Best destinations for expat heathcare at the right price

Published:  6 Jan at 6 PM
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For many expats weighing up the pros and cons of a particular country, the quality and cost of healthcare is one of the most important aspects.

Affordable, quality heathcare is one of the most important aspects of expat life for older professionals looking for an overseas position, retirees seeking the perfect location and expats with young families, but standards and costs across the world aren’t easy to evaluate. Most would-be expats judge healthcare standards by those in their home countries as well as by the necessity of expensive private insurance.

According to popular expat website International Living, Malaysia is perhaps the best destination on the planet for high quality heathcare, attested to by its booming medical tourism sector over the last decade. The country has two centres for medical and surgical heathcare, one in its capital Kuala Lumpur and the second in Georgetown, with both offering highly trained doctors and specialists as well as English-speaking staff overall.

Expats heading to Malaysia from the USA will be happy that a good number of Malaysian hospitals are accredited with Joint Commission International certification, the gold standard for international heathcare providers. Once you’ve registered at your preferred hospital, waiting times are minimal and there’s no necessity for a doctor's referral.

Costa Rica is a favourite with US medical tourists for its low cost, high-quality heathcare offerings. Expats pay a fraction of home country costs for good private heathcare or can register for the CAJA government system provided they have a pensionado visa. Excellent care is provided, preventive care is emphasised and the private heathcare system is inexpensive, allowing many expats combining the two systems to their benefit.

Columbia’s heathcare provisions are also affordable and high quality, with a WHO ranking of 22 out of 191 countries. Bigger cities such as Medellin and Bogota have hospitals with Joint Commission International certification and, although it helps to speak Spanish, certified translation departments and English-speaking staff take the stress out of hospitalisation. Government health insurance can be had by expats over 60 years of age, and private insurance is abiaible up to the age of 85 at reasonable rates.

US expats are fully aware that Mexico’s heathcare is top quality at an extremely low cost compared with America. High class facilities are found everywhere, with US trained physicians, ultra-modern technology and surgical techniques the norm, all at a cost of around 50 per cent less than in the USA. Expats can also access Mexico’s public heathcare system for just a few hundred dollars annually, receiving good basic care in clinics and hospitals.
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