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3 Best Health Insurance Options for Expats

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Health insurance is daunting for all but especially so for us expats and digital nomads who are living outside of the health system we grew up in.

It can be tough to know what's covered and what isn't especially given our constant state of moving around.

I've been living abroad since 2013 in a variety of countries and on a handful of different visas. And with that, has come a handful of different health insurances. Through trial, tribulation, and a handful of hospital visits, I've found the best health insurance for expats to help you cut the fluff and get the solution best suited for you.

Short on time? Here's the cheat sheet:

💭The specific expat health insurance you choose will be based on your residence status in your host country, your pre-existing conditions, and the medical coverage you desire.

😷If you legally work abroad, chances are your job will provide you with local health insurance, saving you the cost and hassle of providing it yourself.

✈️If you travel often or don't need anything extensive, Safety Wing is a great choice to cover medical emergencies around the globe.

💪For someone that wants something more comprehensive, Allianz Care offers a variety of health plans based on what you want covered, including dental, maternity care, and pre-existing conditions.

Local Health Insurance

Now that my husband works in Italy, we have local health insurance

If you're an expat living abroad, likely you're on a visa that gives you residency benefits. Depending on the country you live in, you might have universal healthcare and don't actually need to pay for your own insurance, unless you want a private provider.

Most jobs abroad will also offer local healthcare as part of your package so if you're moving abroad for work, double check that this is offered. In the 4 countries I've lived in thanks to a job offer, I've always had local health insurance as part of my package. Still trying to find the perfect job abroad? This list of 11 great ways to work abroad has you covered.

Depending on the job and the country, this local insurance might only cover the very basics. Based on the coverage you're looking for and what you're offered, you might want a little bit more. In that case, I recommend using a private insurance provider in the country you're living in.

Since you have the legal right to live in said country, you'll also have the right to get the medical coverage you need. Just keep in mind that the costs for this will vary greatly from country to country.

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Safety Wing

As a nomad, I rely on Safety Wing

If you're not living in a country legally, meaning you're there on a tourist visa or visa-free, you'll need to look at other options. My top choice: Safety Wing.

Safety Wing is what I've used for years as a digital nomad.

It covers the basics and not much more. It's definitely one of the most affordable health insurances out there but with the low cost does mean not everything will be covered.

I like to think of Safety Wing as my coverage for emergencies. It won't get me a trip to the dentist but will help cover my hospital bill in case I'm in an accident.

A big caveat with Safety Wing, and most other travel insurance options, is that you'll need to first cover the bill and then ask for a reimbursement from Safety Wing. Since it offers worldwide coverage, they don't work directly with any hospitals or clinics but instead rely on you to submit any documents for a reimbursement.

Just know that they won't cover any pre-existing conditions and can be a little stingy on what exactly that entails but from experience, they will cover most medical emergencies. Because of this, I recommend Safety Wing most for healthy individuals that are only wanting to avoid getting stuck with a big bill in case of emergencies but aren't looking for anything more extensive than that.

I use their Nomad Insurance but they recently launched Nomad Health that covers far more than the basics and even covers you in your home country.

For international health insurance for expats, digital nomads, and travelers that don't have the legal right to get local health insurance, I highly recommend Safety Wing.

Try out Safety Wing's monthly plans here.

Allianz Care Expatriate Health Insurance

For something more comprehensive, Allianz Care is the way to go

If you're looking for something more extensive, I'd check out Allianz. Do know that I've never personally used this company before so my suggestion is based on reviews and extensive research.

What's nice about Allianz's international coverage is that they have a few insurance plans for you to choose from based on what you'd like covered and what you're ok with foregoing. Some even go as far to offer preventive care, optional dental care, and even things like laser eye treatment.

Where Safety Wing is best for individuals who just want emergency coverage, Allianz Care Expatriate Health Insurance is best for those that are looking for a far more thorough coverage plan. But with that thorough medical coverage, does come a higher price tag.

If you're applying for a digital nomad visa, many of them ask for international health insurance. Safety Wing might be enough coverage for some countries but if you want to be on the safe side, I think Allianz Care is a safer bet.

In order to find out exactly how much Allianz will cost you, you'll need to fill out a short online form to get a quote. Based on where you're going, any pre-existing conditions, and what you'd like covered, the expat health insurance cost will vary.

Get a quote from Allianz Care here.

Which Expat Health Insurance Will You Choose?

It can be easy to skip out on getting insurance while abroad but I suggest you're covered...just in case!

Before you move abroad, I'd make sure you've made your decision about which health insurance for expats you'll choose. Settling into life abroad can already be chaotic enough so it's best you already have this sorted before you arrive.

If moving abroad for a job, I'd first see if your company will provide you with local health insurance. This will save you money and hassle and get you integrated into the local system. If that's not an option, I'd go with Safety Wing if you only want to avoid a bad surprise in case of a medical emergency but if you want something more thorough that'll cover far more and give you add-on options, Allianz Care is a great choice.

Based on your lifestyle and needs and the cost you're able to pay, one of these health insurance for expats should work out well for you. So, which one will you choose?

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