diagnostic medical care are important in keeping you as healthy as possible.
Preventive Healthcare for Senior Expats
Many senior expats are living a healthy and energetic lifestyle, but as many of us know, as we get older things don’t always work as well as they used to. Preventive healthcare is especially important for this age group to help them prevent disability and stay healthy.
Generally speaking, all seniors & many adult expats will benefit from these screenings and tests on a regular basis:
- Blood pressure check
- Cholesterol screening
- Cancer screening
- Diabetes screening
- Age-specific immunizations
Preventive Healthcare for Pregnant Expats
Being pregnant as an expat is exciting and overwhelming. The best way to take care of yourself and your baby is to get preventive healthcare tests and prenatal care:
- Follow routine tests such as blood and urine tests. Certain medical tests during pregnancy will reduce your risks for any potential diseases
- Visit your healthcare provider regularly and talk to medical professionals about vaccines you may need
- Check with your expat health plan to see if there is maternity coverage. Most individual plans have a 12 month waiting period while group plans usually have no waiting period
- Make sure you check in with your doctor often when you become pregnant. Advise your MD if you will be living abroad in a country where there is limited healthcare or more exposure to health risks such as infections, viruses or other hazards such as the Zika Virus.
Preventive Healthcare for Expat Children
Regular medical check-ups and screenings for your expatriate children are critical. Visit healthcare professionals and discuss any concerns on how to develop a healthy diet, physical and emotional development. Becoming an expat can be a great experience for your expat child, but it can also be a very stressful one. Subsequently, you may need to seek a mental health professional when you live abroad to help your expat children adjust to their new location. Please read our blog post article and obtain more information on Expat Parenting – Are you ready to adjust to family life abroad?
How Can International Health Insurance Assist in Preventative Care?
The cost of preventive healthcare at many private medical facilities is expensive, especially in more developed countries. Local healthcare packages for expats may include some fundamental medical coverage, but those plans usually do not cover preventive healthcare expenses or give you access to advanced private care. With tailored international health insurance from a company such as Cigna, expats are covered internationally – including medical emergency evacuation and repatriation, preventive healthcare expenses, hospitalization and treatments and medicines.
You can choose to add out-patient and wellness modules that include excellent preventive care for expatriates. If you have questions about our international medical insurance plans or you want to discuss your needs and produce a customized quote, please contact us or complete the quote form.