Healthcare and Medical While Living Abroad

We’ve slowly readjusted to the concept of health insurance now that we’re back in the United States and while copays are SUCH a great thing on one hand, those beginning-of-the-year deductible amounts are NOT so hot.

Some of the lessons we didn’t realize we would learn when it comes to health care and medical insurance abroad?


(note: this blog post relates most specifically to our experience in India between 2009-2012)

1.  Get used to the idea that you will need to take your records everywhere with you. Just get used to the idea and create nice, organized folders for everyone’s paperwork. There were few computerized patient records when we were there.

2. Of course, this depends on your specific insurance company, but be prepared to pay 100% of your bill at the time the medical services were rendered, and be required to seek reimbursement later.

3. Be prepared to have your insurance company deny claims (leaving you to foot the originally paid bill) or require what seems like a ridiculous amount of information due to different coding structures. We also had some pretty ridiculous issues come about because currency wasn’t adjusted, alternate languages couldn’t be transcribed, etc.

4. This is a big one. Before leaving your current country, be diligent to request and receive ALL x-rays, medical records, medical notes, etc.


There are also this great resource to check out if this topic interests you, Defining Moves : Healthcare Checklists.


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  1. says

    … and for those of us whose home countries have state funded healthcare/insurance (eg UK, Canada) be prepared for shock and horror at how much healthcare actually costs!

    • says

      It is really a myriad of emotions that one goes through when talking about/experiencing healthcare outside of your home country! Judy, never thought about your reality coming from Canada!