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Expat Healthcare

The Ten Challenges of Expat Healthcare

Expat healthcare overseas can present several challenges, as individuals navigate unfamiliar healthcare systems, cultural differences, and language barriers.

Some typical challenges faced by expats include:

  1. Accessibility: In some countries, quality healthcare facilities may not be easily accessible, especially in remote or rural areas. Expats may have to travel long distances to reach clinics, hospitals, or specialists.

  2. Quality of care: The quality of healthcare can vary significantly between countries, and even within different regions of the same country. Expats may encounter varying levels of medical expertise, equipment, and infrastructure.

  3. Language barriers: Communication with healthcare providers can be difficult if there is a language barrier. Miscommunication may lead to confusion, misdiagnoses, or improper treatment.

  4. Cultural differences: Cultural differences can impact healthcare experiences, as certain practices or expectations may differ from an expat's home country. For example, attitudes towards pain management, patient privacy, or the patient-doctor relationship may vary.

  5. Insurance coverage: Securing comprehensive international health insurance can be challenging, and it may not cover all services or treatments. Expats may face high out-of-pocket costs or limitations on covered providers.

  6. Continuity of care: Transitioning between healthcare providers or systems can disrupt the continuity of care, making it difficult to maintain consistent treatment or manage chronic conditions.

  7. Emergency care: In some locations, emergency services may not be as efficient or well-equipped as in an expat's home country. This can pose risks in urgent situations, when timely and appropriate care is critical.

  8. Mental health support: Mental health services may be limited or have different approaches, making it difficult for expats to access appropriate support for their mental well-being.

  9. Vaccinations and disease prevention: Expats may be exposed to new diseases or infections in their host country, and they may need to adapt to different vaccination schedules or preventative measures.

  10. Repatriation: In extreme cases, expats may need to be repatriated to their home country for specialized care, which can be logistically complex and expensive.

Related: Where to go if you have arthritis

Comparison of access and quality country to county

The Lancet has a very long and involved comparison analysis of healthcare access and quality around the world. The article includes a number of maps and charts showing the data in an easy to understand form.

"Providing access to quality health care is a key component of universal health coverage, and the HAQ Index offers a robust metric for monitoring progress across health service areas. This strength is particularly important since achieving universal health coverage is an objective for countries across the development spectrum, and thus comparable measures are needed for benchmarking progress and identifying specific health areas for policy action"

World's healthiest Cities

Feb 2019: Bloomberg article ranking of cities.

Top Five World's Healthiest Cities

Dec 2018: BBC article that rates cities according to this rubric:

"...ranging from readily available healthcare to excellent mass transit to a commitment to improving access to green spaces."

The top five healthiest cities:

  1. Singapore
  2. Tokyo
  3. Perth
  4. Copenhagen
  5. Monaco

These locations heralded in the BBC article are rather expensive: Monaco average per metre cost for a residense is from €35,000 to €70,000 euros.

Most Efficient World Health Care Systems

Life Expectancy Table International

More: United Kingdom comes in at #14, and Greece ties with Germany at #30. The United States is ranked #46.

Bloomberg rankings on health care efficiency

World Health Alzheimer / Dementia rankings

Artricle includes a large map

Amazing statistics on the amount of death from alzheimers / dementia per 100,000 ranking at worldlifeexpectancy. The top ten places where death is highest from Alzheimers / Dementia:

  1. Finland
  2. Iceland
  3. United States
  4. Sweden
  5. Netherlands
  6. Switzerland
  7. Cuba
  8. Chile
  9. Andora
  10. Spain

Speaking More Than One Language Could Prevent Alzheimer's

The NPR Blog on this statistical anomaly and what it might mean.

Healthiest Community in America?

Falls Church Is America’s Healthiest Community - US News and World Report

"That community is Falls Church, a roughly 2-square-mile city nestled between the much larger counties of Arlington and Fairfax that holds the No. 1 spot in the inaugural U.S. News rankings of the Healthiest Communities in America."

Britain NHS

March 2018

NHS slaps British expat couple with £40,000 bill for emergency birth while they were on holiday in the UK

"Paul Barnes, 33, and his fiancee Sophie Henley, 25, received a £40,000 NHS bill because they live abroad in Zambia so do they not get free NHS treatment..."

The challenge of health care abroad for Americans

Medicare isn't an option when outside of the USA, so what are the strategies to make up the difference?

Story at BenefitsPro

Related: Where to go if you have arthritis

AMAZON: The Expert Expat: Your Guide to Successful Relocation Abroad

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