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How to Get Health Coverage Overseas

Domestic health insurance provides only limited coverage outside of the U.S.

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My son is in his late twenties and plans to teach in China. What should he do about health insurance? --G.M., Sacramento, Calif.

See Also: 50 Ways to Cut Health Care Costs

Domestic health insurance provides only limited coverage outside of the U.S. The American Embassy in Beijing says that many Chinese schools provide health insurance to foreign teachers. Your son’s teaching program may offer a supplemental health insurance policy through an insurance broker such as iNext, which offers six levels of coverage. And some U.S. insurers offer international health policies for Americans living overseas. For example, Cigna offers international policies, as well as a policy specifically for Americans living in China, which covers a network of Chinese doctors and hospitals.

Policies that Chinese schools provide to foreign teachers can cover up to 80% of medical expenses. Chinese hospitals often demand cash for the remaining costs before providing service. The Chinese medical system in rural areas often does not meet U.S. standards, so the U.S. Embassy encourages Americans to buy international health insurance, which covers medical care and medical evacuation.

For details about each country’s health system, see www.travel.state.gov.

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