One of the things soon-to-be expats should keep in mind when budgeting out their expenses is that the cost of their health insurance may rise over time. This is often unavoidable, and it’s not like expat health insurance is some kind of luxury that you can drop when it becomes too expensive. That said, you can take the time to grasp the most common reasons for a rise in your expat health insurance premiums.
As you can probably guess, an individual becomes steadily more likely to require medical assistance as they grow older. If you’re more likely to require medical assistance, you’re going to present a higher potential cost, so insurers will often calculate premiums based around certain age brackets. For example, you might start to pay a different rate when you move from the 20-30 bracket into the 31-40 bracket, or you may find your premium climbs after you pass 50 years of age. This is something you can prepare for if you know those brackets in advance. You can’t stop yourself aging, but you can plan accordingly.
Medical treatments are generally getting more expensive, so medical inflation is usually much higher than normal inflation. During 2014, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) reported medical inflation at 10.34%, 6.11% higher than general inflation. The cost of insurance needs to increase to help cover those costs. What you can do is take the expected inflation of your chosen country into account. Some countries, such as the United States and Singapore, tend to have very high rates of medical inflation.
It isn’t uncommon, especially in some developing countries, for certain doctors or even hospitals to artificially elevate the prices they charge, and expats are naturally a prime target. If the fraud is not detected, it can represent a significant cost for the insurance company, which means that premiums are going to have to go up. Again, try to investigate how prevalent such practices are in your chosen country.
An experienced expat healthcare provider will know how to reduce the bills their clients pay by negotiating properly, with a clear understanding of how each country’s medical system works to back them up. They’ll be able to keep their costs low, which means they’ll be able to keep your costs low.