Health and Medical Care Insurance Abroad

Not really an advert. I just like the gecko.

Many, but not all employers overseas will provide you with a very basic form of accident and/or health care insurance.

Everything depends on your country of residence.

In some countries you will be eligible for the national health care system and in others you may belong to a private plan purchased by your employer (you might have to pay a certain percentage of the coverage).

Some places, you may not have any coverage at all.  Be sure to ask.

Will provided coverage be enough?

The typical medical coverage provided will help you out with the occasional cold or not-so-serious illness. If you are young and healthy, you might be okay if you don’t jump from bridges, ride motorcycles, take part in dangerous activities or even visit other countries – you might be okay.

If you are middle-aged, thinking about teaching long-term or traveling out of the country and being adventurous, then this type of coverage will not be enough for you. It’s often not suitable for long-term coverage or for a serious injury and illness.

Consider buying a good quality policy that you can take with you wherever you go.  It will cover you in the more serious situations; it will cover you in most countries. You can be that bike-riding-adventurist, because you’ll be covered from head to toe, east to west.  Maybe – be sure to check the details.

Aren’t these types of policies expensive?

Yes and no.

It will only be expensive when you have lousy or basically zero coverage while having a serious medical problem.

Some policies are more expensive; especially those offered by major insurance providers. Not to worry, you will find some reasonable alternatives. You can find ‘instant quotes’ online these days from many different providers.  Some ridiculously expensive, others surprisingly inexpensive.

Because of the low medical cost in certain countries you might not need as much coverage as you think or would have need in the USA, UK or Australia. Ask your personal physician and/or financial adviser for advice if you don’t know what to do.

Travel Insurance

A TEFL job is usually equal to ‘traveling’ for most people. Know that your basic coverage will likely not cover you when you are traveling out of the country. It is a good idea to get travel insurance if you choose to travel for a while or – as above – get an insurance package that is not dependent on being in the country where you are working.

I feel better already knowing that you know something that you really need to know if you are going to live and work overseas.

TED’s Tips™ #1: Do your research and find what policy will be the best for you in terms of coverage and cost.

TED’s Tips™ #2: If you plan to teach for a year or two or more, make sure to get an insurance policy that is portable, so you can take it with you from job to job and country to country.

I found that these policies can help you out of a difficult situation and save you a small fortune – a close friend once needed to be hospitalized during a vacation in Tanzania – luckily he had good coverage.  Everything was covered, he got excellent care and even a week’s supply of medicines when heading out the door.

TED’s Tips™ #3:  Disclaimer:  I am not a financial expert or health insurance expert or pretty much not an expert about anything.  Ask the appropriate consultant in your life about these issues.  Sorry – have to say these things these days . . . 🙂

Teaching Internships in China



Author: Ted

Semi-retired EFL teacher/teacher-trainer working and living abroad since 1989 in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.