3 Ways To Finance Your Medical Costs As An Expat
If you’re an expat looking to finance your medical bills, this can be very stressful at a time you are moving abroad. In this article, we will be talking about ways to finance your medical costs as an expat. Just note that this list will be in no order, especially regarding difficulty. This is because some of these examples are difficult to get while some are easier, and each has its pros and cons. Read more to find out which option suits you best.
This one is a no-brainer as this is the most efficient way to reduce your medical bills before you even have them. In addition, by paying premiums to your insurance provider, they will co-pay your medical bills as long as your insurance policy covers them.
And not only that but there are other perks that medical insurances have, like free pre-medical testing and screenings and even full coverage for some medications. So even before something happens, getting health insurance within your budget should be your priority.
If you’re an expat living in the United States, buying additional medical coverage is recommended, especially if you stay in the country for quite some time. For example, a travel medical insurance plan is more than enough if you plan to stay in the US for less than a year. On the other hand, purchasing a global medical plan is recommended if you’re planning to stay longer.
If you’re not planning to get any type of insurance while staying in the US, it’s all good since the government doesn’t require expats to get medical insurance. However, it’s still recommended to do so since medical services in the US are pretty expensive. Also, there are a lot of medical insurances available online so make sure to research first before getting one.
This one is pretty much the same for everyone, expat or not. The best thing about this is that it’s straightforward to acquire since most healthcare providers offer payment plans for their patients’ medical bills. Not only that, but payment plans are also one of the simplest and easiest ways for a patient to pay off their medical costs. So how does it work?
In essence, it works like most loans where you can opt to pay your medical bills monthly instead of in a one lump sum. There are many types of patient payment plans, for example, acute care, elective, or semi-elective. Acute care is typically associated with medical emergencies or any other urgencies when it comes to health.
Healthcare providers will treat you with this payment plan and ask for payment later. Also, it’s often quite common for acute care to have no-interest payment, and it doesn’t usually have a credit check since the service has been completed anyway.
On the other hand, for elective or semi-elective financing, if you’re planning to have a procedure beforehand, the healthcare provider will often ask you for a partial or full payment. When presented with these choices, you can instead propose a payment plan. Usually, healthcare providers don’t offer this type of payment plan; however, you can apply through a third-party healthcare financer.
Medical Credit Cards
Medical credit cards typically work like regular ones, but they can only be used for medical purposes. This is a handy alternative if your healthcare provider won’t offer or accept payment plans. Can expats get it? If we’re talking in the USA, you definitely can. Getting any credit card, including medical credit cards, can be hard for a foreigner; however, it’s entirely possible.
Theoretically, an expat can be approved for most credit cards if they have a Social Security Number, an Individual Tax Identification Number, or someone they know is willing to have them be approved as an authorized user. However, remember that is only if you’re not a US citizen yet. If you’re already a US citizen, then it’s easier.
So, going back to the credit card, most medical credit cards offer an interest-free period that can last up to a minimum of 6 months to a maximum of a year. That said, if you can pay off your medical bills before you hit the maximum interest-free period, you will be hit with no interest.
Otherwise, you will be hit with an interest rate, depending on the credit card issuer. So if you’re sure you can pay your bills off before this period ends, paying your bills with a medical credit card is a good option. Also, make sure you already have a credit history and a good credit score because, without them, you won’t be approved for a medical credit card or any credit card for that matter.
0% Credit Card
If you’re an expat but can’t get a medical credit card or a payment plan, one thing you can finance your medical bills with is a 0% credit card. It’s pretty straightforward since anyone can get a 0% credit card expat or not. However, you need an excellent credit card to get it first. Also, the 0% interest rate is only for a limited time, so make sure to pay off your balances before it expires.
Loans might be intimidating for you as an expat, especially if you’re not entirely familiar with the country’s credit system. Still, if you’re in the US, you need to build a credit history and a credit score first before you can do anything with your finances.
There are several ways to do this, but first, you must secure a Social Security Number. After that, you can open a bank account, recommended the moment you step foot in the US. After opening one, get a credit card to help you build a credit history. Some credit card companies allow you to get one without a credit history.
Another thing you can do is lease a car. But remember that a zero credit score will impact your choices if you’re opting for this one. Fortunately, some car programs aimed at foreigners let you lease a car without any history. With those monthly payments, you should be able to build your credit history.
With a credit history built, you’re now ready to take out a loan for your medical costs.
One of the loans you can use is a personal loan, which is flexible and mostly cheap. You can even use it to consolidate your medical debts into one repayment plan to make your life easier. Not only that, but personal loans can range from $1,000 to $10,000, so they are still beneficial if your debt is enormous.
Since this option takes quite a while to obtain, it’s best to immediately build your score once you get to the US.
As an expat, it can be hard to look for financing. In reality, however, there are a lot of options you can choose from, especially when it comes to medical bills. Even though some of them can be complicated, they are still viable as they can give you the financing you need for medical purposes. So, in all honesty, all you have to do is look.