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Less than half of expats arrange healthcare before they move

Almost one in five (19%) believe they can cover healthcare costs with travel insurance alone

Only 42% of expats secure healthcare provision before they move abroad, according to research from AXA PPP International.

The report found that despite this, 83% of people moving abroad worry about finding a good doctor in their new country. Almost one in five (19%) believe they can cover healthcare costs with travel insurance alone.

The research found that people may be overlooking health insurance cover because they believe that they will be healthier once they’ve moved abroad. Nearly nine in 10 (88%) prospective expats think they will have a healthier lifestyle in their new home. Half think the improved weather will bring the biggest health benefit, with 50% citing this as the main reason they feel they'll be in better health.

Drivers for moving abroad included the search for a new adventure (56%), a better work/life balance (40%) and better career opportunities (19%).

Tom Wilkinson, managing director of AXA PPP International, people need to be better prepared: “In order to reap the rewards expats need to prepare themselves on the many fundamental aspects of daily life, such as financial management and healthcare, which often operate differently in other countries,” he said.

“For example, those who are used to having a state health service may not realise that in other countries everyday costs, such as medical practitioner charges and prescriptions, are not covered. Likewise in certain countries even emergency services, such as ambulance transport, must be paid for upfront.”

Wilkinson said that businesses should take some responsibility here. “It is also important for employers to understand that they too need to support their employees and, by offering them a healthcare package which takes care of all their needs, they can alleviate some of the stresses of moving,” he said.