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Health Insurance - Retirement Overseas
We are very much in favour of Australians considering retirement overseas, particularly into lower cost Asian countries. In many cases it will provide retirees with a quality of life almost completely unattainable in Australia.
It is not however, for everyone, and apart from the issue of being apart from your family there are a few practical considerations to bear in mind. A major one is access to high-quality medical and hospital treatment, as well as the option of repatriation to Australia.
The quality of healthcare in a number of Asian countries has improved dramatically over the last 10 to 15 years, making them more attractive as retirement destinations. However, the cost of International health insurance can be very substantial indeed in the retirement age groups - and there have been situations where this has been the major reason why some expatriates have returned to Australia. There are three major issues to bearing in mind :
1. Apart from annual increases to underlying insurance premiums, the price of most international health insurance policies increases with age. Once over age 65 these increases become steadily more and more substantial, to the point where the policies become so expensive that if you can pay the premium then you probably don't need the cover. This is less of a problem if you're living in a country where you are happy to rely on domestic healthcare policies, and don't need international cover.
2. Most health insurance policies will not cover pre-existing illnesses. So, your ability to change your insurer may be very much restricted if you want to continue to be covered for a particular illness or condition. Meaning, in essence, that you can become hostage to a particular Insurer.
3. Many current international insurers will not accept members after age 65.
There is quite a deal of complexity surrounding healthcare insurance and it is vital that you give it the time and attention it deserves - in particular, choosing the right health insurer from the start. And that, as you can see from above, is not simply a matter of cost.