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Consider Health Care Costs Before An International Move

The cost of health care and treatment differs from country to country. Though the variance can be quite shocking, most of us don’t think about it because we aren’t likely to move to another country. That said, it’s important to consider health care costs before an international move.

Moving Anywhere New Can Be Expensive

Moving in itself is a stressful and expensive thing. It almost always is taxing to your finances for several reasons. The first is there are things that you might not be aware of upfront such as that condo for sale comes with high maintenance costs. Or your healthcare costs are double what you paid before.

Second, we never want to imagine that things will go wrong or not as we planned. Accidents, illnesses, and unexpected costs can ruin event the best budget and plan.

Be Informed

It’s up to you to be proactive and learn exactly how your destination home compares to where you are now. This is true for interstate moves as well as international ones. There are sites that help you to make these financial comparisons for things like housing, food, and utilities. However, you may have to look at specific reports to get health care cost comparison.

Comparing Apples to Apples

***Because there are so many avenues of information out there, be careful to compare apples to apples. I recommend doing a specific search at reputable health care sites for your needs.

In many cases, the US takes the top spot when it comes to the highest health care costs and treatments. This often has more to do with where the procedure is performed than the actual treatment itself. For example, an abdominal CT scan can range between $300 and $1,500 in the US. This range has a lot to do with where it is performed such as in a hospital or outpatient office.

That same CT scan could cost you over $700 in New Zealand and only about $100 in Spain. I recommend that you ask specific questions about the healthcare system of the country to which you plan to move. Ask what the insurance covers and if there are any government exclusions to your plan. Keep in mind, you will need to make currancy comparisons as well.

How About Medications?

Not everyone will ever need expensive diagnostic testing or surgeries, however, it’s likely most will need medication at some point. Understanding the cost of pharmaceutical drugs in another country is imperative. And while you think that everything is more expensive in the US, drugs are an exception. For example, the average cost for Cymbalta, a drug commonly prescribed for anxiety, depression, and fibromyalgia is only $46. It can be upwards of $100 in Canada and over $70 in Switzerland and Spain.

If we’re talking about the most prescribed drug in the world, Humira (a rumatoid arthritis drug) also has a varying price-tag, depending on where you are. At a whopping $30,000 annually, Americans can treat their arthritis with the drug. Yeah, holy highway robbery, BATMAN!!!! What’s interesting is that the same drug costs around $11,000 annually in Switzerland. The price variance is primarily due to the way each government regulates drug pricing (or doesn’t regulate drug pricing). Do your research!

Having a Baby?

You might want to know how much it’s going to cost you to bring your bundle of joy into the world in your new country. In the US, prenatal care and delivery can cost up to about $30,000. A C-section can be upwards of $50,000 and that’s with no complications.

Other countries have varying childbirth protocols, and, therefore, will vary in costs. For example, Japan is well over the US at an astonishing 60 grand to have a baby, while the Brits might pay half of what moms in the US do. Keep in mind, private insurance and other factors will have a role to play in the final bill.

What Dictates the Costs?

There are many factors that contribute to the varying health care costs around the world. Research conducted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development concluded that approximately 70 percent of medical costs could be attributed to union bargaining power and the cost of labor.

Aside from this, you also have to take into account the nature of the state health care system. When it comes to this, no two countries are the same. Another key factor is that in some countries there is a shortage in the availability of hospital care of a western standard. Hong Kong is a prime example of this. Western standard hospitals can charge three times the going rate for standard procedures, such as diagnostic scans. This is because occupancy is 100 percent and demand is not met. These hospitals charge whatever they like.

All in all, there is no denying that there is a lot to do before moving abroad. From visas to sorting out your finances, to selecting a school for your kids… the list is endless. Nevertheless, health care is one of the most important aspects that must be considered carefully.

***All costs stated in this article are approximate and should not be taken as firm quotes. Costs may vary from state to state and region. There are also variations in costs due to type of procedures, where they are performed, and by whom. I noted while writing this that there are conflicting reports on the internet, so do your own research.

About Kellie R. Stone

"I make no excuses for my diverse roles as a Rock Your Feminine Type Coach™ and Branding Expert, best-selling author, and crime thriller novelist. Yes, I do still chuckle a bit at the irony. I kick ass as a women’s biz coach by day and kill off vulnerable fiction characters at night. What the hell, it makes for some interesting dreams. I believe that everyone should pursue their passions no matter how out there they seem to be. One of those pure heart-fluttering passions for me has always been writing. Since I did, indeed, chase my dream of being a writer, I've published two non-fiction books in the self-development genre, co-authored an international best seller, and now I'm finally pushing my much-too-old-to-be-in-the-nest novel out the door and into the world. My whole world is empowering and I adore showing others how to live life unfiltered, whether I do that through the written word or my coaching work. I love my job!" ~Kellie R. Stone

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