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International Health Insurance

Today’s video is a reminder that the health insurance world has not kept pace in many ways with the global world we live in. We are often asked to recommend an international health insurance policy for someone who desires to live outside the United States for a long term but temporary period or an indefinite period. And for those who choose to retire outside the United States, we remind our readers that there is no viable retirement plan without a coverage plan.

We believe it is important for people to understand the significant risk they assume in purchasing international health insurance even from a seemingly reputable insurer. The problem comes down to the fact that in case of a dispute, there is no entity to appeal to other than the insurer itself.

I mention in the video an individual who had such a policy and became our client. Surgery was approved by his insurer and then retroactively denied based on a pre-existing condition which was revealed during blood work associated with the surgery. The conventional definition of a pre-existing condition does NOT include a condition that has never been diagnosed and/or caused any symptoms. This was a young man who planned to travel for a year between jobs. The situation was an outrage. However, the appeals process was to the company which maintained its ridiculous position and the only recourse was to file a lawsuit. And it just wasn’t enough money to justify litigation.

Another consideration is that premiums can escalate to the unaffordable over time as people age. And many countries, including the United States, make it difficult to access programs like Medicare unless you contributed during your working life or were married long enough to someone who did.

People choose to live outside the United States for different reasons. Some hope to stretch meager savings by living in a more affordable part of the world. Others are motivated by more exotic reasons. They simply love a particular area, country, or culture. But we encourage everyone to understand the risks associated with healthcare coverage under any of these scenarios.

And, of course, we’d love to be proven wrong so if anyone out there thinks they’ve found the solution, please be so kind to let us know. In the meantime, we wish you every happiness and blessing for the new year!