Why Choose International Instead of Local Expat Health Coverage?

When you choose your expat healthcare insurance, one of the most vital decisions you’ll need to make is whether to opt for local or international coverage. The reduced cost associated with local coverage can be more than a little tempting. That said, you should still almost always opt for international health insurance, and here are just a few good reasons why.

Lack of Portability

The main problem with local health insurance plans is that they generally fail to cover any trips to your home country or to another country. This is not always an issue, but there’s a chance you’ll find yourself requiring evacuation home or to another country thanks to the lack of equipment or expertise in your new expat home country. Of course, this will only be a problem in cases of serious injury, but that’s just when you need coverage the most.


Even if you don’t get injured, you might still find yourself wanting to move to another country. For example, you may start as an expat in Thailand before deciding that you much prefer Vietnam. With a local plan, you’ll need to cancel your current coverage and then take out an entirely new plan for the new country. If you’ve become much older or developed any kind of ongoing condition, this can be either expensive or completely impossible.

Less Predictable Costs

Finally, it’s well worth keeping in mind that health insurance premiums do fluctuate each year, but costs will be more predictable when you opt for global health insurance coverage. This is simply because premiums are based on a wider range of factors; in contrast, local coverage premiums can change dramatically. It might be cheaper to sign up for local coverage, but your costs will be less predictable and therefore harder to manage.