Healthcare abroad: a woman’s thing?

It’s often women who deal with the "healthcare side" of life abroad.
Here are a few simple tips on this area which can determine the success of your time abroad.

Essential preparations for a move abroad

With their greater awareness of healthcare issues, women are usually the first to worry about them and they are right!

The change of pace (climate, shifting seasons, stress, fatigue on arrival, adjustment problems etc.) as well as the disparities in healthcare systems between the home and host countries, requires flawless planning and organisation.

It starts with an in-depth assessment of the family’s state of health. A thorough medical check-up enables complete medical records to be drawn up, which can be extremely useful abroad, and means you can set off with no optical or dental problems which are simple to treat in France but can be complex and expensive to treat abroad.

It is also essential to learn about the cost and accessibility of local healthcare and Social Security benefits

Dealing with "hard knocks"

Access to extensive repatriation assistance services such as early return home in the event of the death of a relative, sourcing and delivering urgently needed medicines or covering the costs of a relative joining the insured in the event of local hospitalisation  (if the expatriate is alone abroad) is indispensable.

Similarly, taking out reliable death and disability cover (a death or disability lump sum or daily allowance in the event of sick leave from work) is essential for any couple going to live abroad, particularly if they have children.

In the event of serious health problems, returning to France will not be an option if the patient's medical condition does not allow it. It is therefore crucial to have cover for local hospital care, with no cash advance required, and to be entitled to reimbursement of expenses as a percentage of actual costs. Bear in mind that just one day in intensive care can cost €7,500 in North America, Asia or South Africa.

When these risks are covered by French Social Security or the CFE, it is only on the basis of French reimbursement rates. CFE or Social Security top-up insurance is therefore required or cover from the first euro which is not dependent on a basic scheme.

Managing healthcare day-to-day

"Usual" healthcare expenses should be covered as a percentage of actual costs in countries where healthcare is expensive, with no excess and adequate reimbursement caps. It’s also important to check the proposed reimbursement caps.

Moreover, women who want to start a family must be prepared for a possible pregnancy, as maternity costs can be very high abroad (from €7,500 to €10,000 for a straightforward delivery in the USA or even in South America). Remember that maternity is covered only if conception took place after the health insurance was purchased. 

Finally, with certain policies, it is possible to cover any children who have stayed in France for educational purposes under the same policy as the expatriate parents.

Date of publication May 11 2012

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