Medical care is a worry for expats moving to a new home as they lose the benefits of free universal health care from the British National Health Service.
Recognised as one of the best health care services in the world despite overcrowding and long waiting lists for appointments, the NHS has a proud reputation of offering some of the best treatment available.
The same cannot be said for all overseas doctors and hospitals.
Although some countries offer a service close to the NHS, such as Australia, New Zealand and Canada, private health insurance is considered a necessity for expats who want the best care in the shortest time.
Soaring costs of care and drugs are forcing many countries to demand expats have private health cover in place before they cross the border.
Private health insurance
Dubai in the United Arab Emirates is one country enforcing this expensive measure on expats.
The health service is one of the best, but is stretched to breaking point by patients suffering from minor ailments demanding treatment.
Now, everyone must have insurance to pay for their treatment.
Even Australia has private health care rules for expats on certain residence visas.
Some countries have a tradition of private medical care – like the USA. Despite the traumas in Washington over President Donald Trump attempting to repeal Obamacare, most expats will have to pay their way in an American hospital.
Take no chances
Another country falling into this category is South Africa, which some criticise for having a desire public healthcare system, but private standards are much higher and expensive, which is why private insurance is advisable.
British expats in France, Spain and Italy need a form S1 from the UK to access healthcare on the same terms as locals and will still have to pay some consultation and treatment fees that can amount to around a third of the cost of the care provided.
The elderly and expat families should not take a chance with their health cover and shop around for the best policy before leaving the UK.
Emergency evacuation is always worth considering in Africa, Asia and the Middle East to guarantee transport to the nearest top-class facility.
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