Medical Insurance for Expats

medical insurance for expatriates

By Robert H. Page, MD and Curtis P. Page, MD

The doctors have authored the YUCATAN: Healthy Traveler’s Handbook and Mexico: Health and Safety Travel Guide.

For more information visit Available now – Playa del Carmen: Bontan, Libreria Dali, Tienda Fama – Cancun: Libreria Dali, Tienda Fama – Cozumel: Tienda Fama – Puerto Morelos: Alma Libre Bookstore

Needless to say, the Mayan Riviera is rapidly becoming a magnet for a growing number of offshore retirees looking for their own share of paradise. But even in paradise, planning for possible major medical expenses must be taken as seriously as it would back home.

Many expats think that moving in with their health policy from home is enough. After all, any major medical situation could be treated back there and the local system would be exclusively for “minor” issues. This logic works fine as long as a “major medical issue” actually permits traveling back to your home country for treatment. In most cases that is simply not recommendable, if not impossible.

Ok, so your health insurance policy covers international “emergency” claims and you are aware that the Mayan Riviera is finally being brought up to world standards regarding hospital services. But, what does “international coverage” really mean? Sometimes it is a reimbursement cover (e.g. you pay first and then the insurance company pays you) capped up to a relatively small amount. Sometimes, it is a cover for “network” hospitals. In these cases, out-of-network facilities usually imply important limitations in cover. Are the local hospitals members of your policy’s network? What are your policy’s policies regarding international events? Are air ambulance services included in your plan?

If answering these questions does not leave you a good impression of your once-beloved health policy, it does not mean that it is a bad one. It just indicates that it has been designed for your country’s local market. And yes, Mexico is cheaper than home…bu