Any US nomads found health insurance with global coverage? My current approach has been to have US health insurance, essentially a waste of money but if I ever got very sick I could go home and have coverage. My actual healthcare is a combination of travel insurance (haven’t really used it much though) and paying cash in cheap places like SE Asia and Latin America. The cobbled together approach is neither simple nor very cost-effective. Love to find a product with global coverage that also satisfies Obamacare requirements. Any leads?
I’m currently looking into MedEx, but haven’t validated if it meets the minimum for Obamacare requirements. It does look like the health care is priced by zone, where the US rates are clearly higher, so there is a possibility it does.
Edit, link to MedEx: https://www.medexassist.com/Individuals/Products/AllProducts.aspx
After doing research, I’m going to go with international coverage with GeoBlue explorer plan
For a pretty affordable monthly rate - like $150 I think - the coverage seems much better than the others like Allianz and Cigna. What makes Geo Blue stand out is there is no maximum. The others cap out at $1M which seems like a lot but the only reason I carry this is for worse case scenario catastrophic and those bills can add up.
My plan is being back in states now I am using a no deductible PPO and will see all the doctors I need now and then let that lapse. As long as you are gone for 330 days in a 12-month period you won’t pay a penalty.
And Geo Blue, while it doesn’t qualify under affordable care act as coverage, it meets requirements for previous coverage so when you eventually go back to States and apply for healthcare you can say you were previously covered.
If you return outside of open enrollment you can use change of address to qualify for new domestic coverage.
Just didn’t make sense to me to pay $250/mo for US coverage I wouldn’t need and would have extremely limited international coverage and then pay another $150. And with GeoBlue if you want you can include US coverage (even though it still won’t qualify under ACA)
Cigna has a global health insurance plan, but as far as I know, there is no global health plan that satisfies the Obamacare requirements too. But please correct me if I’m wrong. Basically with Obamacare, you cannot be refused coverage and I don’t think that’s a condition any of the global health plans want to accept. I looked briefly at the Cigna one which had the traditional long application.
I have Cigna global and had to use it for 5 hospitalizations this summer. I’d say any non-US plan is way more affordable. The Cigna plan that includes US coverage is only good for a period of 3 months per year in the US and costs a lot more for the US coverage. And I think because there’s a cap on the payments, like someone said, I don’t think it qualifies for Obamacare. But last year they didn’t want to know my exact plan for my taxes so I had no penalties.
@suuzin Regarding pre-existing conditions, because the international insurance isn’t setup for the Affordable Care Act, yes, you might have exclusions by the insurer or additional cost for coverage of pre-existing conditions. I presume if you do have international insurance without coverage of pre-existing conditions that in the worst case, you could always go back to the U.S and get U.S.-based insurance.
I have Cigna Global too. Used it without issue when I caught a nasty intestinal parasite in Quito back in May. The three months of U.S. coverage is good enough for me for visits back to the States. Keep in mind that your premiums will increase though about 25-30% for this time. You have to notify Cigna every time you move in case it impacts cost. It only has so far for me in the U.S.
Glad to hear the good experiences with Cigna, and sorry to hear about your illnesses, @Natalie and @yujin! I think as others have pointed out, it just gets expensive when you add in the tax penalties for not having Obamacare (unless you qualify for the FEIE, in which case you get an exemption). So I have Obamacare starting again Jan. 1 when I arrive in the US again for a few months to renew my passport and do some networking, and will have to figure out if I want to cancel it completely when/ if I become an international nomad again. It’s just kind of a mess for nomads, but interesting to hear you didn’t get any penalties, @Natalie ! Interested to know what you mean by “they didn’t want to know my exact plan” – is this a question you were asked on your taxes? I thought all of that would be sort of automated/ pre-filled – they would know if you had Obamacare or not?
I use Obama care with Blue Cross and Blue Shield. They cover me overseas, but I have to front the money and cover me when I return…this is with hospital visits…for any medication it is just cheaper to go to a Pharmacy abroad usually.
@chrispreynolds hmm, I have the same (Blue Cross, via Obamacare in Florida) and I think it doesn’t cover it. Do you know what plan you have that covers overseas hospital visits?
@tylertringas I have a PPO plan fully insured - Blue Select…I am 100% sure that it covers it…I have asked and reasked and asked again just to make sure. Try calling them to see what your plan entails exactly.
What you are neglecting to notice is the plans you are discussing are for US residents with specific state locations and premiums calculated accordingly. If an insurance company has reasons to believe you reside overseas, they will not pay claims.
Interesting. I’m going to do some investigating by phone. The last time I tried I got a similar response to what @db8871 writes below but it probably just pays to be persistent.
Yeah good point @db8871 I have a permanent US address and that is probably why they say they will cover me.
@tombonneau I’ve just finished 3 full (I mean, 8 hour days) of research for medical insurance and I’ve also decided on GeoBlue. The only con of thier coverage is they don’t provide complimentary 30 days emergency only cover in the US so I’ll have to get another insurance while I’m in the US, but that’s not a big deal. I evaluated 7 insurers based on recommendations from research related to digital nomad medical insurers and if anyone wants to see my spreadsheet, just send me an email [email protected] or ping me here.
I would suggest two options - GeoBlue and Cigna Global. Both offer great service and a variety of plan options to meet different needs and budget. Neither are ACA complaint plans - but if you live outside the USA for more than 330 days/year you don’t need one.
Here is a useful article on Reddit:
We looked at them all and decided to go with Cigna Global. It also cover you for 6 months in the US, just in case you have to go home.
We have Cigna Global.
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