There is a wide belief that expats are career-driven youngsters, passionate adventure seekers and important business leaders. However, a significant chunk of the expatriate community is also made up of retirees. Those who have worked hard and are now looking to move to sunnier and peaceful locations abroad, to enjoy the rest of their lives.
A number of factors need to be considered when seeking out which country is best for retirement. Climate and the cost and quality of living is what is most instantly thought about, but looking at the healthcare system is equally as important. Here are the top countries with the best healthcare systems according to IL’s Annual Global Retirement Index 2014, all ranking with 90 points and above.
- France – 97 points – The country is renowned for the quality of its healthcare. It is always at the forefront of pioneering research, with fantastic hospitals and a high life expectancy rate. Even international medical insurance companies advice that expats choosing to live in France permanently, should join the national state health insurance. The CMU scheme is a popular option with any pre-existing conditions being disregarded. Expat retirees who have the E121/S1 are eligible from the start.
- Uruguay – 96 points – Quality healthcare is available to all in Uruguay. There is a free public system that all residents are eligible for. The free clinics can be crowded but also ensures that those who do not have health insurance still have the basic cover. Every town is privy to this and assures that no one is left without quality cover. The private health system is well-equipped and inexpensive, of which an estimated 50% of the population enjoy. Each private healthcare organisation has its own standards for accepting new members, including age.
- Malaysia – 95 points – The country is famed for its quality healthcare and the cheap cost. The staff are well trained and facilities are modern. There is a comprehensive range of healthcare services but foreigners cannot access the free public healthcare system. This shouldn’t be a problem however, as health insurance is extremely low in cost and can actually be paid out of pocket. However, age is a factor when considering annual premiums.
- Costa Rica – 94 points – Costa Rica is known for its constant advancement in the public and private sector healthcare systems. Private healthcare is affordable and of high quality. Free medical services can sometimes be quite long and overcrowded but still works well for the residents. Expats becoming legal residents can join the CCSS and get free treatment for virtually everything, all at a small monthly fee.
- Mexico and Portugal – 93 points – The countries’ healthcare systems includes a big universal health insurance programme as well as small private ones. There are an abundance of high quality hospitals and health insurance in both countries is relatively cheap. The cost of medical care will depend on the condition and the hospital. Portuguese healthcare is available to legal residents of the country with their local healthcare. Basic cover is provided but additional insurance may be a good idea to cover any additional needs.
- Spain and Panama – 91 points – The standard of hospitals and clinics in the Spain have been compared to the NHS. Private medical cover is advised and is usually set up in advance but registering with the local authority when you arrive is also crucial as it gives you the same healthcare rights as Spanish residents. In Panama, the quality of healthcare is high in the cities but not so much in rural areas. Private health insurance is very cheap as are prescription drugs.
- Colombia, Thailand and Brazil – Hospitals in Colombia are of good quality and the staff are well trained and often English-speaking. Private medical insurance is advised on top of the national healthcare plan. The health system in Thailand consists of the private medical sector and the non-profit sector which was introduced in 2001. There are many English-speaking GPs. Medical care is available to anyone who is a legal resident in Brazil, including foreign residents