Moving abroad entails many things to consider. Healthcare is one of the more important things that you will need to think about. There is nothing worse than being ill, than being ill away from home in a foreign country. This can add to the panic and upset. Before you go to any country, whether it is for a holiday, or to live, it is vital that you research the medical options that are available to you. Depending on which country you are in, you may be eligible for reduced cost treatment, or in some cases, free treatment.
The EHIC: If you are travelling within the EEA (European Economic Area) and Switzerland, you will be entitled to the same medical care as residents of the particular country, if you carry your EHIC card. The EHIC is the European Health Insurance Card and should be carried with you every time you go away. If you become ill or need treatment for a pre-existing condition, the EHIC will cover that. It may be that some countries still expect patients to pay for their treatment, in which case you will have to oblige, but you may be able to claim the costs back once you return to the UK. If you are planning on living abroad for part of the year, or have a holiday home, it is vital that you apply for the EHIC.
Remember however, that the EHIC is not travel insurance and will not cover things such as mountain rescue. You are also not permitted to travel abroad for the sole purpose of obtaining medical treatment through the use of your EHIC.
Outside the EEA: If you are moving outside the UK permanently, you will not qualify for healthcare paid for by the UK. This includes the use of your EHIC – this is only intended for use as a temporary treatment card and cannot be used long – term. Generally speaking, if you move to live outside of the EEA, you will have to pay for your healthcare. If you are working there, you may be able to get funded, or even free, healthcare through your employer, but be sure to ask about this before you move.
In Australia, Medicare is the biggest healthcare provider; it could be likened to the NHS. Australian residents (Norfolk Island is excluded) are eligible for Medicare if they:
• Have Australian citizenship.
• Have been issued with a permanent visa.
• Have New Zealand citizenship.
• Have applied for a permanent visa (excludes an application for a parent visa)—other requirements apply.
For further information or to check that you are eligible, it is best to contact Medicare directly. If you are moving to another country, the internet is the best way to find out about the healthcare system there. Always do your research before you move to another country, and be prepared to pay for your medical treatment, should the worst come to the worst.try