Retiring Abroad? – How to Handle Insurance Needs

It makes sense to consider retiring abroad if you do not think you can afford to retire in the US…but how about health insurance overseas?

In Mexico, with a million Americans living there right now, you have many options.

Most US policies and Medicare for sure, are not honored in Mexico. This is not bad news. You can for instance buy medivac insurance, that will pay for a jet to come pick you up with skilled care on board and get you back to the US for your procedure. This is available but expensive.

These comments are directed at Mexico but apply in many Latin American countries popular with US retirees.

Many foreign retirees are self insured…a Doctor visit will cost around $25 to $30 a specialist maybe $5 more…or very similar to a Medicare copay. Don’t faint but some doctors will make house calls…some will call and see how you are doing as a free followup service.

If you are a retiree in Mexico you should qualify for the Mexican governmental health care insurance which covers doctor visits, hospital stays and prescriptions…cost for a 60 year old…$270 a year…not a month a year.

If this does not strike your fancy you can buy private insurance usually less than a $100 a month.

Why is this so cheap? Lawsuits for malpractice are rare to non-existent…when doctors do not have to pay high premiums for protection from lawsuits you the consumer benefit. Defensive medicine is not practiced in other countries…or not to the extent it is in the US.

Just how much faith do I have in foreign medicine. While living on our sailboat in 1995 my wife and I had laser on our eyes performed in Caracas, Venezuela…the surgeon was training US doctors…this procedure was not then approved in the US…the surgeon had performed this surgery on over 8,000 patients…the cost $350 an eye…the surgeons fee $50. Our eyesight is great no for the last 15 years.

Retiring abroad?…do not let health insurance concerns hold you back.

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