Is Medical Insurance Mandatory When Moving Abroad?

By admin 6 Min Read

Medical insurance is a type of coverage that protects you when you travel to another country or relocate there. It offers financial protection and enables you to access healthcare services whilst you’re abroad.

Getting a worldwide medical insurance policy provides global coverage so you can travel freely across multiple borders knowing you have continuous coverage and access to healthcare services whenever and wherever you need it.

However, you can also get single country policies that cover you within your expat country and nowhere else. If you choose this type of policy, you would need to purchase a separate medical insurance plan if you decide to travel or relocate elsewhere.

The question of whether or not health insurance is mandatory depends on the country in question. Many countries require tourists and expats to have valid medical insurance in order to access any sort of healthcare facility or medical treatment. However, in other countries, health insurance is voluntary.

In this article, we have discussed whether medical insurance is necessary when you move to another country.

Which Countries Require Medical Insurance?

The following countries require you to have an active medical insurance policy to enter the country:

  • Antarctica
  • Bolivia
  • Cuba
  • Ecuador
  • Iran
  • Israel
  • Jamaica
  • Jordan
  • Laos
  • Moldova
  • Morocco
  • Nepal
  • Qatar
  • Puerto Rico
  • Romania
  • Russia
  • Rwanda
  • Saudi Arabia
  • The Seychelles
  • Thailand
  • Turkey
  • The United Arab Emirates

There are many countries that don’t require people to have medical insurance to enter the country at the borders but require it for access to healthcare facilities within the country. Many countries that offer free public healthcare only allow citizens to access medical facilities free of charge and require their tourists and expats to purchase medical insurance for healthcare services and treatments.

What Does Medical Insurance Cover?

Medical insurance covers a range of healthcare-related things. Although every policy is unique, basic policies often cover the following.


You might require an admission to a hospital whilst living abroad, whether for an emergency or routine treatment. Health insurance coverage enables you to access your local hospital and receive treatment if and when you need it.

Paying privately for hospitalisations can be extortionate and may leave you out of pocket. Having health insurance reduces your personal costs whilst allowing you to access the core you need.

Access to higher quality medical facilities

In many countries, having health insurance enables you to access higher quality facilities and better, more advanced medical treatments that those without any insurance coverage would be denied access to.

Receiving high-quality treatments at top medical facilities enables you to recover from illnesses or injuries quickly. Top-rated medical facilities tend to have highly trained, experienced healthcare professionals and advanced equipment that ensures the very best patient outcomes.

Prescription medications 

If you require prescription medications as an expat, you can rest assured knowing that you’ll be able to get exactly what you need when you have medical insurance coverage. Whether you need ongoing prescription medications or something new to treat and acute infection, your local pharmacy will happily provide them for you following proof of your insurance policy.

Emergency medical treatment

You never know when you’ll get ill or injured and having medical insurance is essential for ensuring you can access emergency medical treatment if you require it. You’ll be able to enter your local hospital’s emergency department or a nearby walk-in centre when you have adequate coverage, meaning you can restore your health as quickly as possible and continue living your best expat life.

Coverage for pre-existing medical conditions

When you sign up for health insurance, the insurance provider will ask you whether you have any pre-existing medical problems. It’s important that you declare any ongoing health issues to your insurance provider when signing up for a policy so you can ensure that you have coverage for it.

Declaring your chronic health issues on your expat medical insurance policy covers you for any required medications, treatments, and therapies during your time abroad, whether you require gene therapy, custom orthotics, or counselling for a mental health issue. You won’t need to pay any extra money to access these treatments on a long-term basis if they are covered under your insurance policy.

What Are the Benefits of Getting Medical Insurance as an Expat?

Even if it’s not mandatory in the country you’re moving to, getting medical insurance is a good idea. It offers a number of benefits that help to keep you safe and happy during your time living in another country.

Here are some of the key benefits of purchasing a great medical insurance policy as an expat:

  • Reduced costs of medications and medical treatments or therapies
  • Access to emergency medical care
  • Peace of mind
  • Additional healthcare services, such as dental, maternity, or mental health care
  • Legal compliance in countries where medical insurance coverage is essential

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