Expatriate, Missionary and Marine

Health Insurance for Living Abroad

Expat Health Insurance

Introduction to Health Insurance for Living Abroad

Health insurance for living abroad is a necessity in today's globalized world, where so many people are residing outside their native country for an extended period, typically living abroad a year or longer in many cases. Many people living and working overseas are not covered under their employer's insurance or a group health insurance. International health insurance is an annually renewable major medical insurance that provides a high medical policy maximum, wellness checkups, emergency medical evacuation, repatriation of remains and optional benefits such as maternity, dental, life insurance and more depending on the plan.

Eligibility for Health Insurance for Living Abroad

Anyone who is residing outside the U.S. for more than 6 months in a given year can purchase health insurance for living abroad. Whether you are a U.S. citizen or a non-U.S. citizen, you can purchase such international health insurance. Additionally, non-U.S. residents who permanently stay in their own country can also purchase global medical insurance.

Age Restrictions for Health Insurance Abroad

Persons under the age of 74 years can apply for medical insurance for living abroad. Some plans allow you to continue the coverage beyond 74 years provided you originally applied for the coverage before your 65th birthday. However, the plan available beyond 74 years of age (senior plan) comes with fewer benefits, a lower policy maximum, and more restrictions.

Geographic Area

Different plans offer different coverage areas such as:

  • Worldwide
  • Worldwide excluding US
  • Worldwide excluding US, Canada
  • Worldwide excluding US, Canada, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Macau, Singapore, Taiwan

If there is a possibility that you will move to a different country, travel to a different country, or are likely to go to another country for a treatment, please make sure that the international insurance you purchase provides coverage in that area. E.g., you plan to retire in Costa Rica, but if you would like to be able to come to the U.S., you should choose 'worldwide' coverage.


Applying for health insurance for living abroad is easy and straightforward. In addition to the demographic information, you will have to answer a series of medical questions. Unlike short term travel medical insurance, international health insurance plans are not instant issue. Once the application is submitted, it will go through medical underwriting. Underwriting is quick and usually only takes a few days.

Pre-Existing Conditions and ACA

International health insurance plans are not ACA (Obamacare or PPACA) compliant. That means that they generally don't provide an unlimited policy maximum and there are exclusions or limitations of pre-existing conditions. You will have to disclose your medical conditions and it is possible that you will be declined altogether due to specific conditions that may be excluded. Some conditions could also be covered at a higher price.

Exception: GeoBlue Xplorer can apply prior coverage to the pre-existing conditions waiting period, provided you were covered with a creditable coverage (ACA compliant) plan and your insurance company will issue a 'Certificate of Creditable Coverage'.

Formerly, U.S. residents were required to carry ACA compliant health insurance plans, even if they normally reside outside the U.S., but would be in the U.S. for more than 35 days in a given year, or else face a federal tax penalty. However, this requirement ended in January, 2019, and there is no longer a federal penalty for U.S. residents in this situation who do not carry ACA compliant insurance. But it should be noted that although the federal penalty no longer exists, there may be state penalties depending upon where you reside in the U.S. If this is the case for your state, you would need to decide if it is better to have ACA compliant insurance in addition to international insurance, or simply to pay the state penalty. Of course, if you plan to be outside the U.S. for more than 330 days in a year, this would not apply.

International Plans vs Local Plans

Those living internationally and even  local residents outside the U.S. often face the choice of whether to purchase an international insurance plan or purchase a local plan. There is no one answer for everyone in every situation. Usually a local plan is limited to a specific country and coverage is not transferrable if you decide to visit or reside in another country, or would like to go to another country for a treatment. In addition, a local insurance plan would not cover emergency medical evacuation and repatriation of remains. Moreover, some local insurance plans may only provide coverage at public hospitals where quality treatment may not be available, or the plan's policy maximum is so low that it would be highly inadequate to receive treatment in a private hospital that provides excellent care. In short, each situation would have to be evaluated on a case by case basis.

Did you know?

Prices are regulated by law.

You cannot find a lower price anywhere for the same product.

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Why purchase insurance from Insubuy®?

Same Price. Better Service.®

There are many advantages in purchasing from Insubuy® and no disadvantages.

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Visiting USA?

Healthcare costs are very high in the U.S.

Buy U.S. based visitors insurance and enjoy your trip.

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Traveling abroad?

Did you know that your insurance may not cover you abroad or that it may only provide limited coverage?

Purchase travel medical insurance that includes emergency medical evacuation.

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New immigrant to USA?

You are not eligible to enroll in Medicare for the first 5 years.

Purchase new immigrant medical insurance to bridge the gap.

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Going on a vacation?

You could lose your non-refundable trip costs if you had to cancel your trip.

Buy a trip cancellation insurance package plan and be worry-free.

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Are you an exchange visitor to USA?

The U.S. Department of State requires all J visa holders to purchase compliant insurance.

Buy J visa medical insurance to meet your requirements.

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Traveling to Europe?

Schengen countries require most non-US citizens to purchase Schengen visa insurance.

Make an instant purchase online and get instant visa letter.

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Traveling frequently throughout the year?

You don't need to purchase travel insurance for every trip.

Purchase annual multi trip travel insurance for your travels.

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International student in the U.S.?

Most schools require international students to purchase health insurance.

Purchase international student health insurance that meets most school requirements.

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