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Expat Exchange - Is Health Insurance Required When Moving to India?
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Is Health Insurance Required When Moving to India?

By Betsy Burlingame

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Summary: Is health insurance a requirement when you are moving to India? This article explores health insurance requirements for newcomers to India.

Healthcare in India - Is Health Insurance Required When Moving to India?

When considering a move to India as an expat or digital nomad, one of the most critical aspects to address is your health insurance coverage. India does not have a universal healthcare system that automatically covers non-residents, and the quality of public healthcare can vary greatly. Therefore, it is advisable to have a comprehensive health insurance policy in place upon arrival. While India does not mandate a specific minimum coverage amount or length of coverage for obtaining residency, it is in your best interest to ensure that your policy covers a wide range of medical services and emergencies. Adequate health insurance not only provides peace of mind but also ensures that you have access to quality healthcare without facing significant out-of-pocket expenses.

Does Expat Health Insurance Meet the Requirements?

Most expat health insurance plans are designed to meet the needs of individuals living abroad, including those in India. These plans typically offer a broad range of coverage options, from basic emergency services to comprehensive care, including outpatient visits, hospitalization, prescription drugs, and sometimes even medical evacuation. To ensure that your expat health insurance meets your needs in India, verify that the policy provides sufficient coverage for the region you'll be residing in and that it is accepted by local hospitals and clinics. It's also important to check for any exclusions or limitations, particularly for pre-existing conditions, which may affect your eligibility for claims.

Which local health insurers offer this type of insurance?

In India, there are several reputable local health insurance companies that offer policies suitable for expats and digital nomads. Some of the well-known insurers include Max Bupa Health Insurance, HDFC ERGO Health Insurance, and Apollo Munich Health Insurance (now HDFC ERGO), which have a range of products that cater to different needs and budgets. These companies provide plans that can be customized with various riders and benefits, ensuring that you can tailor your coverage to your specific requirements. Additionally, many local insurers have partnerships with hospitals and clinics across the country, facilitating cashless transactions for medical services.

Advice from Expats in India about Health Insurance

Experienced expats in India often emphasize the importance of obtaining a health insurance plan that offers a high sum insured due to the potential high costs of private healthcare. They recommend choosing a policy with a wide network of hospitals to ensure easy access to medical care. It's also suggested to look for plans with minimal co-pay and deductible clauses to reduce out-of-pocket expenses. Another piece of advice is to consider the insurer's reputation for customer service and claims processing, as this can significantly impact your experience in the event of a medical emergency. Lastly, expats advise reviewing the policy terms carefully, paying close attention to coverage limits, waiting periods, and coverage for medical evacuation, which can be crucial if specialized treatment is needed that's not available locally.

Expats Talk about Health Insurance in India

"Private Health insurance is expensive with lots of limitations. I have not taken health insurance. Decided to pay out of pocket. A day's hospital stay along with tests and doctor visit may cost around US $200 to $300," said one expat who moved to India.

About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.


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SJB Global is a top-rated financial advisory firm specializing in expat financial advice worldwide, offering retirement planning & tax-efficient solutions with a regressive fee model.
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SJB Global is a top-rated financial advisory firm specializing in expat financial advice worldwide, offering retirement planning & tax-efficient solutions with a regressive fee model.
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