Buying international health insurance - what do people have?

Hi all,

I’ve lived in Taiwan for close to 8 years now. I’ve had an ARC for most of that time, and so have had the national health insurance. I was traveling back and forth to the US (I’m a US citizen) several times a year there for a while, so I also bought an interational plan (through IMG, the International Medical Group), but I haven’t had that for some time.

I recently got married to an R.O.C. citizen, and though we plan to stay in Taiwan for the time being, we might very well move back to the States, or possibly to mainland China sometime in the near future. So I’m thinking very seriously about going ahead and buying some kind of international health insurance for both of us.

Another reason I’m thinking about this is a scenerio brought up by a friend of mine recently, and one I’ve seen discussed on a post here before also. If one were to contract a serious illness or be severly injured in an accident which resulted in the need for years and years of expensive care, one would basically be prevented from ever moving back to one’s country of origin, as the only insurance you would have would be here.

On top of all this, are the changes brought about by the recent health care bill, which I certainly don’t understand enough about, what options I have now that I didn’t last month.

So my first question is ‘what health care do folks have on top of the national health insurance, especially if you’re an American?’ If you think the national health plan is just fine, no need to answer this one.

Second, can anyone suggest some general sites for information about health insurance? I definitely need to have a firmer grasp on what to pay attention to as a consumer.


Hey there, Riverteeth. The wife and I are on BUPA, in addition to NHI. Fortunately, we’ve never had to use it but a certain Big 4 accounting firm endorses it for its expats, so I guess that’s something. Unfortunately, its pricey compared to what we had back in the States. Very pricey, IMO, if you’re just using it as a contingency plan. Good luck!

It may be a question of semantics, but many insurance policies that aren’t specifically “international” will cover you when you are not in your home country, for a short period of time anyway. I’ve heard that NHI will even reimburse medical expenses incurred overseas, but you have to pay first out-of-pocket and it might be only for emergencies.

I keep my US insurance as I hope that one day my partner and I can move back to the US, and that policy also covers emergency treatment overseas, but routine care only by their providers.

Thanks for the answers so far! GeographicCure, yes, contingency plan is just the word I was looking for. And yes, Bupa is expensive compared to the plans I could get back in the States right now I think: $3,100 US annually for a $3,400 deductable.

I guess a basic question is, whether we should get a truely international plan like Bupa, or a US based plan that covers emergency care internationally.

Can’t you just get travel insurance when you travel and local insurance wherever you’re living, whether it’s TW, US or China?