Four Major Advantages of Purchasing ExPat Health Insurance

Expat health insurance features four major advantages over domestic coverage:   Worldwide coverage no matter where you travel; local billing networks; medical evacuation options should you be injured or become seriously ill abroad; it’s less expensive.

Worldwide Coverage

American Insurance for ExPats offers long term, permanent health insurance as well as short term travel insurance that will follow you where ever you go.  If you are traveling to multiple countries in one year, or even in one trip, this insurance goes with you.  Multi-lingual customer care representatives can work directly with your care provider, in their native language, to discuss treatment options and costs.  They are also available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year so that no matter what time zone, form of currency or holiday schedule you happen to be in, a customer care professional is available.  Access to a customer care provider is available through phone, email, chat or fax.

Local Billing

Depending on the care provider you go to, some will work directly with the insurance provider, but if they are a more remote care provider, they may only accept payment at time of service.  This can be the case internationally and the insurance underwriter is familiar with this.  They will reimburse all charges associated with care.  All claim forms can be accessed on line so submission of claims is simple as long as you have access to internet, email or fax within 60 days of treatment.  Reimbursement is usually about 10 business days.

Medical Evacuation

No matter which long term health insurance plan you choose, Silver to Platinum, medical evacuation is a benefit.  Coverage is available from $50,000 per period of coverage - not subject to deductible or coinsurance - up to maximum limit, not subject to deductible or coinsurance.  In worst case scenarios,  return of mortal remains are included with coverage from $25,000.00 - $50,000.00.

However, if you are going to be traveling to a very remote location, you may want to consider purchasing a more robust medical evacuation service like MASA.  MASA stands for Medical Air Services Assistance, and they specialize in emergency evacuations from remote locations.  MASA addresses medical emergencies, in and out of the United States.  MASA is not a health insurance agency, so no physical or underwriting is required.  MASA delivers emergency air transportation and will fly spouses, friends or family members with the patient from the disaster point to the hospital and back home, or from home to visit the patient during the hospital stay.  They will also return vehicles, minor children, grandchildren and return of mortal remains.

Coverage Is Less Expensive Outside the U.S.

International health insurance is lower than health coverage at home because the claims are less expensive outside of the United States.   A doctor’s visit in the U.S. will run you $150 on average but a doctor’s visit in Venezuela or Mexico is about $30 to $40.   A private hospital room is about $300 in South America, but in the U.S., even a semiprivate room can run much higher.

Saving thousands of dollars on your health insurance is appealing to most expats, another perk of living outside the U.S. at least 6 months of the year along with the excitement of travel.   Some expats want the option of being able to seek medical care in the United States.  The American Insurance for Expats policy allows you to include or exclude U.S. coverage and premiums are lower if you take the exclusion.

Coconuts A Great Addition To Your Diet

Coconuts are full of nutrients that help stave off a number of health issues. If you are traveling abroad to an exotic location where coconuts are abundant, make sure you take advantage of this fruit’s healthy benefits. Coconuts are not only delicious, but they are good for you too.


For starters, coconut water is one of the best ways to rehydrate your body after a day in the sun as it is a natural isotonic beverage that helps carry other nutrients and oxygen to your cells. In fact, in times of famine and war, coconut water has been used as an intravenous fluid and saved many lives because it’s electrolyte (ionic mineral) content is so similar to human plasma. It’s the only natural substance that can be safely injected into the human blood stream!   However, drinking it is much more fun than injecting it.

Get Your Potassium

Coconut water also contains many nutrients including vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, amino acids and enzymes. Coconut water is a good source of the major minerals like magnesium, calcium, and potassium. It is particularly rich in potassium. In fact, a cup of coconut water contains more potassium than a banana and has less sodium than a sports drink, with no added sugar! Coconut water also contains a variety of trace elements such as zinc, selenium, iodine, sulfur, manganese, boron and molybdenum which are derived from volcanic soils and seawater, where the palms grow.

Reduce High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is one of the primary risk factors associated with heart disease and stroke. Potassium and magnesium are known to help reduce high blood pressure, and in human studies, coconut water has been shown to be effective in
reducing high blood pressure and increase circulation. In fact, the evidence is so convincing that the FDA allows coconut water to carry the claim that it “may reduce the risk of high blood pressure and stroke.”

You can buy bottled coconut water but nothing is as healthy for you as the real thing, just like getting vitamins from food is the best way to get your vitamins. If you don’t happen to live in a tropical location where coconuts grow naturally, pick one up at your local health food store and enjoy the health benefits of coconuts.

If you are traveling out of the country, make sure you have adaquate international health insurance coverage.  You never know what can happen when you are miles from home indulging in all those yummy, healthy coconut drinks.

Re-Energize With Meditation

Meditation can help calm your mind and your nerves, however, sitting in meditation can be challenging.  While trying to clear your mind, you may feel anxious that you are not attending to your busy day.  Your mind may wander and your feet may fall asleep but with continued practice, meditation does get easier.  In fact, it can help re-focus your mind so that you process information more efficiently to make better decisions.
Meditation has both short and long term benefits to brain function by actually thickening the insula, the part of the brain that links the emotional center to the thinking center.  Meditators are more equipt to control their internal psychological
and physiological responses to stimulus, or the ‘fight or flight’ response, and are able to make better decisions in times of stress.
Yoga is a great warm up to meditation because exhausting your physical energy makes calming your mind a little easier.
Simple Strategy
In a quiet area, sit on the ground or floor in an upright, relaxed position.  Make sure that you have some padding below your ankles such as a towell or yoga mat.  Rest your hands on your knees.  Facing your palms up means you want to accept energy from the universe, facing your palms down means you do want to deflect outside energy.
Close your eyes, your mouth, and bring your attention to breathing through your nostrils.  Without breathing too deeply, focus on the sensation of pulling air into your lungs through your nostrils, and the cool air.  Maintain your attention to each breath.  If your attention wanders, notice the distraction, and bring your thoughts back to your breath.  As you practice this, you will notice that your ability to focus on your breath lengthens.  Eventually, you will be able to let go of even this thought.
Make Time To Practice
If possible, schedule in meditation just like any other appointment.  I am  a licensed international health insurance agent, living in Tulum, Mexico, who practices meditation twice a week, for 30 minutes each session.   I have a standing “appointment” every Tuesday and Thursday evening to meditate which helps me maintain my practice.

Take Deep Breaths While Moving

Moving can be exciting and over-whelming at the same time.  Deciding which items to take with you, which ones to sell or donate, packing boxes, arranging for a truck and potentially a storage unit, while also juggling your change of address forms, work and maintaining some sort of family life, is a lot to juggle.  All this added stress can take a toll on your mind and your body.

When we have this kind of schedule on our plate, we can often forget to eat, let alone fit in exercise.  Existing on adrenaline, caffeine and take out is no way to live for long for as soon as the rush is over, and the adrenaline subsides, the aches and pains settle in.

When you are in the middle of a move abroad, try to keep the big picture in mind, and keep yourself organized with lists.  If things do not work out as planned today, add it to the list for tomorrow. Let’s face it, the list will never be completely crossed off so what was not accomplished today can be on the agenda for tomorrow.  The most important thing to take care of is your health during this time.

It is especially important to watch your diet during a move.  Try to cut out sugar and purchase healthy snacks that are easy to grab but nutritional.  Greek yogurt, almonds and almond butter, apples, cottage cheese, pre-cut veggies and bags of salad are some great, easy meals that include protien and nutrients.  To reduce caffeine, make sure you buy some bottles of mineral water that you can add a squeeze of lime to for a refreshing boost.

Getting to the gym may be a stretch during this time, but there are exercises you can do at home, for just minutes a day, that will help relieve tension and increase circulation.  While you are doing these quick exercises, take deep long breaths to further improve circulation and help clear your mind.

With a clear mind and relaxed body, you can look more clearly at your list, stay focused on important tasks, and sleep more soundly knowing you did the best you could do today.  Mañana is another day!



Welcome To Expat LifeStyles

Living abroad can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life for a variety of reasons. Many people begin their journey abroad with the idea of just getting away or seeking an adventure but what they discover is far more fulfilling.

The culture and the opportunity to learn a new language are a couple of the auxiliary benefits people discover and it’s quite common for foreigners to be adopted by the local communities they reside in abroad. I know this was the case for my wife and I who relocated to Tulum, Mexico over 4 years ago. What we also found were many like minded expats and other foreigners that were drawn to the area for it’s natural beauty and found a way to make a life. It wasn’t long after we settled in before we really felt like part of the community.

In the case of Tulum, Mexico we found it to be a true melting pot of people from all over the world. You can literally walk from one end of this small town (about 7 blocks) to the other and hear 6 different languages. What you also find are people that are here because they want to be and that makes most people very happy and friendly!

There’s some culture shock too and you need to be prepared for the differences in culture and timing and the way things are done in your new home country. As Americans we struggled initially with the lack of organization and appointment keeping and we were angry and confused for the first 6 months. We got a few tips from our new local friends and discovered some valuable insights into how things really worked and how to handle some of the things we were used to being automatic back in the states. The important thing to keep in mind is that it’s not your country and you should try to embrace the differences instead of complaining about something lacking or different than where you come from!

One of the other pleasant surprises we found with living abroad is the affordable international insurance. We are now saving more than 50% off our US based policies and the coverage is equal to or better than what we had! Of course we had many of the same concerns as most people about the quality of the policies and care we would receive. We have been pleasantly surprised by the level of service, convenience and coverage the IMG policies provide. These days with so many people retiring and looking for ways to get the most out of savings, the health insurance piece alone is enough to justify a move abroad for many.