Virus spread making expats think twice about destinations

Virus spread making expats think twice about destinations

Virus spread making expats think twice about destinations

For those planning to leave the home country for a stress-free retirement, is the coronavirus epidemic a wake-up call?

One key aspect of retiring or working overseas is the new country’s level of healthcare expertise combined with its cost, as coping with a medical emergency is one of the scariest aspects of relocation. Obviously, predicting when and where as yet unknown bugs will emerge, handling an infection when you can’t yet speak the language is one of the average expat’s worst nightmares. Cost, quality and access are the three aspects of overseas healthcare which need to be examined before a final decision as regards destination is made.

COVID -19 is now believed to have infected more than 100,000 individuals in 79 countries worldwide, with the World Health Organisation now predicting every country will eventually succumb to infections due to the ease of international travel. However, would-be expats are now having to take the bug into consideration when choosing a new country. The coronavirus isn’t the first international epidemic to affect citizens and expats alike across the vast majority of favoured locations for work or retirement, but it’s possibly the first to generate so much world-wide attention in online and offline media.

One issue being discussed online is whether home state medical insurance provisions can be used elsewhere in the world by expats. For example, many older USA retirees are asking whether basic Medicare will cover them once they’re no longer USA residents, with the same question as regards the NHS coming up on British expat-aimed websites. The answer to both questions, taking Brexit into account for Brits, is no. In the vast majority of popular expat destinations worldwide, the cost of healthcare is cheaper than that in the USA, although standards may not be as high.

For UK expats used to the NHS it’s a similar story, and private healthcare costs can be surprisingly high in developing countries where standards and the use of the English language may be poor. It’s tricky to judge for those who’re researching for an affordable retirement, especially as regards quality. For example, first world Spain has far higher standards and far lower costs than, say, several Southeast Asian countries and, unfortunately for older would-be expats, healthcare is now one of the most important factors as regards the final choice of location..

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