Are you thinking of retiring overseas? Sunshine, warm breezes, and a slower pace of living can be oh-so-tempting as we approach our golden years, not to mention lower taxes and a much more reasonable cost of living, but what to do, what to do about health insurance overseas? Does Medicare cover you if you retire outside the United States?
The short answer is no. Although most retirees have been counting on Medicare to take care of their health insurance and healthcare needs in later life, with very few, limited exceptions, Medicare coverage stops at the U.S. border.
Yes, even if you have been paying in to Medicare for your entire working life, it will not cover your healthcare if you choose to retire outside of the United States. The very limited exceptions to this rule involve emergencies while traveling between the Continental U.S. and Alaska and emergencies where a Canadian or Mexican hospital are closer than an American hospital.
Well, If Medicare Won’t Cover My Overseas Retirement, What Can I Do For Health Insurance?
If you are planning to retire overseas, you really have three options for your health insurance coverage, and most overseas retirees choose some combination of the following:
Sign-Up With Your Local Country’s Healthcare Service. Some countries allow foreign nationals to sign up for their national healthcare service. Be advised, though, that you may be required to meet a minimum residency requirement and/or make supplemental payments for the healthcare coverage.
Buy Supplemental Health Insurance Coverage. Like in the United States, most countries have local private health insurance that you can purchase to meet your healthcare needs. However, also like in the United States, health insurance premiums often depend on how old you are and whether you have any pre-existing conditions, so if you are considering the private health insurance option, it’s much better to sign up sooner rather than later.
Paying For Your Healthcare Out-Of-Pocket. Even if you sign-up for local national healthcare and/or private health insurance, it’s still fairly likely that you will be paying for some of your healthcare out-of-pocket. The good news is that healthcare is cheaper almost anywhere else in the world than in the United States, so your chances of breaking the bank paying for your healthcare in cash are relatively low.
Are you retiring overseas? Tell us about it!
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