Want to Retire Overseas? What You Need to Know

Posted July 7 2015


retireDoesn’t it seem like whenever you visit some beautiful place, you never want to leave. Well, depending on the terms. I’m pretty sure that Tom Hanks couldn’t wait to get off that island in Cast Away. But if you are on holiday somewhere in the Caribbean, it’s not too hard to envision yourself calling that place “home” and truly “living the life.” That may be why it is becoming more and more popular for people to retire, and move to their dream destination to live out their golden years. But before you jump on that plane, there are some things you need to get squared away. 

 

Social Security and Other Retirement Funds 

If you lived and worked in the United States and are looking to retire abroad, your Social Security should follow you wherever you go. Also, your 401k, IRA, or any other retirement savings plan you may have administered during your working career should be available to you. However, you may have to get an account at a bank in your new country, or an international one. 

Government Sponsored Health Care 

Unlike your Social Security, Medicare (or your countries equivalent) will not follow you to your new country. However, the good news is that in many cases, being a resident in your new country can make you eligible for its government sponsored health care plan. Also, most of the developed countries around the world have Universal Health Care systems, which can be better than what is offered in the U.S. The only con is that it can take a long time to get an appointment or see a doctor. 

Insurance Options Local Health Insurance: Domestic health insurance won’t follow you to another country. And if it does, it will only offer a fraction of the coverage that it would have offered back home. So it would only make sense to keep your domestic plan if you planned on traveling back and forth to receive any medical services. In most countries, the local health insurance that is available is much like the one you may have had back home. Including a provider network that lets you know which doctors or hospitals the carrier will provide coverage for. One drawback to having a local plan is that in some cases, they will not write a new policy for you after the age of 63. 

No Health Insurance: You have the option of having no insurance coverage at all. Thus meaning you would have to pay cash for everything. If you live in the Unites States, this may seem like a crazy idea given the fact that health care costs can be more than twice as much as other countries. But, even with costs in other countries being lower, this still may not be the smartest option. 

International Health Insurance: International health insurance, also known as expatriate insurance, is essentially the same as your domestic health insurance, with coverage all around the world. So you would have coverage whether you are in your new home, or visiting your old one. This may be the best option of health insurance for most people that are retiring abroad. Especially for those who are over the age of 63 and cannot purchase a new local health insurance. 

Moving to a new country, no matter what stage in life can be an exhilarating experience. With so many tasks to complete in order to prepare yourself, it can be easy to forget some items. Read our previous blog, “Expat Checklist Before the Big Move,” for help when preparing for re-location. If you are interested in purchasing an international medical insurance plan, also known as expatriate insurance, please contact our insurance specialists at 1 954-828-1819 or +44 (0) 1624 678668 or visit us online at mhginsurance.com. We have an office full of expats, and others who have re-located, who can assist you and advise you about all the necessary steps to take when selecting the proper insurance for you or your family.