June 22, 2024

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20 Best Places to Retire Overseas for Affordable and Efficient Healthcare

20 Best Places to Retire Overseas for Affordable and Efficient Healthcare

In this article, we will explore the 15 best places to retire overseas for affordable and efficient health care. You can skip our detailed analysis and go directly to 5 Best Places to Retire Overseas for Affordable and Efficient Healthcare.

Retirement Healthcare Costs

According to the Federal Reserve, an average American has $65,000 in retirement savings, with the figure climbing up to $255,200 by the time they retire. In contrast, they need $967,000 for a comfortable retirement on average, a figure largely being obstructed today by decades-high inflation levels.

The looming $7 trillion retirement crisis is now taking a turn for the worst, with falling stock markets shaving off more than $3 trillion from IRAs and 401(k)s. As a result, 75{08cd930984ace14b54ef017cfb82c397b10f0f7d5e03e6413ad93bb8e636217f} of single retirees and half of all married elder couples have become reliant on social security for their income. The 8.7{08cd930984ace14b54ef017cfb82c397b10f0f7d5e03e6413ad93bb8e636217f} Social Security Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) of 2023, originally adjusted to offset inflation, has been no help either.

With an average $140 increase in social security incomes, Bank of America Corporation (NYSE:BAC) reveals that consumer spending in the older generation has risen by 3 percentage points. Much of this unwise spending comes from a lack of awareness about retirement expenses.

When surveyed, it has been revealed that an American expects healthcare costs to be $41,000 only. However, Fidelity Retiree Health Care Cost Estimate has revealed that a 65-year-old couple retiring in 2022 can expect to spend about $315,000, on average, in healthcare and medical expenses throughout their retirement period.

The estimate has increased from 5{08cd930984ace14b54ef017cfb82c397b10f0f7d5e03e6413ad93bb8e636217f} since 2021, nearly doubling the $160,000 estimate made in 2002. These healthcare costs continue to inflate at 2-2.5 times the rate of U.S. inflation. Provided these healthcare costs increase at 2{08cd930984ace14b54ef017cfb82c397b10f0f7d5e03e6413ad93bb8e636217f} above inflation over the years, they could be spending over $1 million on these expenses during their lifetime. This amount is nearly the same as they can expect to collect through their social security checks.

The Truth about Medicare

Most Americans believe that healthcare costs in retirement will be covered by Medicare. Medicare, the nation’s federal healthcare program for people over age 65, covers healthcare expenses for retirees but is not free. In fact, a study by EBRI reveals that the healthcare program only covers 65{08cd930984ace14b54ef017cfb82c397b10f0f7d5e03e6413ad93bb8e636217f} of the costs of healthcare services for Medicare beneficiaries.

In contrast, 12{08cd930984ace14b54ef017cfb82c397b10f0f7d5e03e6413ad93bb8e636217f} of healthcare costs are out-of-pocket expenses, while private insurance covers around 14{08cd930984ace14b54ef017cfb82c397b10f0f7d5e03e6413ad93bb8e636217f}. Further, retirees enrolled in Medicare are required to pay 25{08cd930984ace14b54ef017cfb82c397b10f0f7d5e03e6413ad93bb8e636217f} of the total Medicare Part-B coverage costs, a cost eating away a significant portion of their social security checks.

To make matters worse, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have increased their Medicare Part B monthly premiums by 15{08cd930984ace14b54ef017cfb82c397b10f0f7d5e03e6413ad93bb8e636217f} for 2022 due to increased spending on physician-administered drugs. As of 2023, the lowest possible monthly Medicare Part B premium will be $164.90 to as much as $230 in 2029.

With co-pays, supplemental insurance, prescription drug coverage, and other expenses, Americans with fixed incomes may have already begun feeling the financial pressure. In addition, hearing aids and dental care aren’t covered by Medicare either. In many instances, there are separate premiums for Part-D drugs coverage and Medigap supplemental coverage.

Furthermore, reserves for the Medicare Hospital Trust Fund are projected to be depleted by 2031, with benefits cutting by as much as 11{08cd930984ace14b54ef017cfb82c397b10f0f7d5e03e6413ad93bb8e636217f} for retirees. Therefore, it can be safe to say that Medicare does not and cannot offer comprehensive healthcare insurance. For this reason, 90{08cd930984ace14b54ef017cfb82c397b10f0f7d5e03e6413ad93bb8e636217f} of retirees have supplemental health plans for assistance.

Low-income groups apply for Medicaid, while there are supplemental third-party insurance plans known as Medigap for others. With this backdrop, it is not surprising that 100 million people in the U.S. are burdened by medical debt. Even worse, over 6.5 million people in America have health problems that they do not seek treatment for and 11{08cd930984ace14b54ef017cfb82c397b10f0f7d5e03e6413ad93bb8e636217f} skip prescribed medicines to save money.

One way to prepare for healthcare costs during retirement is to have a Health Savings Account (HSA). Charles Schwab Corporation (NYSE:SCHW), and Bank of America Corporation (NYSE:BAC) are two organizations offering HSAs to their customers. With an HSA at Bank of America Corporation (NYSE:BAC), customers can avail necessary guidance and advice on matching their financial strategies with their different health and wellness goals.

Other corporations like Charles Schwab Corporation (NYSE:SCHW), allow their customers to invest in Health Savings Brokerage Accounts within their Health Savings Accounts. This way, Charles Schwab Corporation (NYSE:SCHW), allows customers to invest in mutual funds, stocks, bonds, and ETFs.

While overall healthcare expenses are costly, a retiree’s home base also impacts their healthcare costs. This is why retirees are increasingly exploring the best places overseas where they can enjoy affordable and efficient healthcare.

17 Countries With Universal Health Care in 2017

17 Countries With Universal Health Care in 2017



In order to identify the 20 best places to retire overseas for affordable and efficient health care, we have looked at 1,2,3,4,5,6,7, among other sources. Each time a place appeared in the sources, it was awarded a single point. The places are then ranked in an ascending order. Out of these, the top 20 places to retire overseas for affordable and efficient healthcare are listed below:

20. Singapore

Insider Monkey Score: 2

Singapore has one of the most efficient and affordable healthcare systems in the world. Retirees, medical tourists, and citizens get to avail excellent medical facilities and access to high-quality staff and services. Moreover, services are 25{08cd930984ace14b54ef017cfb82c397b10f0f7d5e03e6413ad93bb8e636217f}-40{08cd930984ace14b54ef017cfb82c397b10f0f7d5e03e6413ad93bb8e636217f} cheaper than in the U.S. Expat retirees must have private health insurance, which costs around $300 per month. Even if not covered, doctor trips cost a minimum of $25. Private insurance generally covers the cost of medication too.

19. Colombia

Insider Monkey Score: 2

The healthcare system in Colombia has witnessed tremendous growth over the years. According to the World Health Organization, its healthcare is more efficient than Canada, the U.S., and even Australia. Highly skilled doctors, excellent care, and well-equipped hospitals are key features of their healthcare system. The basic public insurance plan in Colombia is the Entidades Promotoras de Salud (EPS). Expat retirees over the age of 60 having a national I.D. card can apply for EPS in Colombia. Private health insurance and supplemental plans are also available.

18. Brazil

Insider Monkey Score: 2

Famous for cosmetic and plastic surgeries, Brazil holds some of the most affordable healthcare plans in the world. High-quality procedures are available at cheap rates, and Americans getting treated in Brazil can save as much as 20{08cd930984ace14b54ef017cfb82c397b10f0f7d5e03e6413ad93bb8e636217f} in the country. Moreover, the service quality is guaranteed, and over 40 hospitals are accredited by the Joint Commission International or JCI.

17. Cuba

Insider Monkey Score: 2

Cuba is home to world-class doctors, nurses, and state-of-the-art medical facilities. The Caribbean nation is most famous for its medical services pertaining to post-accident rehab, plastic surgery, eye illnesses, and drug abuse. It is almost on par with the USA’s healthcare system, with the exception that medical tourists can save as much as 60{08cd930984ace14b54ef017cfb82c397b10f0f7d5e03e6413ad93bb8e636217f}-80{08cd930984ace14b54ef017cfb82c397b10f0f7d5e03e6413ad93bb8e636217f} on their bills. This makes their healthcare system both highly efficient and highly affordable.

16. Taiwan

Insider Monkey Score:2

Thanks to recent medical advancements, Taiwan is becoming an ideal place for retirees seeking affordable and efficient health treatments. Expats can make use of the public health system through National Health Insurance. Public hospitals can be accessed by expats at heavily subsidized rates. Retirees may also choose to use private insurance plans for better patient care, wider treatment options, and shorter queues.

15. Italy

Insider Monkey Score:2

Known as the Servizio Sanitario Nazionale, Italy’s national health service is similar to NHS. It is one of the most easily accessible health systems for expats in Europe. The public health system can be accessed by becoming a national and applying for an Italian health insurance card. However, many expats choose a private insurance as well for shorter wait times and wider options in terms of doctors and facilities.

14. Austria

Insider Monkey Score:2

Austria’s health system is two-tiered and has a higher doctor-patient ratio than most of Europe. All residents and expats must have public health insurance which covers basic health care, dental care, and some specialist consultations. Private health insurance exists to complement public insurance, and almost all of the services in that order are electronic. Moreover, pharmacies are easily available throughout the city.

13. Dubai

Insider Monkey Score:2

Another place that is making rapid advancements in the medical sector is Dubai. Private healthcare facilities greatly outnumber public ones and are preferable because of their shorter wait times, fluent staff, and better facilities. Dubai is also the hub of innovative medical technology. Hospitals provide free or subsidized care to their residents. However, expats can also access it by applying for a UAE health card. Moreover, they must have a private insurance plan, and there are many affordable options available such as Cigna’s Close Care plan.

12. Malta

Insider Monkey Score:2

Malta’s healthcare system is characterized by highly trained staff and state-of-the-art public and private facilities. The hospitals are modern, and the staff is highly fluent in English too. Medical insurance in the country needs to be paid, but the premiums are highly affordable. With its sound reputation, it is increasingly being considered a medical tourism destination. Moreover, nationals of Australia and the U.K. can avail free hospital care if they are visiting the islands for no more than a month.

11. Panama

Insider Monkey Score: 3

One of the primary reasons retirees choose Panama as their second home is because of its outstanding medical care. Major hospitals in the country are affiliated with international institutions such as the Cleveland Clinic, Johns Hopkins International, and more. Both public and private healthcare systems in Panama are excellent. Expats can access care at public hospitals. However, they mostly choose upscale private hospitals, which come with shorter wait time and affordability. Retiree residents in the country who don’t have insurance can get a 20{08cd930984ace14b54ef017cfb82c397b10f0f7d5e03e6413ad93bb8e636217f} discount on most medical services.

10. Portugal

Insider Monkey Score: 3

Portugal is one of the countries where both public and private healthcare systems offer excellent healthcare. Home to the finest doctors with superior medical training, Portugal has 10 hospitals and 16 health facilities that together hold the Joint Commission International “gold stamp of approval.” Moreover, expats have access to both public and private health insurance. The latter is easily affordable with plans starting as low as $50. Doctors listen to their patients professionally, answer all their questions, and are willing to offer a solution. They are highly fluent in English as well.

9. Thailand

Insider Monkey Score:3

Thailand is one of the best places to retire overseas for affordable and efficient healthcare. Run by the Ministry of Health, more than 1000 hospitals are present under the system that offer a high standard of care. Thai medical staff is highly efficient and trained, whereas treatment is done with modern and high-quality equipment.

8. South Korea

Insider Monkey Score:3

South Korea’s healthcare system comprises an advanced healthcare system, well-trained staff, and cutting-edge technology. Treatments in the country cost 35{08cd930984ace14b54ef017cfb82c397b10f0f7d5e03e6413ad93bb8e636217f}-40{08cd930984ace14b54ef017cfb82c397b10f0f7d5e03e6413ad93bb8e636217f} less than in the U.S. Retirees living in the country for six months or longer must enroll in the National Health Insurance System (NHIS). A private insurance plan can also be availed to avail an extra level of comfort and luxury.

7. Japan

Insider Monkey Score:3

The healthcare system in Japan is high-quality, as reflected by its high life expectancy rates. The quality of care is exceptional, with access to specialists and low rates of medical errors. Governments cover 70{08cd930984ace14b54ef017cfb82c397b10f0f7d5e03e6413ad93bb8e636217f} of the cost while 30{08cd930984ace14b54ef017cfb82c397b10f0f7d5e03e6413ad93bb8e636217f} is covered by patients. Everyone, including expats must pay for medical insurance. With 8 health insurance systems and over 3500 health insurers, citizens are free to choose medical facilities and physicians of their choice.

6. Malaysia

Insider Monkey Score:4 Malaysia boasts a world-class healthcare system with excellent facilities. Compared to the U.S., people can save up to 80{08cd930984ace14b54ef017cfb82c397b10f0f7d5e03e6413ad93bb8e636217f} of their medical bills in this country. Most hospitals have excellent patient rooms. The country offers both public and private healthcare systems. Both public and private sectors are affordable and efficient, consistently expanding investments in healthcare to deliver state-of-the-art health services.

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Disclosure: none. 20 Best Places to Retire Overseas for Affordable and Efficient Healthcare is originally published on Insider Monkey.