Are you a global traveler and spend time living in different places around the world? Need international health insurance coverage to protect you in these countries? Then you need to know the 7 best international health insurance options with the best cost-benefit available to you!
Many people recognize the importance of health insurance for a comfortable and safe trip, or even for settling down in a new country – whether traveling or living there. However, many companies charge high prices for the service, knowing that it is an essential service and will be hired regardless of the cost.
To help you with your search, we’ve put together a list of the best international health insurance plans for global travelers. If you are one of those digital nomads working remotely from anywhere in the world, check out the list below.
While many have chosen to live in modern Italian cities like Rome and Milan, others may live in small mountain villages and seaside towns. The country has options for all tastes and for all types of digital nomads!
The 5 Best Cities for Digital Nomads in Italy
- Rome – What attracts most digital nomads to Rome is its abundance of historic sights, which you can explore in your spare time. If you want an adventurous way to explore Rome, rent a Vespa and drive to places like the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain and Pantheon.
- Milan – As the fashion capital of the world, it is an inspiring city for digital nomads who are artists and creatives. The city is home to several financial headquarters and some of the world’s leading financial centers.
- Florence – Florence is famous for its arts and culture, another fantastic place for artists and digital nomads looking for inspiration. The entire city itself is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Palermo – Famous for its rich culture and history, fascinating architecture and mouth-watering cuisines, the city is a fun place to live as a digital nomad in Italy.
- Cagliari – The city is picturesque and famous for its medieval walled quarter above the city. it’s a fantastic place to visit all year round, and digital nomads who love history and culture will find plenty to explore.
That said, the options I’ve separated below will help you find the best health insurance policy that matches your needs and fits your budget!
But first…what is a digital nomad?
Despite digital nomadism having been around for some time, many people only started working remotely during the pandemic. With the exchange of the office for the house, some people began to seek a freer routine closer to nature.
These workers, called digital nomads or digital nomads in English, use only a laptop to perform their tasks and are paid for it. And why not work while traveling the world?
For those who work in creative areas, such as copywriters, publicists, designers or simply those with a stressful work routine in search of relaxation, there is nothing better than working on a paradisiacal beach.
However, while working at the beach seems ideal, the reality is that it may not be as pleasant or practical as it sounds. But the possibility of seeing the sea while working or enjoying a beach after work is wonderful.
Several countries have created ways to attract tourists and favor the local economy, making digital nomads super satisfied. Costa Rica, Bermuda, Barbados, Portugal, Georgia (the country, not the state in the US!) and Estonia are some of the countries offering visas to digital nomads or people who are working 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 – in this case, Italy !
Why do I need international health insurance as a digital nomad?
A lot of people don’t give due importance to digital nomad health insurance when planning their travels, and some even forget about it altogether. However, if you plan to live in Italy, it is extremely important to have your health insurance up to date!
First, it is important to remember that private health services abroad can be extremely expensive and that not all countries have a public health system for citizens or expatriates.
In addition, it is necessary to be aware of the risks of living in a new country, especially in an unfamiliar city, and facing new experiences and challenges, such as health problems such as food poisoning, for example. It’s better not to wait for the worst, isn’t it?
Here are some important reasons to be concerned about health insurance BEFORE you leave home:
1. International health insurance offers security and comfort
While not all countries require expats and digital nomads to have health insurance to live in the country, moving to a new, unfamiliar country can make you more vulnerable to health and safety issues. Even if it’s not a legal requirement, it’s important to take care of your own health and ensure adequate medical coverage for emergencies. After all, nobody wants to go through perrengues, right?
2. International health insurance gives you access to better quality medical care
Even if the country you intend to live in offers a public healthcare system, it’s impossible to know what your experience will be like when you need medical attention. In addition, many private hospitals offer better quality care. With an international health insurance policy, you can access the private healthcare system in Italy without spending a fortune.
3. International health insurance is cost-effective
International health insurance is a requirement in many countries, and this is not without reason. The costs of private medical services can be extremely high, even for simple procedures. In countries where health insurance is not mandatory, prices can be similarly abusive. With international health insurance, not only are you guaranteed access to quality healthcare, but you can also save a significant amount on exorbitant healthcare costs.
Why should digital nomads take out international health insurance instead of travel insurance?
Although the digital nomad visa can legalize you in the country as a kind of “resident”, if you intend to spend a long period in the country or even get residency through a work visa, you must have international health insurance adequate. Travel insurance may be insufficient to cover all risks and health needs in a foreign country.
What is important to consider before taking out health insurance for digital nomads?
And finally, we can discuss the most cost-effective and advantageous international health insurance options.
However, you may be wondering how to choose the right health insurance plan for you.
Don’t worry, here is a list of the most important aspects to consider before making your decision:
- The type of coverage offered by each plan.
- The number of hospitals and clinics covered by the plan.
- Your needs and those of your family.
- The quality of customer service and support.
Now, let’s look at it in more detail:
1. The coverage offered by each international health plan.
One of the most relevant factors when choosing your international health insurance is the coverage offered. To determine if it’s right for you, you need to consider some questions, such as:
What is the scope of the plan? Is it possible to receive care in other cities or countries while traveling? If I am an expat as a digital nomad, will I be able to use the plan in other countries? Does the plan cover the entire United States?
Is this the ideal plan to meet all of 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 does it cost to add more members?
2. The number of hospitals and clinics covered by the international health plan.
This is another important factor to consider before purchasing a plan. In addition to quality, it’s critical to pay attention to the number of hospitals and clinics you’ll have access to for care, especially if you’re moving to a small town.
The greater the number of options, the easier it will be to get consultations, tests or emergency care, and you can even choose the hospital closest to your home or the one that offers the fastest service.
One last tip, but not least: there are several international health plans where you can use the network’s medical services at no extra cost, but there are also others where you have to pay first and then request a refund (we don’t recommend the latter, if you can avoid it, as it can be difficult to get reimbursed from the insurer).
Therefore, the broader the coverage of the plan, the better.
3. What are your specific health needs or pre-existing conditions, both for you and your family?
Most health insurance will provide specific coverage for pre-existing conditions if needed, and it is very important to research and know the type of coverage from the company you are interested in.
Keep in mind that not all insurance offers unlimited and free coverage for pre-existing conditions, specific treatments or even pregnancy.
So if there’s a specific type of treatment or medical care that you think you might need, make sure the plan you’re considering includes that type of coverage.
4. What is the quality of customer support offered by the insurer?
Another important aspect to be considered is the customer service of the chosen company, because if you need to activate your insurance, this will be a determining factor in your experience with the insurance company.
There are some valuable and decisive tips when purchasing health insurance. I recommend checking response time, number of resolved claims, and customer ratings (but remember: insurers often have low ratings, so rate carefully).
If you do not speak English or the language of the country where you are going to move, it is interesting to know if the company offers assistance in other languages, including your mother tongue. We know that unforeseen events can happen and, in times of desperation, it’s good to have the guarantee of being able to count on quality and efficient support – and in a language we understand.
A crucial aspect is whether the company offers 24/7 support (all the plans listed below offer this), so that you are not caught off guard and left without assistance when you need it most.
Who do these international health insurances cover?
The international health insurances on this list offer coverage for citizens living abroad, such as digital nomads:
- 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 summary, no matter where you live or where you want to go, most of these health insurances can provide you with good service as they are companies with global coverage.
The 7 best and cheapest international health insurance for digital nomads
Finally, the moment you’ve been waiting for has arrived: check out the list we’ve prepared of the best international health insurance below and choose yours!
Tip: I always recommend that you do a quick quote with all the companies listed below. Although it takes some work, at the end of your search, you could save a good amount of money.
Founded in the United States, Cigna seeks to follow the American standard of quality and efficiency in its global health services. With more than 180 million employees and offices in several countries, the company stands out for offering access to quality healthcare without a lot of bureaucracy anywhere in the world.
When we were living in Sweden, Nikki took out international insurance from Cigna to meet her resident visa requirements and experience the quality of coverage and medical care offered by the company.
If you are looking for a health insurance plan that meets immigration requirements, Cigna may be a good option. However, it’s important to remember that you should still research your plan’s coverage to ensure you’re paying for an adequate service.
We had a good experience with Cigna as it was easy to find the right plan and cancel the policy after Nikki gained residency and access to the public health system. However, we have never filed a complaint with the company, so we cannot assess 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 excellent choice for anyone looking for quality international health insurance. With years of experience, the company is a leader in the market and serves customers all over the world.
Now Health’s main objective is to provide a quality service with clear and efficient communication. Their customer service is exceptional, which is one of the main advantages of this company.
In addition, Now Health offers varied plans with customizable options to meet the needs and profiles of its customers. This means you can choose a plan that meets your specific 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
Recommended as one of the main insurances for digital nomads, IMG is an established company with more than three decades of experience in the market. It is important to highlight that a positive point of this company is that it has global customer support and is easy to contact.
Both Nikki and I have previously purchased the “Patriot America Plus” and “Global Medical Insurance” plans and have had good experiences. The IMG website now offers a live chat to ask questions and get quick answers, which has been highly rated.
However, as with Cigna, we never have to file complaints, so we can’t speak to the ease of this process.
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 provider on our list today.
What sets Allianz apart is their specialized 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 is an excellent insurance choice as they have been in the industry for many years, providing a variety of plans for travelers worldwide.
The Diplomat Long Term and Diplomat International are highly recommended for digital nomads as they offer comprehensive coverage, catering to the needs of foreigners residing 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 trends and is one of the best options for digital nomads.
With a modern and intuitive website, it offers plans that cover both medical and travel expenses.
A SafetyWing differential is the possibility of offering 30 days of coverage in your home country for every 90 days spent abroad, which can be an advantage for those who travel frequently. Additionally, the company values self-service, making it easy for customers to resolve any issues they may have quickly and without a lot of red tape.
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 top-notch insurance with extensive coverage and exceptional service? Look no further than GeoBlue!
GeoBlue endeavors to simplify the lives of their policyholders by providing personalized service, a range of coverage options to choose from, and both short- and long-term plans.
Moreover, GeoBlue offers insurance plans tailored to the needs of various customer segments, including missionaries, teachers, students, yacht crews, immigrants, and digital nomads.
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
As one of the biggest insurance companies in Europe, Foyer is a major player in the health insurance industry.
Foyer provides a diverse range of plans, making it an excellent choice for digital nomads seeking international travel insurance.
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 providing accessible health solutions and top-notch service, Aetna has been a key player in the insurance industry for over 50 years.
As one of the largest health insurance providers in the United States, Aetna offers some of the most affordable international health insurance options for digital nomads.
Furthermore, Aetna boasts a reliable customer service team available 24/7 to provide assistance.
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.
Visas for Digital Nomads in Italy
Currently, the closest thing Italy has to a digital nomad visa is the self-employment visa.
The requirements are complex and there is an annual quota in place. But if you want to move to Italy without waiting for the digital nomad visa, then the self-employed visa could be an option for you.
Using this visa, you can also take advantage of tax breaks from the Italian government. The flat rate of 30% tax on your individual income from self-employment can be reduced to 10% if you become a resident in one of the southern regions of the country.
Tax breaks are valid for a period of five years, but you can extend them for another five years if you meet several conditions (for example, buying real estate).
Self-employment visa requirements:
- Being a non-EU citizen
- Be employed or self-employed by a company based outside Italy
- Meet minimum income requirements of at least €8,500
- Show proof of sufficient funds to support yourself during your stay (e.g. savings or investments)
- Have a clean criminal record from your previous countries of long-term residence
- Have a ‘certificate without hindrance’ stating that you can provide services in Italy
- Have proof of suitable accommodation in Italy
- Maintain comprehensive health insurance that covers not only Italy but also the entire Schengen Zone
In addition to the self-employment visa, there is also the option of the golden visa.
Italy’s Golden Visa offers a five-year temporary residence permit in exchange for an investment from 250,000 euros – one of the cheapest in Europe.
You can choose between investing in funds, buying shares in Italian companies, donating to an Italian charity or NGO or investing in government bonds.
It is also possible to include your family members on your Golden Visa residence permit.
After receiving the five-year temporary residency, you can apply for permanent residency after five years.
It is also a path to EU citizenship, which you would be eligible for after 10 years of residency in total (five years temporary + five years permanent, then apply for Italian citizenship).
Golden visa requirements:
- Be 18 years old or older
- Be a third-country national (i.e. not a citizen of an EU/EEA country or Switzerland)
- Have a clean criminal record
- Invest a minimum of €250,000 in Italy
- Have full medical insurance covering you and any dependents
- Pass a due diligence check in line with international anti-money laundering regulations
Here are the 7 best (and cheapest!) international health insurance companies for digital nomads:
- Now Health
- Global Underwriters
I’m glad I was helpful and I hope you find the right health insurance for your needs as a digital nomad.
Always remember to compare options carefully and purchase adequate insurance before travelling. If you have more questions about international health insurance or life as a digital nomad, don’t hesitate to leave your question here in the comments.
I’m always available to help. See you later!
Planning your next trip?