Island lifeIn my days of lecturing about global health care services to prospective expatriates, it was never a surprise to see scores of retirees stationed up front. They showed a high level of interest by nodding and taking copious notes. They had come to hear about health care services available around the globe.

Although many retirees love the idea of a personal maid, a driver, endless summer days, cheap eats and all around easy living, they also fear the limitations of health care in far-away places. Their fear is not unfounded. It is a big world and the quality of healthcare can vary greatly from one city to the next.

Some of the most attractive retirement destinations lack the kind of health care infrastructure that someone chronically ill, or even someone perfectly healthy, needs access to. Is it reasonable to hope you can be airlifted from your island sanctuary anytime illness or injury comes calling? This may be impractical and could land you in a perilous situation.

A host of issues need to be considered when deciding what kind of insurance coverage you need for you and your family: routine services, finding dependable medications, locating well trained English speaking doctors. For major surgeries there are even more concerns to address. And whether you are healthier than you’ve ever been or have a chronic illness, there are other important questions. How will Medicare cover me overseas? Can I drop out of Medicare and purchase a local health plan and what are the pros and cons of doing so?

Forbes recently covered several of the issues that a potential expat should consider including Insurance: Don’t Leave Home Without It, The 10 Best Retirement Havens, and The Globe’s Best Hospitals. These articles provide you with a lot of things to think about and to help you make a sound decision. Do your research, talk to the experts and remember this: easy living requires peace of mind.

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About The Author

Brendan Sharkey serves as head of Individual Sales. Brendan has a wealth of sales and business development experience working in a variety of industries, across a number of continents. Brendan’s track record includes advertising sales for Dun and Bradstreet as well as marketing to commercial clients, agents, and general agents for two major health plans in the mid-Atlantic. He has developed a great number of partnerships in the online travel, benefit platform, and search engine arena, including Yahoo! and Frommers. An experienced expatriate, Brendan has lived in Scotland, Canada and Australia, and holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree in marketing from Griffith University in Australia.

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