There are many attractions of working abroad, such as the opportunity to experience a different lifestyle, along with higher salary and lower taxation, but anyone considering working as an ex pat must be aware that one benefit they generally won’t enjoy is fully inclusive health care.
As with many good things in life, most of us don’t really appreciate the all encompassing benefits of the National Health Service until they are not available. It is enough of a shock suffering an accident during a skiing holiday and having to pay for hospital treatment if out of the European Union area, but if living abroad, it is absolutely vital to be aware of what, if any, health benefits are available in that country and have adequate provisions for cover in place before leaving the UK.
Adequate expat health insurance is absolutely vital for everyone considering working abroad. It does not matter where you will be working, or how long or short a period you will be abroad. If you are intending to work and live abroad, one of the first things you must do after you have made your decision is to sort out your health cover, before you leave the UK. Click here for further details.
It is now nearly 70 years since the NHS was established in the UK and, accordingly, there are not too many people still alive who remember how dangerous and expensive it was to be ill in Britain before 1948. It is very useful to try to visualise this if you are intending to move abroad because, the scenario will be very similar and you will have to pay for every service that you use, if you are unfortunate enough to fall ill when you are abroad.
Take, for example, if you have an accident at work and require hospital treatment. This may involve calling out an ambulance, initial first aid at the scene, transportation to hospital, diagnostics such as X-rays and then, perhaps an operation,. Following all this, you may well have to stay in hospital for a period of time and might require medication, rehabilitation therapies and further tests and observations.
In addition to paying for all the above, you will also be liable for anaesthetic and surgery fees, nursing costs, payment for all medicines and dressings, as well as forking out for your room and board.
These are not exhaustive lists, but designed to give an idea of some of the varied costs involved in medical treatment. You might hope that you are not unfortunate enough to suffer an accident, or be sufficiently ill to need hospital attention. Most of us, however, do require some kind of medical treatment, how ever minor, during the course of an average year.
This includes dental and optical treatment, as well as routine consultations with a GP and we haven’t even touched on the possible costs that would be incurred if you were unfortunate to develop a serious disease like cancer.
So, arranging adequate expat health insurance should be the first task any UK citizen finalises before he or she leaves for foreign shores.
Janie Kersland is an insurance expert who specialises in health cover. Click here for biographic details.