Top 7 U.S. Insurance options for American Expats.
Health insurance as an American expat can be tricky to say the least. Here are your options.
Whether you are repatriating yourself or going to the US for a few weeks/ months, as an American expat your options for insurance in the worlds most expensive healthcare system can get pretty complicated. Most people living in the US get insurance through their employer or begrudgingly go without. I strongly recommend having insurance when you're in the US. If you have to be hospitalized the bills can literally ruin your life, it's that expensive.
This becomes even more complicated if you don't have proof of residence outside of the US, even if you spend most of the year outside of your home country! If you're a remote worker or freelancer, you basically have three options: global insurance, Travel Insurance, or short-term US health insurance. Short-term insurance in the US is a new phenomenon however, the minimum duration by law for all plans is 3 months, it's also really important to read the fine print on these plans because a lot of them tend to cover fewer medical services than comprehensive insurance. Which is why I've compiled a guide to the best insurance options for american expats.
1. E Health Insurance
E-Health Insurance is basically a search engine for insurance plans. What I like about E Health is that the website has a tool for you to drag and drop individual plans to compare, however the shortest plan they have is for a minimum 3 months, that's not really short term for me. Unlike most of the other companies on this list, E Health isn't targeted at expats, therefor you're coverage options are based on the zip code you provide. So if you're going back home to travel around the US for vacation this probably isn't the best option for you but if you're going to the US to live in one city for exactly 3 months then it might be perfect.
2. Global Albatross
Global Albatross prides themselves on having an advisory of international health insurance for expats. They are an insurance company specifically for expatriates. They focus exclusively on international medical and their service is free. This is my top choice for global health insurance. Contact Darren@globalalbatross.com for a free consultation.
3. Cigna Global Health
An annual policy with Cigna Global Health Insurance covers up to 6 months in the US and 200+ countries. You can find a comprehensive break downs of plans in individuals plans here.
The IMG Global website has the most comprehensive list of plans for different kinds of expats that I've seen from any insurance company. They have a great reputation for coverage, claims, and customer service.
5. Safety Wing
Safety Wing is marketed as Insurance for Nomads but has limited coverage options for the US if that is your home country. Their website states, "Yes, we cover visits home, but note that the visit has to be incidental. What we mean by incidental is that you returning home cannot be for the purpose of obtaining treatment for an illness or injury that began while abroad. For every 90 days, you are covered for up to 30 days in your home country (15 days if your home country is the US), for unforeseen eligible medical conditions. If you stay in your home country longer than 30 days (15 for USA), your coverage is void until you leave. The coverage resumes once you are out of the country again. You can’t accumulate extra days; only 30 days (or 15 days if your home country is the US) are available per 90-day period."
6. Allianz Travel
Allianz Insurance has a great reputation, however, from what I can see the US option they offer is travel insurance for US residents. This option has a lot of limitations especially if you have any pre-existing conditions or need to see a specialist. This might be good plan to go with for a, "Just in case," option or if you are coming back to your home country for a short trip just for vacation. The problem with travel insurance is that it only covers, "Incidentals," meaning only accidents related to travel are covered. So if you are going home to see your most trusted dentist or gynecologist for a check up, travel insurance won't cover it.
7. Geo Blue
Geo Blue is a branch of Blue Cross and Blue Shield, The value of going with this option is that BCBS is nationally recognized in the US so wherever you are in the states, you'll most likely find a provider within their network. They have the option of global insurance with basic or comprehensive coverage for the US and travel insurance separately.
Looking for Travel Insurance instead? Read about my top picks here.
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