Retiring Abroad? Insurance Considerations Before You Move.
The freedom to retire means no longer having to work every day and having the ability to travel at leisure. It also means you can sell your house and spend your senior years living in a foreign country taking in new experiences and meeting new people; but as romantic as retiring abroad sounds there are considerations for insurance that need to be taken seriously to ensure you are covered in the case of an emergency or encounter health problems.
International Health Insurance for Retirees Living Abroad
While your Social Security may apply regardless of your international destination, more than likely your health insurance will not. Investing in inadequate health and medical insurance is a requirement for many countries and may also be a requirement of a visa. If you live abroad for the majority of the year, then you need to invest in a high-quality international health insurance plan to give yourself and those back at home peace of mind. Unlike basic travel medical insurance, which is only valid for a limited amount of time and does not offer the same broad range of coverage, international health insurance or expatriate insurance plans often cover:
- The ability to choose your hospital or medical facility
- Routine doctor’s visits and testing
- Access to 24-hour emergency assistance and a medical hotline
- Emergency Evacuation
- Dental coverage
- Prescription benefits
Related: Senior Travel Insurance Options for trips of less than one year.
Global Medical Plans When you Retire Overseas
Many global insurance plans also offer additional benefits including vision coverage as well as other optional add-ons. By selecting an insurance plan that suits your individual needs you can rest assured that you are covered for even the most unexpected of situations – including those situations that are unique to you, such as if your new eyeglasses accidentally break or if you lose your prescription.
Just as everyone who decides to retire abroad does so for different reasons, their insurance plan and coverage are also different! In addition to specific insurance needs, a person’s eligibility and premiums are also individualized based on age, current and past medical history, and relocation area. Plans and pricing will also vary depending on if you are traveling alone or as a couple or as a family. The best option for you depends on where you plan to live, who you are traveling with, and the lifestyle you intend on living while there. For example, if you plan on retiring abroad in a villa in Tuscany, your coverage and cost will be different than someone retiring in Turkey near the Iranian border.
Retiring abroad is not everyone. If you plan on traveling internationally while you decide whether or not you want to stay in a specific country permanently or if you plan on only spending a portion of the year overseas, then you may want to look at travel insurance or a basic international insurance plan. Before deciding it is important to note what coverage you need and want, i.e., vision coverage if you rely on your glasses to drive, as well as your intentions while you will be living abroad, i.e., hiking the mountains versus reading on a balcony overlooking vineyards. Once you know this contact a licensed insurance agent and review a plan’s inclusions as well as exclusions to ensure you are fully covered.
Best HealthCare for Retirees Abroad
We work with most international insurance providers and can strongly recommend Cigna Global Insurance as a preferred insurance provider for seniors retiring abroad. They will cover seniors of all ages and offer a flexible plan design allowing you to pick benefits you need (and exclude those you don’t).
- The flexibility to tailor a plan to suit your individual needs
- Access to Cigna Global’s network of trusted hospitals, clinics, and doctors
- The convenience and confidence of 24/7/365 customer service
Advice on Medicare and Seniors Living Abroad
(Source: Medicare Interactive)
If you live outside the United States, you should understand how your Medicare is affected and should make decisions about your enrollment in Medicare. If you qualify for Medicare, you can have Medicare Parts A and B, also known as Original Medicare, when you live abroad—whether you enroll before you leave the United States or after you move to a foreign country. However, Medicare does not typically cover medical care you receive outside of the United States.
To decide if you need your Medicare while living abroad, you need to consider costs, your circumstances, and plans. Most people pay no premium for Part A coverage for inpatient hospital services. It is usually best to keep Part A, even if you are moving abroad since it will not cost you anything. To have Part B coverage, you must pay the Part B premium. You may also need to keep Part B, especially if you plan to move back to the United States in the future or travel here frequently. Keeping Medicare when you live abroad will ensure that Medicare is ready to pay for your care when you return to the United States to live or travel. If you fail to pay for Part B while overseas, you may go months without health coverage when you move back to the United States. You may have to wait until the General Enrollment Period (January 1 – March 31 of every year) to enroll and then wait until July 1 for your Part B coverage to start. Also, if you do not keep Part B while living overseas, upon your return, you may face lifelong premium penalties that will make your Medicare coverage more expensive.
Seniors: International Insurance Advice
Many retirees dream of enjoying their retirement as an expatriate, immersing themselves in a new language, culture and way life. Living out your golden years in another country can be exciting, thrilling and nerve-wracking- all at the same time. As the number of older expatriates is increasing so are some concerns like healthcare and insurance. Health insurance for aging expatriates can difficult to understand and find. Some important questions you should consider before retiring are as follows:
- Will my policy end when I reach a certain age?
- Will I be covered if I return back to my country of citizenship?
As you begin to research the many expatriate plans out there, you will notice that a big eligibility factor with most of them is age. Unfortunately, age is a huge underwriting factor with most health insurance plans for aging expatriates. As we get older, we “age” out of eligibility for a lot of health plans that are available.
For some plans, the age for eligibility completely ends at 65 years. Other plans offer “senior coverage” if you’ve had their plan for a specified length of time (this is usually 10 years of continuous coverage. Most plans that offer “senior coverage” have limited benefits and reduced maximum policy limits. Because of this, it’s wise to have an annually renewable international health plan in place – early.
Related: Travel Insurance Plans for Seniors
There are several types of health insurance plans for aging expatriates available in the marketplace today. Some are annually renewable, providing worldwide coverage and others are short-term plans that will provide coverage outside the home country.
If you are considering a long-term, annually renewable plan then the Global Medical plan provides worldwide global health insurance for retired expatriates. This plan offers lifetime coverage if you enroll in the plan by your 65th birthday and maintain continuous coverage to age 75. Prior to your 75th birthday, you will receive a summary of benefits for the new plan, “Global Senior Plan”, and an enrollment form for coverage. There is no additional medical underwriting required! You simply need to review the benefits, complete and return the enrollment form with your premium.
If you’re already over 65 and haven’t been enrolled in a long-term plan there are still other options available. The Cigna Global health plan offers annually renewable coverage to expatriates until 80 years of age. If taken out before 80 years of age, this plan will offer lifetime coverage, as long as you maintain your premium.
Articles for Seniors Moving Abroad:
- ACA and Global Insurance
- Advice on Retiring Overseas
- Senior Medicare Overseas: Get The Coverage You Need
- Sign up for Medicare Part B Overseas
- Why You Should Consider Retiring Abroad