expat health insurance

Top 3 tips to set up expat health insurance abroad

Today, expat health insurance is an absolute necessity. It’s your assurance that when something goes wrong, you have a safety net in place. However, if you’re an expat, setting up health insurance can be very confusing. Here are three tips to help make organising an expat health insurance policy overseas as simple as possible.

#1 Do your research

Healthcare coverage varies from country to country. So, before moving overseas, it’s essential to research the country’s healthcare implications. Firstly, find out whether you qualify for public healthcare, or if there are exceptions due to nationality or the length of your stay.

Secondly, ensure Australia has a reciprocal healthcare arrangement. You can do this by checking state government websites. However, even if your host country has a bilateral health agreement with Australia, it will likely only cover medical emergencies. If so, you’ll need to purchase a health insurance policy.

#2 Start living in the host country

Generally, you can’t access local healthcare benefits unless you’ve been living in your host country for a certain period. This means you may not be covered until you set up social security or sign up for a local health insurance plan. Both of these require a residential address.

#3 Ensure there are no gaps in your coverage

Even if you are eligible for subsidised healthcare, remember this may not cover all medical situations. Also keep in mind that there may be waiting periods on particular health services. For instance, you may not receive free x-rays or maternity cover until you have paid premiums for several months. To ensure you can access full health benefits right away, invest in an expat health insurance plan. For one less headache, you can arrange the policy before you move. Also, it’s similar to a traditional policy, like home or contents insurance.

As such, it covers a wide variety of scenarios, including: regular medical check-ups, treatment for significant medical problems, maternity cover and much more.

On that note, if you are continuing to pay your Australian private health insurance policy, bear in mind that many Australian private health insurance policies will not cover you for your overseas medical costs, and so an expat health insurance policy that covers your costs overseas may be essential.

For more advice on selecting the right expat health insurance cover for you, call or email our friendly team at Expat Tax Services today.

Shane Macfarlane CA
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