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Prioritize Your Health Care When Living Abroad

Today, I am sharing my experiences as a global citizen, discussing the importance of traveling with or without health insurance. I have traveled both with and without insurance for various reasons. For instance, when visiting countries like the United States with high out-of-pocket expenses, I always made sure to have travel medical insurance. I have had the opportunity to utilize this coverage myself and even assisted a family member in making a claim. In both instances, the experiences were positive, and I am grateful for the security it provided.

Having also been involved in underwriting travel medical insurance, I strongly believe that having such coverage is essential in case of emergencies or accidents. Given the varying laws in different countries, any form of coverage can be beneficial.

During the pandemic lockdown, I found myself in a challenging situation for over a year as I was stranded outside of Canada without insurance. Being a foreigner meant I did not have access to medical benefits in that country, resulting in potential out-of-pocket medical expenses. To avoid hospitals during the pandemic, I focused on maintaining a healthy diet, and regularly using supplements due to differences in my usual diet. Finding medical assistance was not easy in that country, prompting me to adapt and explore alternative methods to stay healthy.

If you are contemplating living in a foreign country, particularly if you have pre-existing medical conditions, it is crucial to inquire about healthcare services, costs, treatments, availability of medical translators, access to medical records, insurance options, length of waiting times, and any hospital or clinic plans which might cover some costs. Engaging with expats on social media platforms can provide valuable insights into their experiences and the availability of expat insurance. Additionally, check the availability of your medications in the new country, whether they require a prescription, and the accessibility of monitoring equipment for various conditions. Whenever possible, gather information on the costs associated with doctor visits and required tests that may need to be paid out of pocket to better manage your budget.

Consider if you would be satisfied with the medical treatment in the country you are immigrating to in the event of a more serious diagnosis or incident, and whether language could be a barrier. If you opt to go back to your home country, take into account additional expenses like the cost of the flight and the need for a medical team or special support. Be aware of your home country's requirements, including any waiting period before medical coverage is reinstated, as is the case in Canada.

It is also advantageous to assess the expenses related to dental insurance and expenses and optometry requirements, if needed.

Remember that good health is a valuable asset. With proper planning, your preparations should be beneficial and not lead to any unexpected surprises.

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