As a digital traveler who frequently moves from one country to another, it’s important that you have international health insurance that offers coverage in multiple locations. If you’re looking for the most cost-effective options, here are seven international health insurance plans you might want to consider:
We understand the importance of health insurance, both to guarantee our safety and well-being and to facilitate our entry into a new country, whether for tourism or residence. Unfortunately, many companies abuse the situation by charging exorbitant prices for their services.
To help you with your search, we’ve compiled a list of the best international health insurance plans for digital nomads – those lucky travelers who work online from anywhere in the world. Do you fit this profile?
Turkey offers low cost of living, good infrastructure, beautiful scenery and cultural richness, making it attractive for digital nomads. Easy access to workplaces, affordable accommodation and good transport options are also attractive. Furthermore, the presence of a growing community of digital nomads in Turkey offers networking opportunities.
The 5 Best Cities for Digital Nomads in Turkey
- Istanbul – great city with a unique mix of ancient and modern architecture, culture and nightlife.
- Bodrum – beach with beautiful scenery and a relaxed vibe, ideal for those seeking a balance between work and leisure.
- Antalya – coastal city with stunning beaches and warm weather, ideal for those looking for a getaway in the sun.
- Kapadokya – Mountainous region known for its picturesque landscapes, cave hotels and hot air ballooning, perfect for exploring and connecting with nature.
- Bursa – historic city with rich cultural heritage, great food and nightlife options, perfect for those looking for cultural and social immersion.
That said, the options of insurance I’ve separated below will help you find the best health insurance policy that fits your needs and your pocket!
But first…what is a digital nomad?
Although digital nomadism has been a reality for several years, it has seen a significant increase during the COVID-19 pandemic. With many people working from home, the search for a freer routine closer to nature has intensified.
Remote workers who decide to work in different countries while enjoying leisure and tourism are known as digital nomads. These people only use a laptop to perform their tasks and are paid for it. So why not travel the world while you work?
For those who work in creative areas, such as copywriters, publicists, designers or simply those looking to relax in a stressful work routine, nothing better than working in front of the sea on a paradisiacal beach. But in reality, working on the beach may not be as pleasant or practical as it sounds. However, being able to see the sea while working or easily go to the beach after work is a privilege.
Several countries are offering incentives to stimulate local tourism, favor the economy and make travelers happy. That’s why countries like Costa Rica, Bermuda, Barbados, Portugal, Georgia (the country, not the state in the US!), Estonia, among others, started offering visas to digital nomads or people who worked remotely during the pandemic.
Now that you know what a digital nomad is, a lifestyle that is growing more and more with the rise of remote work, it is important to understand the importance of having health insurance before venturing out into the world. Especially if you go to Turkey!
Why do I need international health insurance as a digital nomad?
Many people planning trips do not consider or even forget the importance of having health insurance for digital nomads. However, it is crucial to have up-to-date insurance while living in Turkey.
Remember that private medical care abroad can be very expensive and many countries do not have a public healthcare system, even for their citizens. Imagine then for digital nomads.
It is also important to consider the risks of living in a new country, being in an unfamiliar location and facing new situations such as food poisoning. It is not advisable to rely on luck.
So, check out this quick list of reasons to be concerned about your health insurance BEFORE you leave:
1. International health insurance offers security and comfort.
While not all countries require health insurance for expats and digital nomads entering the country, it is important to take care of your own health and ensure you have medical coverage should you need it. You will be moving to a new country, which makes you more vulnerable to health or safety issues. No one wants to move and experience difficulties, right?
2. International health insurance provides access to better quality medical care.
While the country you’re moving to may have a public healthcare system, it’s impossible to be sure what the experience will be like when you need care. International health insurance gives you the assurance and peace of mind that you will receive high-quality medical care, especially if you require specific care or exclusivity.
Also, most countries have a better private healthcare system than the public one. With an insurance policy, you can easily access the private system in Turkey (which can be very expensive without insurance!)
3. International health insurance can save you money.
International health insurance is required in most countries for a reason. As mentioned at the beginning of this article, the costs of private medical services can be VERY high, even for the simplest of services. It is important to be aware that, in countries that do not require insurance, prices are likely to be abusive as well.
In this way, international health insurance is not only a guarantee of access to quality health care, but it can also help you avoid incredibly expensive health costs – which can lead to personal bankruptcy!
Why is it important for digital nomads to take out international health insurance and not just travel insurance?
Although the digital nomad visa legalizes you in the country as a kind of “resident”, it is necessary to have adequate international health insurance if you intend to spend a long period in the country or even obtain residency through a work visa.
What is important to consider before taking out health insurance for digital nomads?
Finally, we can talk about the most economical and advantageous international health insurance options.
But, of course, you must be wondering: how will I know which health insurance plan is best for me?
Don’t worry, here is a list of questions to consider before making your decision:
- What coverage does each plan offer?
- How many hospitals and clinics are covered by the plan?
- What are my or my family’s specific needs?
- What is the quality of customer service and support offered by the insurer?
Let’s understand better:
1. Coverage offered by the international health plan
One of the most important aspects when choosing your international health insurance is the coverage offered. To assess whether coverage is right for you, you need to consider a few questions:
- What is the scope of the plan? Can I have assistance in other cities or countries if I am traveling? If I am an expat or digital nomad, can I use the plan in other countries?
- Is this the ideal plan for all my family’s needs?
- Is it possible to customize the plan according to my priorities and/or my family’s needs?
- How many people are covered by the plan? What is the cost for additional members?
2. Number of hospitals and clinics covered by the international health plan
This is another important aspect to consider before purchasing a plan. In addition to quality, it is critical to consider the number of hospitals and clinics that will be available for you to use, especially if you are moving to a small town.
The greater the number of options, the easier it will be to schedule appointments, exams or emergency care, even allowing you to choose the hospital closest to your home or where the service is faster.
The last tip, but not least: there are several international health plans that offer free medical services on the network, but there are also others where you pay and only then can you request a refund (we don’t recommend this last option if you can avoid it, because it can be difficult to get insurers to pay what they owe).
Thus, the greater the coverage of the plan, the better.
3. Specific health needs or pre-existing conditions for you and your family
Most health insurance offers specific coverage for pre-existing conditions, and it is very important to research and know the type of coverage offered by the insurer you are interested in.
But remember that not all insurances have unlimited and free coverage for pre-existing illnesses, specific treatments or even pregnancy.
So if there’s a specific type of treatment or medical care you think you might need, make sure the plan you’re considering includes that.
4. Quality of the insurer’s customer support
Another point to be considered is the quality of customer service provided by the contracted company, as if you need to claim your insurance, this will be a differentiating factor in your experience with the insurance company.
There are crucial and essential points to consider when hiring a health insurance offered by the company. It is recommended to check the response time, the number of successful complaints registered and customer reviews. However, it’s important to keep in mind that insurers often receive low ratings, so caution must be exercised when considering them.
If you don’t speak English or the language of the country you’re moving to, it’s interesting to check if the company offers assistance in other languages, including your native language. We know how the unexpected can happen, and in times of desperation, it’s good to be sure that we can count on a quality and efficient support service – and in a language we understand.
A crucial factor is finding out if the company offers 24/7 customer service (all plans listed below do), to avoid being caught off guard and left without help when you need it most.
Which citizens are these international health insurances intended for?
These international health insurances on the list provide coverage for:
- British people
- New Zealanders
- And for citizens of almost every other country living abroad
For digital nomads residing in these countries:
- France (European Union/Schengen Area as a whole)
- China (including Hong Kong)
- And for digital nomads living in almost any other country in the world
In short, no matter where you live or where you want to go, most of these health insurance companies will be able to provide you with good service as they are global service companies.
The 7 best and cheapest international health insurance for digital nomads
The moment you’ve been waiting for has arrived: check out the list we’ve prepared for you to find out about the best international health insurance and choose yours!
Tip: I always recommend that you do a quick quote with all the companies listed below. Despite the work, at the end of your search you will be able to save a good amount of money.
Founded in the United States, this company proposes to offer a standard of quality and service efficiency globally. They seek to offer access to quality healthcare and without many bureaucracies anywhere in the world. With more than 180 million employees, the company has offices in several countries.
When we were living in Sweden, Nikki took out international insurance from Cigna to prove the quality of coverage and medical care and meet residency visa requirements.
Cigna is a good option if you are looking for a plan that proves to immigration that you have health insurance coverage, making it easier to obtain a visa or residence permit in another country. However, remember that this does not mean that you should skip researching your plan’s coverage, as you will still be paying for the service!
We had a good experience with Cigna. It was easy to find the right plan and cancel the policy after Nikki received her residency and access to the public health system. However, as we have never filed a complaint with them, we cannot speak to the ease of this process.
Here are some of the positive and negative points about Cigna.
Pros of digital nomad insurance with Cigna:
- They have flexible deductibles (in other words, you can control what you pay in advance)
- You have flexible payment options (monthly, trimester, or annual)
- You don’t need to request a reimbursement/file a claim since the company will pay your health provider directly
- You have 3 types of plans to choose from: Silver, Gold, Platinum
- The basic plan covers some types of cancer screenings and up to $100 in ophthalmology annually
- They have 24-hour customer service, 7 days a week
- They offer medical coverage in the Middle East
- They have plans that include the transplanting and transportation of organs as well as kidney dialysis treatments
- The company’s website has information about the financial system, culture, and schooling system of the country you’re going to
- COVID-19: Cigna covers all potential costs in the treatment of this illness, in compliance with the protocols recommended by the WHO
Cons of digital nomad insurance with Cigna:
- You have to put in a lot of personal info to get a personalized quote
- If you plan to have a child during your stay abroad, you’ll need to invest in a more expensive policy since the basic plan doesn’t cover maternity help
2. Now Health
Now Health is an additional option worth mentioning as it is one of the leaders in the international health insurance market and has been serving customers around the world for years.
Now Health’s main mission is to provide quality services with clear and efficient communication. Therefore, its customer service is exceptional and is one of its main qualities.
Another advantage of this company are the different plans with customizable options available for customers with different profiles and needs.
Pros of digital nomad insurance with Now Health:
- Provides coverage in over 190 countries and territories
- Flexible plans with many customizable options
- Options for plans with maternity coverage
- 24/7 service focused on agility and efficiency
Cons of digital nomad insurance with Now Health:
- Some exams and services need to go through the company’s reimbursement system
- To use maternity coverage, you must meet the 12-month grace period of the plan
IMG is an experienced and well-established company in the market, considered one of the best options for digital nomads. A big benefit is the global customer service, making it an easy company to contact.
Nikki and I have previously purchased IMG’s “Patriot America Plus” and “Global Medical Insurance” plans and have had positive experiences. The company’s website currently offers a live chat to answer questions and provide quick responses, which has received good reviews.
Although we did not have to register complaints, it is important to remember that it is always necessary to evaluate the coverage of the plan before contracting it, since we are paying for a service.
Pros of digital nomad insurance with IMG:
- They have extensive coverage with more than 17,000 doctors and clinics around the world
- There are 5 different plans for you to choose from
- If you use your IMG policy with a health provider outside the United States, you can get a 50% reduction on your deductible
- There are special health insurance plans for overseas missionaries
- There’s an automatic debit payment option
- They have an efficient online portal with access to emergency services available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
- They have coverage for all nationalities
- The company considers COVID-19 as any other illness and injury, subject to the terms and conditions of the policy
Cons of digital nomad insurance with IMG:
- There’s an age limit with no plans available for adults above 75 (however, if you get an insurance policy when you’re 65+, you can sign up for IMG’s lifetime plan instead)
- Only the most expensive plan offers maternity care coverage (and it only offers it at a minimum of 10 months after your policy has begun)
Allianz, a German insurance company, is the last health insurance company on our list today. One notable aspect of Allianz is their tailored program designed exclusively for expatriates.
Pros of digital nomad insurance with Allianz:
- You don’t need to request a reimbursement/file a claim since the company will pay your health provider directly
- They have 24-hour customer service, 7 days a week
- They have a medical phone app that’s available to you 6 months after the start of your contract
- Beyond your plan, they also have a specific program for expats (including info about the specific country you’re moving to)
- They have coverage on all 7 continents
Cons of digital nomad insurance with Allianz:
- You don’t have very many plans to choose from
- Although their website has a lot of info about COVID-19, it doesn’t clarify whether or not they offer COVID coverage
For digital nomads, Global Underwriters presents another excellent insurance choice due to their extensive experience in the market and diverse plan options for travelers worldwide.
Their Diplomat Long Term and Diplomat International plans are highly recommended for digital nomads as they offer comprehensive coverage that meets the needs of foreigners living in other countries.
Pros of digital nomad insurance with Global Underwriters:
- Coverage of up to $1,000,000 in medical care and accidental or dismemberment deaths
- Plans covering medical evacuations, repatriation of remains and emergency dental treatment
- Provides assistance in cases where there are interruptions during your trip due to health reasons or loss of luggage
Cons of digital nomad insurance with Global Underwriters:
- The Diplomat Long Term plan does not have coverage in Cuba, Afghanistan and Iran
- Diplomat International does not provide coverage for covid-19
- The Diplomat Long Term plan does not serve residents of New York, Maryland, South Dakota, Australia and Iran
SafetyWing is an innovative insurance company that has adapted to market changes and stands out as an excellent choice for digital nomads.
With a modern and intuitive website, it offers plans that cover both medical and travel expenses. In addition, it has some unique features, such as the possibility of offering 30 days of coverage in your home country for every 90 days spent abroad.
Another strength of SafetyWing is its emphasis on self-service, allowing you to resolve any issues quickly and hassle-free. Its performance in the market has been well received and its reputation has grown significantly in recent years.
Pros of digital nomad insurance with SafetyWing:
- As with the other companies, you can personalize your plan based on your coverage needs
- The website is very functional and gives you a clear idea of how much your plan will cost and how the coverage for each plan works
- They cover children under 10 for no extra charge
- You can add extra services to your policy like dental, maternity care, physical therapy, family medicine, deductible expenses, and outpatient services
- They offer $100 in coverage for repatriation after an evacuation
- If you’re treated at a public hospital free of charge OR if your treatment is covered by another insurance, SafetyWing will give you a daily allowance of $125 per night for up to 30 nights
- They offer full value coverage for cancer treatment and reconstructive surgeries
- They have 24-hour customer service, 7 days a week
- They offer total COVID-19 coverage when recommended by your doctor
- Their website has a fun, playful design which is much easier to use than most of its competitors
Cons of digital nomad insurance with SafetyWing:
- The quote you see on the website doesn’t include all the fees (to see the final price, you’ll need to create a login)
- The plans that cover the United States, Singapore, and Hong Kong are much more expensive than those for the other countries
Looking for insurance that offers exceptional coverage and top-notch service? Look no further than GeoBlue! GeoBlue strives to provide tailored service to its policyholders, with a range of coverage options to choose from, as well as short- and long-term plans to suit your needs.
Moreover, GeoBlue caters to a diverse range of customers, including but not limited to missionaries, teachers, students, yacht crews, immigrants, and digital nomads, with specialized insurance plans to meet their unique needs.
Pros of digital nomad insurance with GeoBlue:
- They have 24-hour customer service, 7 days a week
- They have a wide range of options for plans
- They have plans that cover accidents from extreme sports
- They don’t charge deductible fees for standard services or cancellations, and have unlimited medical service
- They have plans designed exclusively for digital nomads, immigrants to the U.S., and Americans who live overseas
Cons of digital nomad insurance with GeoBlue:
- They don’t offer coverage for individuals who live in New York or Washington
Bonus #1 – Foyer Global Health
Foyer is a major player in the realm of health insurance and ranks among the largest insurance providers in Europe.
With a diverse range of plan options, it’s an excellent choice for those seeking international travel insurance, particularly for digital nomads.
Pros of digital nomad insurance with Foyer Health:
- As with the other companies, you can customize Foyer plans based on your characteristics and medical necessities, such as age, country of origin, dental care, vaccines, maternity, young children, etc.
- You can also personalize your level of coverage for each of these elements from nothing to the maximum coverage
- You have the option of selecting an individual plan or a family plan with or without children
- Unlike many other companies, the process for getting a quote is very simple and you don’t need to give much info
- They have multiple options for deductibles
- They have short-term plans for those who don’t plan to spend a long time overseas
- You can easily compare plan prices and coverage to find the one that’s best for you
- They offer travel insurance for digital nomads anywhere in Europe (and the world)
Cons of digital nomad insurance with Foyer Health:
- As with the other companies, Foyer’s most basic plan doesn’t include maternity or newborn care
- Their customer service gets the job done, but isn’t as practical as the others on this list
- The website isn’t very clear about the coverage limits
- Although they have a lot of info about COVID-19 on their website, they don’t make it clear if their plan covers COVID treatments or not
- They charge a 5 euro fee for emergency support
- They don’t have health insurance for digital nomads in the United States (only medical help for emergencies)
Bonus #2 – Aetna (acquired by Allianz)
In addition to its accessible health solutions and commitment to quality service, Aetna boasts over 50 years of experience in the insurance industry. As one of the largest health insurance providers in the US, it also offers affordable international health insurance options for digital nomads.
Aetna’s customer service team is highly reliable, with round-the-clock availability seven days a week to assist customers.
Pros of digital nomad insurance with Aetna:
- They have plans personalized for digital nomads based on your destinations and coverage needs
- They have 50 years of experience and offices in more than 15 countries
- They have 24-hour customer service
- They’ve been named the “Best International Private Health Insurance Provider” and “Health Insurer of the Year” by various magazines
- Most of their plans include coverage for hospitalization, cancer treatment, repatriation, and emergency evacuation
Cons of digital nomad insurance with Aetna:
- Their site doesn’t offer a lot of explanation about what’s actually included in their plans
Table comparison of the 7 best international medical insurance companies for digital nomads
To help you make the most of all the information I gave you above, here’s a table comparing all the companies I talked about. With the help of the table, hopefully you can have a better idea of which insurance company is right for you for your move overseas.
|Medical Maximum||Unlimited (for the Platinum plan)||$8,000,000||The site doesn’t specify||Unlimited||US$1,000,000 per year||The site doesn’t specify||Depending on the plan, can be up to $1 million|
|U.S. In-Network Coinsurance||You choose. From 70%(100% thereafter) to 100%||100%||No||60% for maximum coinsurance and then 100%||Yes, for higher fees||Only in emergencies||Yes|
|U.S. Out-of-Network Coinsurance||You choose. From 70%(100% thereafter) to 100%||90% to $5,000 (100% thereafter)||Yes, for higher fees||100%||100%||100%||100%|
|Mental Health Availability||No waiting period||12-month waiting period||Co-payment of $25 per visit, waived deductible||75% up to 40 visits / 60% after that||No||Waiting period of 10 months||Yes|
|Mental Health Benefit||Inpatient and Outpatient: $5,000 lifetime maximum to paid in full depending on the plan||Inpatient and Outpatient: $50,000 lifetime maximum||Co-payment of $250 after deductible||100% up to 60 days||International and ambulance: limit not specified||Inpatient, outpatient, and therapy: limit not specific|
|Inpatient Prescription Drugs||$500 to paid in full depending on the plan||Up to $8,000,000||Yes||Complete reimbursement||Yes||Yes|
|Outpatient Prescription Drugs||None, unless you buy the International Outpatient Option||Up to $8,000,000||Complete reimbursement||Yes||Yes|
|Evacuation and Repatriation of Remains||Paid in full||Up to $8,000,000||Yes||Up to $25,000||No||Up to 10,000 euros||Yes|
|Accidental Death & Dismemberment||Depends on the plan||Rider available, limit depends on age.||$50,000||It has limitations depending on the plan|
|Emergency Dental||Paid in full||Up to $8,000,000||Optional||1,000 per year, $ 200 per tooth||Yes, however you need to pay an extra fee on top of your plan||Depending on the plan, it’s unlimited||It has limitations depending on the plan|
|Treatment Necessary as Result of Terrorism||Up to the amount of the coverage||Rider available up to $50,000-lifetime maximum||Clause available up to maximum of $50,000 in lifetime payments||N/A|
|Amateur Sports||Unlimited||Rider available up to $10,000||No||Yes||No||No||N/A|
|Routine Nursery Care of a Newborn Child of a Covered Pregnancy||$25,000 to $156,000 depending on the plan||$1,000 additional deductible, $50,000 lifetime maximum, $200 wellness benefit for first 12 months||Yes||Depends on the plan||Can be unlimited depending on the plan||Depends on the plan|
|Children born as a result of fertility treatment (such as IVF or surrogacy)||Only after the baby is 90 days old||Excluded||Depends on the plan||Excluded||No||No|
|Neonatal Intensive Care Unit||Check website for updated information||$250,000 maximum for first 31 days||No||Up to $250,000 for the first 31 days||No||Depends on the plan (Bloom or Bloom Plus)|
|Pre-existing condition exclusion period||Conditions that are fully disclosed on the application and have not been excluded or restricted by a rider will be covered as any illness||Conditions that are fully disclosed on the application and have not been excluded or restricted by a rider will be covered as any illness||Conditions that are fully disclosed on the application and have not been excluded or restricted by a rider will be covered as any illness|
|Pre-existing condition look back period||Any time prior to effective date||Any time prior to plan effective date||Any time prior to plan effective date||Any time prior to plan effective date||Any time prior to plan effective date||Any time prior to plan effective date||Any time prior to plan effective date|
|Pre-existing annual maximum once covered||Unlimited depending on the plan||Up to $8,000,000||Unlimited depending on the plan||Unlimited depending on the plan||Full reimbursement||Unlimited depending on the plan||Unlimited depending on the plan|
|Pre-existing lifetime maximum once covered||Unlimited depending on the plan||Up to $8,000,000||Unlimited depending on the plan||Unlimited depending on the plan||Full reimbursement||Unlimited depending on the plan||Unlimited depending on the plan|
Worldwide Medical Insurance / Comparison Chart*
Part of the table courtesy of Tokio Marine HCC
*Note: this table is just for informational purposes and subject to change. It was accurate as of the time we wrote it here, but please check each company’s individual website for updated info.
Here are the 7 best (and cheapest!) international health insurance companies for digital nomads:
- Now Health
- Global Underwriters
Visas for Digital Nomads in Turkey
In Turkey, there is still no specific visa for digital nomads, although it is believed that it will be created soon. However, people interested in working remotely can apply for a temporary residency visa and live in any city, as long as they follow the rules.
The process includes: obtaining an e-visa by completing an online form, presenting a copy of a valid passport, paying a visa fee, applying for a residence permit and presenting a bank statement, rental agreement and travel insurance.
There are two types of visas that can be used by digital nomads: the tourist visa and the residence visa.
Tourist visa: This visa is valid for 90 days and is non-renewable. It is ideal for digital nomads who want to stay in Turkey for a short period of time.
Residence visa: This visa is valid for one year and is renewable. To obtain a residence visa, it is necessary to prove sufficient income to support oneself in the country. It is ideal for digital nomads who want to stay in Turkey for a longer period of time.
For a temporary residence visa in Turkey, some of the requirements include:
- Valid passport with at least 6 months validity
- Completed and signed visa application form
- Proof of income or sufficient financial means to support your stay in Turkey
- Proof of ties to your home country, such as an employment contract or bank statement
- medical certificate
- Health insurance
- Proof of accommodation, such as a rental agreement or hotel reservation
Please note that requirements may vary depending on the conditions of each case and the Turkish consulate responsible for the application.
What did you think of the article? I hope I helped you find the ideal health insurance to make the most of life as a digital nomad!
It is essential to carefully evaluate each option and always have health insurance before venturing into international travel.
If you have any questions about international health insurance, the digital nomad lifestyle or moving abroad, feel free to leave your message in the comments. I will do my best to help you in your quest! See you soon!
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