Affordable Healthcare



Immediate Concerns

Good affordable healthcare is vital for all. As a retiree it is important to establish the best providers of healthcare facilities and of payment for necessary services. The need for such services is likely to increase with age.

A major problem is cost. World wide health insurance cover is expensive. This is true even if a large co-payment is accepted. The difficulty of obtaining insurance cover at all increases with age. Certainly premiums will probably rise over time. Also the extent of conditions covered may reduce with advancing years.

This site provides information on such difficulties. Giving specific recommendations is almost impossible owing to the variations in personal needs. It is possible to provide indications about which countries provide the best services and to make it possible to estimate likely costs. The greatest and most developed western countries do not always provide the best facilities particularly for new and non residents. Many third world countries have excellent facilities staffed by well qualified doctors, nurses and ancillary staff.

This site will enable you to make reasoned and economically viable decisions. Logical choices will be possible between the extremes of depending only upon local public services and having full insurance cover for local and overseas treatment.

Personal Choices

Affordable healthcare is the holy grail of personal choices for the retiree. Good food, safe and comfortable shelter and sufficient entertainment are worthless without good health. It is impossible to generalize to any good effect about healthcare. Professional providers and insurance are the components of good healthcare. No two people are the same and no two opinions on insurance coincide. It depends on individual risk tolerance. Opinions will always differ about the doctors, nurses and ancillary staff and the service that they provide. The cost of treatment, aftercare and other services may be low or high according to the means of the patient. On these costs insurance premiums will be assessed. If actual charges are likely to be beyond one's pocket then recourse to an insurance policy is necessary.

There is no standard across countries for the provision of affordable healthcare. Some provide a government sponsored all inclusive system which all are entitled to use. Such services may be free at the point of service to patients or cash sub-economic co-payments may be collected from users. In other places a predominantly private provision of services is all that is available. In this case the patient must pay in full and in cash, often prior to treatment, or provide evidence of insurance acceptable to the healthcare professional or system delivering treatment.

Insurance Covers the World

Affordable Healthcare - The Questions

The best that can be done so far as advice about affordable healthcare is concerned is to provide guidance on the  questions that need to be asked when applying for insurance. An assessment of the quality of care offered overseas by various facilities is provided by the Joint Commission International. This a U.S. based non-profit organization which gives accreditation to establishments that meet their criteria for quality care. It began operations in 1999 and has accredited nearly 800 establishments in some 50 countries. Treatment at acredited institutions can be taken to be of a very good standard.

Some of the questions that need to be asked are:-

  • Will the home health insurance work overseas?
  • What standard of care may be expected?
  • How much does health insurance cost?
  • How does age affect new policy possibilities?
  • What the age limits for benefits with respect to acquired policies?
  • Is it possible to access the public health system (if any)?
  • Is free health care available overseas?
  • How is it possible to choose between policy options?
  • Should depending only on local facilities be considered?
  • How can policy options be compared?
  • What should a health policy should cover?
  • What are the policies on pre-existing conditions?
  • What deductibles are available?
  • Are dependents covered?

Many of these questions demand knowledge of particular individual - your own - details. This is why direct advice pointed at one or a few companies is difficult, often valueless, to provide. It also necessary to be wary if attempting to buy health insurance online. There are many scams and the meaning of some policy descriptions and conditions can be confusing and ambiguous. Carelessness can result in anything but affordable healthcare.

Affordable Healthcare - Personal and Country Considerations

If the decision is made that going with local healthcare only is not the most satisfactory situation then insurance becomes a matter of personal risk tolerance. Given adequate and accessible local healthcare then the insurance problem disappears. Of course life is rarely as simple as this and there are many "in between" situations that must be faced. If local care is good enough for minor day-to-day problems then insurance is necessary for only major conditions. Low cost local conditions may allow for the possibility of accepting limited international insurance cover and higher deductibles to enjoy lower premiums.

The weekly Premium is Very Reasonable

Age is Important

Two age limits are important with respect to insurance. In many countries the cut off age for obtaining a new insurance policy is 63 years. Also many options become invalid after the age of 75 so far as existing cover is concerned.

Health Tourism

Some countries actively encourage "health tourism". Some even make specific provision for the granting of permanent residence visas for those with declared health problems. A country falling into either category or both categories is likely to have a very good standard among its practicing health professionals. Health costs are also then likely to be lower than in Western First World countries.

You said Deductible not Additional!

In most less developed Third World countries there are simply not the cost-push pressures of major insurance and drug companies. Also populations are high and most people generally live close to the poverty line. Low Incomes and high unemployment affect all aspects of life. In such countries the cost of living is usually low and health costs fit in with these margins. Governments usually try to provide some basic healthcare for the poor and this tends to keep prices down.

They Never Give up Here

The Reality

Affordable healthcare for the expatriate and the retiree thus becomes a reality with no sacrifice in terms of quality of care if a mixture of local and foreign facilities via insurance is available. It will be necessary to investigate the conditions applicable to any particular country of interest. This can be done by reference to government departments (the health department usually), private organizations of professionals working in the field and any other relevant social bodies concerned with welfare. Questions to the media, immigrant assistance groups and to any individuals with personal experience may also be of value. Only personal enquiry, although time consuming, will ensure that all individual requirements can be met.

The links below between the blue lines will take you to external sites which will help you to choose what with respect to publicly provided facilities and private insurance.


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The links below between the red lines will take you other pages on this site for more detailed consideration of topics relevant to healthcare.


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You can buy books by Les on specific countries for Kindle or for other readers at the retailers mentioned below.

You can also buy a Kindle device from Amazon for reading the e-books that you purchase.

Just click below where appropriate.


Malaysia

The Philippines

Panama

Colombia

Dominican Republic

Uruguay

Dominica

Ecuador

Belize

Australia

New Zealand

Canada

Retirement Abroad - Your Complete Resource

A Short English Grammar

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