Medicare For Expats: Guide And Moving Abroad Checklist
If youre an expat, someone who lives outside their home country, you can enroll in Medicare from abroad once youre eligible. However, theres limited coverage outside of the United States. This guide helps you decide which Medicare plans are best for you and includes a moving abroad checklist.
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Retiring abroad is becoming an increasingly popular option for Americans who want a lifestyle change. Moving to another country is an exciting prospect, but it also requires preparation.
If you decide to move abroad, youll need to consider how it will affect your current Medicare coverage. Since Medicare benefits are limited outside the United States, you may need to widen your coverage with additional plans.
This guide goes over how Medicare works overseas and how to choose plans based on your length of stay. It also features a moving abroad checklist to help you plan your move.
Advice On Retiring In A Foreign Country
If you or your spouse is nearing towards retirement age, the search for finding a location to relocate to once your retirement has probably already begun.
Additionally, it has become a popular trend for those aged 55 or older in the US to have an early retirement, so this search might start sooner than expected. It is projected that by 2014, US individuals who retire between the age of 55 and 59 will be around 72 percent according to the US Census Bureau of Labor Statistics.
If you are searching for where to retire, you might find the information found in the HSBC Expat Explorer Survey to be helpful. This survey polls expats around the world in regards to three main categories: economics, experience and raising children abroad. Here will we offer advice on guidance on finding the best places to retire. We will also have specific advice on things you should know before retiring overseas and resources for when you are ready to make the move.
What About My Health Care Requirements
Obviously, just having more money in your pocket doesnt solve everything, but it is a good start. For many, their health is just as important.
The reality is the healthcare abroad may be much better than you are used to at home. Many countries recognize the value of attracting funded retirees. To achieve this, they have boosted health spending. In some countries, this improvement only extends to the private health system. However, private health care is still very affordable in most cases.
Countries like Panama, Mexico, Argentina, and Malaysia have incredible modern hospitals at a fraction of the cost of care in the United States. Quality doctors are accessible when you want them and, in some instances, are even available for house calls.
Spain, Portugal, France, and Austria have extensive health care systems that rank amongst the best in the world for access and outcomes. Moving to a new country doesnt mean that your access to world-class health care is compromised. In fact, it can mean just the opposite!
When selecting your country to retire abroad, healthcare provider quality and choice should be important criteria.
Weve written an article onExpat health insurancewith all you need to know.
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Let Us Take Care Of Things
With all of the things youll be thinking about when considering a retirement abroad, your health insurance doesnt need to be one of them. With our global healthcare plans were already supporting retired expats all over the world. If something unexpected does happen, we can help you get back on track so you can carry on living your adventure.
If youd like to know more about the travel insurance benefits we offer, you can read more here. Our cover includes cancellations and lost baggage, and you wont pay twice for your medical benefits with our health and travel plans.
Global Medical Insurance When You Retire Overseas
Many global insurance plans also offer additional benefits including vision coverage as well as other optional add-ons. By selecting an insurance plan that suits your individual needs you can rest assured that you are covered for even the most unexpected of situations including those situations that are unique to you, such as if your new eyeglasses accidentally break or if you lose your prescription.
Just as everyone who decides to retire abroad does so for different reasons, their insurance plan and coverage are also different! In addition to specific insurance needs, a persons eligibility and premiums are also individualized based on age, current and past medical history, and relocation area. Plans and pricing will also vary depending on if you are traveling alone or as a couple or as a family. The best option for you depends on where you plan to live, who you are traveling with, and the lifestyle you intend on living while there. For example, if you plan on retiring abroad in a villa in Tuscany, your coverage and cost will be different than someone retiring in Turkey near the Iranian border.
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The Best Places To Retire Abroad In 2020
When Richard Detrich and his wife, Nikki Steele, started contemplating where to retire, they went about it methodically. The couple had already agreed to move abroad. Next, they each drew up a list of the 15 most important factors to them and then compared notes. Turned out their lists were pretty similar. The Ventura, California, residents both wanted to live in a place with warm weather and a lower cost of living that was convenient for their adult children to visit. The new home also had to be in a country that had a stable government and economy and whose residents were welcoming to newcomers. After poring over lots of data, the pair settled on Boquete, Panama, a mountain town near the narrow countrys western border with Costa Rica. Fifteen years later, they still live in that same town they selected all those years ago. Its worked out, says Detrich, now 77.
Below are our picks of favorite spots to consider retiring. We highlighted 25 countries and up to three specific locales in each, for a total of 65 places. One of them is Boquete, Panama, the town that Detrich and Steele chose. You can find more details on Detrich, retiring abroad and this list here. Forbes 25 favorite domestic retirement locations are here.
Turkey One Of The Best Value For Money Destinations
Speaking of Turkish jurisdiction, Turkey itself is next on the list. Its a great option for retirees because theres no tax on pensions, and the cost of living is super low.
A property can cost as little as $35,000 for a 2-bed apartment in Antalya, although a nicer apartment in the same area is around $106,000. However, buying $250,000 worth of property gets you a full Turkish passport, making it an attractive option for expats.
The weather is good, as youll know if youve been there on holiday. The country is rich in natural beauty with some places being simply breathtaking.
Turkey has its own distinct culture thats a fascinating blend of European and Oriental. You wont find many places like it, and this, along with its inexpensive lifestyle, is arguably its biggest draw.
- Very cheap citizenship for investment option $250,000 worth of property gets you a Turkish passport.
- Good healthcare one of the top destinations in the world for medical tourism. Local private healthcare is very affordable.
- Simplified residency process everything is online now.
- No tax on pensions.
To learn more about retirement in Turkey, the cost of living, healthcare, where expats live and more, read our Living In Turkey guide.
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Seniors: International Insurance Advice
Many retirees dream of enjoying their retirement as an expatriate, immersing themselves in a new language, culture and way life. Living out your golden years in another country can be exciting, thrilling and nerve-wracking- all at the same time. As the number of older expatriates is increasing so are some concerns like healthcare and insurance. Health insurance for aging expatriates can difficult to understand and find. Some important questions you should consider before retiring are as follows:
- Will my policy end when I reach a certain age?
- Will I be covered if I return back to my country of citizenship?
As you begin to research the many expatriate plans out there, you will notice that a big eligibility factor with most of them is age. Unfortunately, age is a huge underwriting factor with most health insurance plans for aging expatriates. As we get older, we age out of eligibility for a lot of health plans that are available.
For some plans, the age for eligibility completely ends at 65 years. Other plans offer senior coverage if youve had their plan for a specified length of time (this is usually 10 years of continuous coverage. Most plans that offer senior coverage have limited benefits and reduced maximum policy limits. Because of this, its wise to have an annually renewable international health plan in place early.
Where Should I Retire In Belize
Ambergris Caye is a 26-mile-long, 1-mile-wide little island that sits just offshore from Belize City, Belize. Its surrounded by turquoise waters and skirted along its eastern side by the Mesoamerican Reef, the longest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere.
Living here, you could enjoy all the benefits of life in the Caribbean: proximity to a life-rich reef, warm waters, abundant sunshine, friendly locals waking up each day to the sound of waves gently lapping onto the white-sand beaches just outside your window and the faint crash of the ocean farther out breaking against the coral reef
Northern Belize is another top option for retirement. Its a strangely secretive region of the Belize mainland that consists of two large districts: Orange Walk, about 80 kms northwest of Belize City, and Corozal, which is Belizes most northern district that hugs the border with Mexico.
It has a long and rich history, a former stronghold of the Maya Empire, with ruins, temples, and archaeological sites trumpeting this former glory. Nowadays, it serves as the intersection of laidback Caribbean culture, Central American farmland, and vibrant jungle.
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Discounts And Benefits On Things Like Healthcare And Entertainment
Flying wide as a way to retire may seem expensive, but with the best expat countries to retire, you can find cheaper places to stay and lots of deals on food, clothing, and entertainment.
Whats more, many nations offer discounts and benefits on things like access to healthcare and younger age requirements for things like public transportation passes.
Other Visas Available To Retire Abroad
We have discussed specific retirement visas above. But, just because your dream destination does not offer a visa explicitly aimed at people who want to retire overseas, dont give up. Many other visa programs can work for retirement abroad.
Check out our article on Passive Income Visas for more details of some of these programs. There is a range of opportunities as long as you can show that you have a steady income that will cover your living expenses. They generally dont have any age restrictions.
These visa programs can also lead to residency, permanent residency, citizenship, and a passport.
Look for visa programs with names like:
- Passive Income Visa
- Person of Independent Means Visa
- Non-lucrative Visa
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Mauritius The Ultimate Tropical Paradise
Mauritius is something of a wildcard in the top 15 of our list. Despite it not being massively popular with would-be retirees searching for a possible retirement destination, it has a growing diverse expat community from all over the world.
This is perhaps in part due to its comparatively low cost of living and the fascinating lifestyle the country offers.
Expats living in the country praise its natural landscape and weather, along with its safety. Watersports, top-class spas, great golf courses, fine cuisine, nature walks, horse riding and plenty of other activities are readily available.
As Mauritius is being discovered, foreign demand has been causing property prices to rise.
High-end luxury style villas on the seafront in the most popular areas arent cheap at all. We are speaking about 6 figures here.
Luxury apartments and penthouses with sea views can start from half a million. You would be looking at approximately the same price for a 4-bed villa in Tamarin, one of the favourite expat locations.
However, its quite possible to find a lovely villa with sea views along the west coast in Albion, for example, for around $160,000. Add another $15,000 and you can get a 4/5 bed house in Riviere des Creoles.
A flat income tax of 15% makes it pretty straightforward for expats to manage their tax affairs.
As Mauritius is an island, the cost of imported goods can be high.
Is It Cheaper To Retire In Canada Or The Us
Figuring out where to retire is a tough decision especially if youre deciding between two countries. Many people often wonder if its better to retire in Canada or the U.S.? While the countries are similar, there are some apparent differences that can make your decision much more manageable.
Heres what you should know.
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Germany Safety Stability And High Standard Of Living
Germans have an international reputation for being efficient and well managed. Unsurprisingly, the same is true of their country. If this, combined with 4 distinct, well defined seasons sounds appealing, Germany might be the country for you.
Like its neighbouring European countries, Germanys cost of living and property is on the higher end. However, you must balance this against the top-level infrastructure and public services .
Winters in Germany arewellwintery, which equates to fewer sunshine hours than every country on the list so far. However, winter walks are magical, and you could always take up skiing and skating to make the most of it.
The country has great natural diversity, ranging from the northern coastline to the wintery Alpine regions of the south, all of which are great for hiking and being outdoors in all seasons.
If youre after a retirement destination thats not too sweltering, runs like clockwork, has wholesome food and some great beer bars, Germany is a great choice.
- Top quality healthcare.
- The coastline isnt considerable there are better choices if this is a top priority.
For more information on Germany, its pros and cons, cost of living and more, read our Living In Germany guide.
It Can Be Hard To Find Affordable Living And Quality Health Care
A scene from Spain.
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Retirees have a healthy concern for their health-care options.
Health, in fact, is the No. 1 concern for retirees, according to a survey by T. Rowe Price. Indeed, 70% of retirees felt concerned about both their health and the cost of health care heading into retirement, the financial-services firm found.
For those considering retiring abroad, thats no less true and they must contend with the fact that it can be hard to figure out how good the care is in other countries, as there is no perfect ranking for health-care quality. Plus, often the countries that rank highest on health care according to a variety of measures including Norway, Sweden, Finland, Switzerland and Australia are notably pricey to live in.
So we dove into research on the quality of health care worldwide, and access to it, from the peer-reviewed medical journal the Lancet, as well as other sources, to find places where health care is considered to be of high quality. Then we looked at what it would cost to live there. Here are some places to consider if you want good health care, lots of arts and culture, tasty food, and affordable living.
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Medicare For People Who Live Abroad But Plan To Move Or Fly Back Frequently
As with Medicare benefits, youre also able to collect Social Security benefits while living abroad in most countries if youre eligible. Receiving or being eligible for Social Security benefits can qualify you for premium-free Medicare Part A.
Social Security considers you living abroad once youve stayed in a foreign country for at least 30 consecutive days. Once you return to the United States and stay for more than 30 consecutive days, youre no longer deemed living abroad.
Social Security has a screening tool for determining your eligibility to receive payments overseas.
When , consider your budget and how often youll be returning to the United States. It may be more convenient to keep your coverage if you plan to move back eventually. This will prevent you from having to go through the enrollment process again. However, youll have to pay the premiums while living overseas.
For example, a retiree who plans to travel abroad for several years but flies back several times a year to visit family can keep their current Original Medicare plan and get additional travel health insurance to ensure they have coverage regardless of their location.
In some cases, you may qualify for a special enrollment period that allows you to delay enrollment without penalty until you return to the country.
Get a Free Medicare Advantage Guide
Mexico Living Simply And Affordably
Rounding out our top 20 is Mexico, famed for its cultural appeal, simpler lifestyle and fantastic weather.
It makes a great choice for retirees who want close proximity to the USA but also a country with a fierce cultural heritage and lower cost of living.
Simplifying your lifestyle is the best way to distress and live longer and happier. Add to this inexpensive property, a lower cost of living, good quality healthcare, amazing outdoors and a good dose of sunshine, and what you get is a perfect recipe for a happy retirement. All of these are on offer in Mexico.
Besides, the cost of living is about a third of that in the USA. Your US or Canadian dollar, British pound or Euro go a long way when converted to pesos mexicanos.
The choice of locations is so big, it can be a problem just to decide where in Mexico you want to live. There are quite a few expat hotspots, of course, but the popularity pushes up the prices.
A 2-bed house with breathtaking ocean views in Ensenada, Baja California, can be found for around $300,000.
Be prepared to pay around $179,000 for a decent 2-bed apartment somewhere like Quintana Roo or a bit more to get a nice villa in a more rural area.
- International healthcare starts from around $1,500 a month and gets you services often on par with the USA.
- The quality of Mexican food and culture pretty much speaks for itself.
- Temporary residence income requirements $2,400-$2700 a month.
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