Moving abroad: Making healthcare a priority
Moving abroad can be an exciting prospect. Escaping the dull, British weather for sunnier climes can certainly be appealing. However, one thing you need to think about before choosing a destination is healthcare. Say you’re looking at Portugal property for example – have you considered what the healthcare will be like over there? If not, now is definitely the time to look into it.
Brits take their healthcare for granted as they receive a lot of it free on the NHS; many countries don’t have the same system so you could end up having to pay quite a lot of money to get treated.
Taking out international health insurance
Think you’ll automatically be able to get help from the NHS if you return back to the UK? Think again! The Telegraph has posted a great article on the issue. One thing you can do to protect yourself is take out an international health insurance policy, which actually lets you get treated back in the UK if anything does go wrong. It can be daunting going for treatment in an unfamiliar country: the language is different so you may not fully understand what treatments you’ll need, and it’s also stressful when you’re ill or injured in an unfamiliar place. So being able to head back to the UK is definitely appealing.
Not all plans give you this option, but they can still make treatment abroad a much more relaxing experience. The question is: what should you look out for in an international health insurance plan?
Firstly you need to know whether the insurance policy will cover the fees directly. Some insurers may not pay out straight away and you could be expected to pay the upfront fees. If this would likely be a problem, be sure you choose an insurer that settles the fee directly with the hospital.
In some cases you may not be able to be treated locally. This would mean you need an air ambulance or some other type of medical evacuation. Will your insurance cover this or will you be expected to pay for it?
Another thing you have to look into is whether there are any age restrictions on the policy. If you’re over 65, there are a lot of insurers who won’t accept your application. The cost of insurance also tends to increase as you get older.
Finally it’s important to look at what isn’t included in the policy – to do this you’ll need to look at the small print. Chronic conditions often aren’t included and you’ll need to pay additional costs. Always ensure you know exactly what you’re getting before you apply.
Overall healthcare is something you really need to pay attention to when you’re thinking of moving. The NHS has put together a useful guide on planning your healthcare abroad. Planning ahead will ensure you have complete peace of mind if the worst does happen while you’re away.