podcast tracking

Living Abroad: Healthcare For Expats & More

Healthcare for expats can be tricky. Let’s look at planning your next adventure, what to do if you need healthcare abroad, and the best countries for expats!

While living as an expatriate is exciting and rewarding, healthcare for expats can come with a lot of challenges. Let’s look at some things to plan before heading on your next adventure, what to do if you need healthcare abroad, and the countries with the best healthcare for expats.

It’s important to realize that being a foreigner abroad can take some getting used to, so it’s important to have the basics down in case of an emergency.

best countries for expats

General Tips For Expats:

Before you set off, it’s important to look at a few things from a safety and security perspective, like:

1. Stability and Security Are Important

Researching the political stability of your destination gives you insights into the overall safety of the country. Political instability can lead to social unrest, affecting your daily life and well-being.

2. Know Your Legal and Civil Rights

Different countries have varying laws and regulations that might impact your rights as an expat. Understanding the legal system and your rights as a foreign resident is essential to avoid any misunderstandings or complications.

3. Stay Aware of Visa and Immigration Policies

Political changes can influence visa and immigration policies. Staying updated on these policies ensures that you comply with the necessary requirements and avoid any legal issues.

4. Research the Job Opportunities + Investment and Business Climates

If you’re considering starting a business, investing, or working in your host country, understanding the political environment is crucial. Political decisions can impact business regulations, taxes, and foreign investment policies. Researching the job market and employment opportunities gives you insight into whether you’ll be able to find suitable work in your field. It helps you assess the stability and growth potential of the job market and the wider economy.

5. Factor in the Cost-of-Living

Understanding the cost-of-living, including housing, transportation, groceries, and other essentials, is crucial for financial planning. It helps you budget effectively and ensures that your income aligns with the local expenses.

Expatisan has a nifty cost-of-living comparison calculator that covers 2,231 cities around the world.

6. Stay Aware of Currency Exchange Rates

Knowing the exchange rates between your home currency and the local currency helps you understand how far your money will go. It affects your purchasing power and the value of anything you might send back home.

7. Stay Safe

Researching crime statistics, types of crimes, and areas with higher crime rates can help you choose a neighborhood that aligns with your safety preferences. Knowing about crime hotspots can guide you in avoiding risky areas while exploring your new surroundings. Either way, it’s always a good idea to take precautionary measures. Understanding common safety practices, such as securing your belongings and being vigilant, helps you adapt to local safety norms.

8. Don’t Forget About Cultural Sensitivity

Learning about local customs, greetings, gestures, and appropriate behavior in different situations helps you avoid misunderstandings and show respect. Understanding cultural nuances, taboos, and sensitive topics ensures you interact thoughtfully and foster positive relationships with locals. This includes being aware of appropriate clothing choices, especially in conservative cultures, reflecting your respect for local norms.

9. Healthcare Quality

Understanding the healthcare system’s accessibility, affordability, and quality is crucial for maintaining your well-being. Psst. We’ll talk about a helpful healthcare service for expats later on in the post.

10. Research Education and Services

Researching the availability and quality of education, public services, and amenities ensures a comfortable life for you and your family. Especially if your children will be going to a public school in your new country. It might also be worth researching community centers in the area that might offer additional educational and extra curricular support and resources.

11. Connect With Other Expats To Share Experiences

Expats who have been through similar challenges can provide advice, tips, and emotional support.

In addition, expats living in your host country can offer insights into navigating administrative processes, finding hidden gems, and adapting to local life. Expatriate groups and communities are a great way to help you build a social circle, and combat feelings of isolation and homesickness.

Plus, expat networks may also provide job leads, career advice, and opportunities for professional growth.

expat travel

Expat Health Insurance Tips:

Navigating expat health insurance requires careful consideration to make sure you’re covered in the event of anything happening. Here are some steps you can take:

1. Assess Your Needs

Understand your specific needs, including any pre-existing conditions, regular medications, and potential family members you need to cover.

2. Understand the Coverage Scope

Check what the insurance policy covers. Ensure it aligns with your needs and the healthcare standards of your host country.

3. International Coverage is a Must

Opt for a plan that provides international coverage, allowing you to receive medical care not only in your host country but also in other countries if you travel.

4. Opt into Emergency Services

Make sure the policy includes coverage for emergency medical evacuation and repatriation. In case of a serious medical issue, these services can be lifesaving and financially crucial.

5. Check for a Network of Providers

Check if the insurance company has a network of healthcare providers in your host country. Having access to recognized hospitals and doctors can streamline the medical process.

6. Look for Plans with Direct Billing

Look for plans that offer direct billing with medical facilities. This means that the insurance company pays the hospital directly for covered services, reducing your upfront expenses.

7. Double Check the Pre-Existing Conditions Section

Understand how pre-existing conditions are treated under your policy. Some policies might have waiting periods or exclusions for certain conditions.

8. Familiarise Yourself with the Claim Process

Research the claims process – how easy it is to file a claim, the required documentation, and the turnaround time for reimbursements.

9. Consider Deductibles and Premiums

Keep in mind the trade-off between premiums and deductibles when selecting your policy for expat health insurance. Opting for a lower premium might mean higher deductibles, while a higher premium could mean lower deductibles.

10. Check for Exclusions and Limitations

Thoroughly read the policy to understand if there are any exclusions or limitations. With some policies, certain activities or treatments might not be covered, so it’s crucial to know what you’re getting.

11. Customer Support is Essential

Choose an insurance provider known for its excellent customer service. When you need assistance, a responsive and helpful team can make a significant difference. Trust us – the last thing you need is any additional stress.

12. Research the Insurer

Do some research on the insurer’s reputation, including financial stability, and reviews (not just any reviews, but reviews from other expats specifically). You want to ensure that the company is reliable, capable of honoring claims, and has products and services tailored to expats.

13. Add-Ons and Additional Coverage

Explore options for adding dental coverage, vision care, or other specific needs that might not be included in the standard policy. If a policy doesn’t provide any add-ons you run the risk of not having personalized coverage.

14. You’ll Want Telemedicine Coverage

Expat health insurance is different to other types of health and travel insurance. Some insurance providers might also cover telemedicine consultations, which definitely comes in handy if you’re away from home and don’t want to go to a local clinic.

15. Always Compare Multiple Quotes

Get quotes from different insurance providers to compare coverage, benefits, and costs. Never go with the first quote without doing more research on other policies. This helps you find the best value for your needs.

Air Dr Promotional Banners 10

10 Of The Best Countries For Expats

1. Mexico

A vibrant country that’s widely considered the best country for expats, Mexico is a popular location for expats looking for travel and relaxation.


  • Affordable cost of living: Mexico offers a relatively low cost of living, making it an attractive destination for expats seeking to stretch their budgets.
  • Diverse culture and vibrant lifestyle: Mexico’s rich cultural heritage, lively festivals, and welcoming locals create an immersive and enriching experience for expats.
  • Beautiful beaches and landscapes: From the stunning beaches along the Caribbean coast to the breathtaking landscapes of places like Oaxaca and Chiapas, Mexico’s natural beauty is captivating.
  • Well-established expat communities: Many regions in Mexico have thriving expat communities, providing newcomers with a built-in support system.


  • Safety concerns in some areas: While many parts of Mexico are safe for expats, there are regions with higher crime rates, requiring careful consideration of where to settle.
  • Language barrier for non-Spanish speakers: Not being proficient in Spanish can be a hurdle for effective communication and integration into local life.
  • Bureaucratic challenges: Dealing with administrative processes, especially for things like visas and residency, can be time-consuming and frustrating.
  • Limited job opportunities in certain fields: Some industries might have limited job openings for expats, particularly those that require specialized skills.

healthcare for expats in Mexico

Healthcare For Expats In Mexico

Mexico offers affordable healthcare for expats in Mexico with private hospitals providing quality care, often staffed by doctors trained internationally. However, healthcare quality can vary, and public facilities might have long wait times and language barriers.

2. Spain

Spain offers expats a balance of bustling urban life and tranquil countryside. It’s warm climate, world-class healthcare, and strong cultural heritage make it an attractive destination for those seeking a high quality of life in a European setting.


  • Rich history, culture, and cuisine: Spain’s historical landmarks, museums, and delectable cuisine offer a rich cultural experience.
  • Well-connected to Europe for travel: Its geographical location makes Spain an ideal base for exploring Europe.
  • Pleasant climate in many regions: From the Mediterranean coastline to the temperate climate in cities like Madrid, Spain offers a diverse range of climates.
  • Strong public transportation network: Efficient trains and buses make getting around Spain convenient and eco-friendly.


  • Cost of living can be high in major cities: In cities like Barcelona and Madrid, the cost of living can be relatively high, especially in terms of housing.
  • Unemployment rate can be relatively high: Depending on the region and industry, finding employment might be challenging for some expats.
  • Language barrier for non-Spanish speakers: Not knowing Spanish could create barriers in daily interactions and understanding local customs.
  • Bureaucratic processes can be complex: Navigating administrative processes, such as obtaining a residence permit, might involve bureaucratic hurdles.

healthcare for expats in Spain

Healthcare For Expats In Spain

Spain boasts a high-quality healthcare system accessible to residents, with many doctors proficient in English. However public healthcare has some long waiting times, and private healthcare can be costly for expats.

3. Panama

Bridging North and South America, Panama boasts a diverse landscape of beaches, rainforests, and urban centers. With its favorable tax policies for expats, growing economy, and modern infrastructure, Panama is becoming a hub for international residents.


  • Favorable tax policies for expats: Panama’s tax incentives attract expats seeking financial benefits.
  • Growing economy and job opportunities: The country’s economic growth has led to increased job opportunities in multiple sectors.
  • Well-developed infrastructure: Panama’s modern infrastructure ensures a comfortable lifestyle with amenities and services.
  • Various expat-friendly communities: From cosmopolitan Panama City to laid-back beach towns, there are expat communities catering to different preferences.


  • Language barrier for non-Spanish speakers: Not being fluent in Spanish might limit communication and integration into local life.
  • Certain areas may have limited amenities: While urban areas have modern amenities, some remote or less developed regions might lack conveniences.
  • Cultural adjustments for newcomers: Adapting to Panamanian customs and way of life may take time and effort.
  • Limited public transportation outside major cities: Public transportation options might be limited in rural areas.

healthcare for expats in Panama

Healthcare For Expats In Panama

In Panama, private healthcare facilities offer modern care at relatively affordable costs, though quality varies between regions.
Public healthcare might have limitations and longer wait times, impacting expats’ options.

4. Ireland

known for its lush green landscapes and friendly locals, welcomes expats with open arms. With a strong education system, a vibrant arts scene, and access to Europe’s job market, Ireland provides a comfortable balance between modernity and tradition.


  • High quality of life: Ireland’s strong social welfare system, education, and healthcare contribute to a high quality of life.
  • English-speaking environment
  • Strong education system: Ireland’s universities and schools are highly regarded, making it an ideal destination for families.
  • Friendly local population: The Irish are known for their warmth and hospitality, making integration easier.
  • Access to the European job market: Expats have access to job opportunities within the European Union.


  • Relatively high cost of living: The cost of living, especially in major cities, can be relatively high.
  • Limited housing availability in major cities: Finding suitable housing, particularly in urban centers, might be challenging.
  • Weather can be damp and cool: Ireland’s weather is often rainy and cool, which might require adjustment.
  • Traffic congestion in urban areas: Major cities like Dublin can experience traffic congestion, affecting commuting.

expats in ireland

Healthcare For Expats In Ireland

Ireland provides a strong healthcare system with accessible services for residents.
However, private healthcare can be expensive, wait times for public healthcare are long, and specialized medical services might have limited availability.

5. Taiwan

Taiwan offers expats a unique blend of urban energy and natural splendor. Its efficient public transportation, strong healthcare system, and friendly locals make it an attractive choice for those seeking a dynamic East Asian experience.


  • Efficient public transportation system: Taiwan’s well-connected public transportation makes getting around convenient.
  • Delicious food and vibrant night markets: Taiwan’s culinary scene and bustling night markets are a delight for food enthusiasts.
  • Low crime rate: Taiwan is known for its safety, making it a secure environment for residents.
  • Modern and tech-savvy society: Taiwan’s technological advancements create a modern and dynamic atmosphere.


  • Language barrier for non-Chinese speakers: Mandarin is the primary language, and not knowing it can be a communication challenge.
  • Limited English communication in rural areas: Outside urban centers, English proficiency might be lower, affecting interactions.
  • Air quality concerns in certain seasons: Taiwan’s air quality can be affected by pollution, particularly during certain times of the year.
  • Limited job opportunities for non-teaching roles: Expats might find fewer opportunities outside of teaching English.

healthcare for expats in Taiwan

Healthcare For Expats In Taiwan

Taiwan has a high standard of healthcare services at a relatively low cost.
While language barriers can be a concern, medical care is accessible, but does have long wait-times.

6. Thailand

Known for its affordability, delicious street food, and warm climate, Thailand’s enchanting mix of ancient temples, bustling markets, and tropical islands captures the hearts of many expats.


  • Affordable cost of living: Thailand’s lower cost of living appeals to expats seeking affordability.
  • Exotic culture, temples, and beaches: The country’s rich cultural heritage and stunning natural attractions offer a unique experience.
  • Expansive expat communities: Thailand has a well-established expat presence, providing a sense of community.
  • Warm climate: Thailand’s tropical climate is enticing for those seeking sunshine and warmth.


  • Language barrier for non-Thai speakers: Not knowing the Thai language can create communication challenges.
  • Bureaucratic challenges for long-term stays: Obtaining visas and handling legal matters can be complex and time-consuming.
  • Air pollution in major cities: Urban areas like Bangkok can experience air pollution, affecting air quality.
  • Cultural adjustments for newcomers: Adjusting to Thai customs and societal norms can take effort.

healthcare for expats in Thailand

Healthcare For Expats In Thailand

Affordable medical costs, including private international hospitals, are advantages for expats in Thailand.
However, healthcare quality can vary, language barriers can cause issues, and wait times are notoriously long.

7. Costa Rica

With its lush rainforests, pristine beaches, and welcoming locals, Costa Rica offers a peaceful and eco-friendly lifestyle, and invites expats to embrace the “Pura Vida” way of life.


  • Natural beauty and biodiversity: Costa Rica’s lush landscapes and diverse ecosystems create a paradise for nature lovers.
  • Relatively low cost of living: The country’s affordability appeals to expats seeking a cost-effective lifestyle.
  • Stable political environment: Costa Rica’s political stability ensures a secure and peaceful living environment.
  • Well-established expat communities: Expats can connect with others who have chosen Costa Rica as their home.


  • Limited job opportunities, especially outside tourism: Finding work, particularly in non-tourism sectors, might be challenging.
  • Language barrier for non-Spanish speakers: Not being fluent in Spanish can hinder communication and integration.
  • Bureaucratic challenges: Navigating administrative processes might be time-consuming and complex.
  • Cultural adjustments for newcomers: Adapting to Costa Rican customs and norms might require time and understanding.

healthcare for expats in Costa Rica

Healthcare For Expats In Costa Rica

Expats benefit from affordable healthcare costs and access to quality private facilities in Costa Rica. However, healthcare quality can differ, and public resources might be limited.

8. Philippines

With its affordable cost of living and diverse landscapes, the Philippines is an inviting destination for expats seeking a unique Southeast Asian experience.


  • English-speaking population: English proficiency makes communication easier for expats.
  • Affordable cost of living: The country’s affordability is appealing to those looking for economical living.
  • Warm climate: The tropical climate creates a pleasant environment year-round.
  • Warm and hospitable locals: The Filipino people are known for their hospitality and friendliness.


  • Traffic congestion in major cities: Urban areas like Manila can experience heavy traffic, affecting commuting.
  • Safety concerns in certain areas: Like in any country, certain regions might have safety issues that expats should be aware of.
  • Bureaucratic challenges: Dealing with administrative processes might be complex and time-consuming.
  • Limited job opportunities for non-citizens: Expats might find it challenging to secure employment, especially in specific sectors.

healthcare for expats in Philippines

Healthcare For Expats In The Philippines

The Philippines offers affordable healthcare with modern private hospitals and availability of English-speaking medical professionals. However, healthcare quality varies, and specialized treatments might be limited.

9. Bahrain

Bahrain, a small island nation in the Middle East, blends a cosmopolitan lifestyle, a business-friendly environment, and a diverse expat population,  to offer a comfortable yet culturally rich experience


  • Business-friendly environment: Bahrain’s regulations and incentives attract international businesses and professionals.
  • High standard of living: The country offers a comfortable lifestyle with modern amenities and services.
  • Relatively low crime rate: Bahrain’s safety makes it an inviting environment for residents.
  • Expat-friendly policies: Bahrain has policies in place to support expats settling in the country.


  • High cost of living: The cost of living in Bahrain can be relatively high, especially in terms of housing.
  • Harsh summer climate: The intense heat during the summer months might require adjustments for newcomers.
  • Limited natural landscapes: Bahrain’s landscape is largely urban, and outdoor recreational options might be limited.
  • Limited opportunities for permanent residency: Gaining permanent residency in Bahrain can be challenging for expatriates.

healthcare for expats in Bahrain

Healthcare For Expats In Bahrain

Bahrain’s modern healthcare facilities and short waiting times for medical procedures are positives, although medical costs can be higher. Expats have limited options in the public healthcare system.

10. Portugal

Portugal offers expats a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere. Its affordable cost of living, strong sense of community, and rich cultural heritage make it a popular choice for those seeking a European escape.


  • Relatively affordable cost of living in Europe: Portugal offers a comfortable European lifestyle without the high expenses of other European countries.
  • Warm climate in many regions: The country’s Mediterranean climate and sunny weather are attractive to many expats.
  • High quality of life: Strong social support systems and a generally relaxed pace contribute to a high quality of life.
  • Expat-friendly policies: Portugal has measures in place to support and integrate expats.


  • Bureaucratic processes can be complex: Dealing with administrative tasks such as visas and residency might involve hurdles.
  • Limited job opportunities in certain sectors: Some industries might have fewer job openings for expats.
  • Language barrier for non-Portuguese speakers: Not knowing Portuguese might create communication difficulties.
  • Traffic congestion in major cities: Urban areas like Lisbon can experience traffic congestion, impacting daily life.

healthcare for expats in Portugal

Healthcare For Expats In Portugal

Expats in Portugal enjoy accessible quality healthcare services with affordable costs.
While language barriers can exist in rural areas and wait times are long, medical care is generally reliable.

How Air Doctor Can Help

Traveling the world and working abroad is an exciting time – but it comes with challenges. Arming yourself with information is the best way to prepare for any outcome. With that being said, language barriers, waiting times, cost, and convenience of healthcare abroad can make it discouraging to seek help if you need it.

That’s why apps like Air Doctor are there.

Air Doctor is an easy-to-use app that connects you with a global network of multi-lingual doctors and specialists so you can access medical care anywhere, anytime. With the Air Doctor app in your pocket, you can access medical advice, get prescriptions, and receive expert medical guidance wherever you are in the world.

Air Doctor offers a wide range of benefits, including:

  • A global network of over 20,000 multi-lingual doctors and specialists
  • Choice of clinic, at-home (hotel), and video consultations
  • Active in 75 countries
  • Cross border prescription services
  • Telemedicine services in up to 21 languages
  • 24/7 multi-lingual support
  • Transparent pricing, and reviews
  • Most common medical specialties

Whether you’re an expat in Ireland, or considering moving to Spain, it’s worth looking at using apps like ours so that you can access high-quality healthcare without long wait times.

We’ve even partnered with big Insurance companies, which means you can experience the world worry-free with no out-of-pocket expenses. Add to that the fact that there are no lengthy claims processes, and you’ve got the perfect companion for any expatriate – anywhere in the world!

Air Dr Promotional Banners 7


Jenny Cohen Drefler

Jenny Cohen Derfler

Air Dr CEO & Co-Founder

Jenny is the CEO and one of the Co-Founders at Air Doctor. She spent more than 20 years at Intel, most recently as general manager of its manufacturing facility in Israel and before that in various engineering and manufacturing roles in Silicon Valley. Air Doctor is her second startup having previously founded electric vehicle company ElectRoad.