Are you a digital nomad who frequently travels to different countries? Need Reliable International Health Insurance Coverage? Here are seven great options for international health insurance plans that are perfectly suited for you!
We recognize how important health insurance is for our safety and well-being, especially when traveling abroad, whether for work or pleasure. Unfortunately, many companies take advantage of this need and raise their prices.
So, to make your search easier, we’ve created a list of the best international health insurance plans for digital nomads, those privileged remote workers who have the flexibility to work from anywhere in the world. Is this your situation?
Living as a digital nomad in Japan can be a fascinating experience, with advanced technology, unique culture and stunning landscapes. The internet infrastructure is excellent, and there are many coffee options and shared workspaces. In addition, the food is delicious and varied, and security is high.
The 5 Best Cities for Digital Nomads in Japan
- Tokyo: Japan’s capital is a major financial and technology hub, with plenty of shared workspace options, fast internet, and a lively cultural and food scene.
- Kyoto: The historic city of Kyoto is known for its stunning natural scenery, ancient temples and many shared workspaces and cafes.
- Osaka: Japan’s third-largest city is an economic and cultural hub, with lots of shared workspaces, fast internet and a lively food scene.
- Fukuoka: Located in southwest Japan, Fukuoka is a laid-back city with lots of shared workspaces and a vibrant food scene.
- Sapporo: The most important city on the island of Hokkaido is a major tourist destination, with many shared workspaces and cafes, as well as a vibrant cultural scene and diverse cuisine.
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 budget!
But first…what is a digital nomad?
Although digital nomadism has been a reality for some time, the number of people working in this way has seen a significant increase during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many individuals who previously worked in offices now have the possibility of remote work and, as a result, many of them began to seek a freer routine closer to nature.
Thus, a portion of these remote work people chose to work in other countries while living as tourists, being called digital nomads. These individuals only use a laptop to perform their tasks and they are paid to do so, so why not travel around the world while they work?
For those who work in creative areas, such as copywriters, publicists, designers or simply those who have a stressful work routine and seek to relax, there is nothing better than working in front of the sea, on a paradisiacal beach.
(Although I’ll be honest, I’ll confess… I can assure you, from personal experience, that working on the beach is not as pleasant or practical as it seems. But although working on the beach may not be as good, what’s great is being able to see the sea from where you are working or being able to go to the beach easily after work.)
Several countries began to think about possibilities that could stimulate local tourism to favor the economy and make life easier for travelers! In this way, countries such as Costa Rica, Bermuda, Barbados, Portugal, Georgia (the country, not the state in the US!), Estonia, among many others, began to offer visas to digital nomads or people who were 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, let’s understand the importance of having health insurance before traveling the world! In this case, in Japan.
Why do I need international health insurance as a digital nomad?
Many travelers overlook or forget the importance of health insurance for digital nomads when planning their trips. However, if you plan to reside in Japan, it is crucial to have up-to-date health insurance.
It is crucial to remember that the cost of private healthcare abroad can be high, and not all countries have a public healthcare system that is accessible to everyone.
In addition, it is necessary to be aware of the risks of living in an unfamiliar country, where unforeseen situations, such as food poisoning, can occur. Therefore, it is better to prepare in advance.
Check out this quick list of reasons why it’s essential to have valid health insurance before embarking on your trip:
1. International health insurance guarantees safety and comfort
While not all countries require expats and digital nomads to have health insurance to enter the country, it’s important to take care of your own health and ensure you have medical coverage when you need it. As you will be moving to a new and likely unfamiliar country, this makes you more vulnerable to health or safety issues. Nobody likes to go through difficulties, right?
2. International health insurance gives you access to better quality medical care
Many people only really know a service when they need to use it in practice, don’t they? Even if the country you live in offers a public healthcare system, you cannot be sure what your experience will be like when requesting care, especially if you need specific care.
With international health insurance, you’ll have the peace of mind that no matter what happens, you’ll receive high-quality medical care. Also, in most countries, the private healthcare system is better than the public one, and with an insurance policy, you can easily access the private healthcare system in Japan (which can be very expensive without insurance!).
3. International health insurance helps save money
No wonder international health insurance is a requirement in most countries. As mentioned earlier, the costs of private medical services can be extremely high, even for simple services. This is even more true in countries where there is no legal requirement for health insurance.
International health insurance is not only a guarantee of access to quality health care, it can also help you avoid exorbitant health costs that can lead to personal bankruptcy.
Why is it essential for digital nomads to take out international health insurance, not just travel insurance?
When you hold a digital nomad visa, you are legalized in the country as a “resident”. However, if you wish to spend an extended period of time locally or even obtain residency via a work visa, you must have adequate international health insurance.
What is important to consider before taking out health insurance for digital nomads?
Finally, let’s talk about the best (and cheapest!) international health insurance options.
But of course you must be wondering: how will I know which health plan is best for me?
Don’t worry, here is a list of questions to consider before making your decision:
- What type of coverage does each plan offer?
- How many hospitals and clinics does the plan cover?
- Your specific needs or those of your family.
- Quality of service and customer support.
Let’s understand better:
1. The coverage that each international health plan offers
One of the main aspects to consider when choosing your international health insurance is coverage. To assess whether it’s right for you, you need to keep a few questions in mind:
- What is the coverage area of the plan?
- Can I have appointments in other cities or countries if I’m travelling?
- If I am an expat like a digital nomad, can I use the plan in other countries? Would it cover all of Poland?
- 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? How much for additional members?
2. The number of hospitals and clinics covered by the international health insurance plan
Here we bring another important condition to be taken into account before hiring a plan. In addition to quality, it is also essential to pay attention to the number of hospitals and clinics that you will have at your disposal, especially if you are going to move to a small town.
The greater the number of options, the easier it will be to make appointments, tests or emergencies, and you can even choose the hospital closest to your home or with faster service.
Last, but not least, tip: There are several international health plans where you can use the network’s medical services for free, but there are also others where you pay and only then can you request a refund (we don’t recommend the latter if you can avoid it). lo, as it can be difficult to get insurers to pay what they owe).
Therefore, the greater the coverage of the plan, the better.
3. What are your specific health needs or pre-existing conditions for you and your family?
Most health plans offer specific coverage for pre-existing conditions, and it is very important to research and know the type of coverage from the company you are interested in.
But remember that not all insurances have 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 you think you might need, make sure the plan you’re considering includes it.
4. How good is the insurance company’s customer support?
Another point to take into account is the quality of 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 some crucial and essential points to be considered when hiring a health insurance offered by the company. I suggest you check response times, successful claims filed, and customer reviews (but keep in mind that insurers often get low reviews, so take them with a grain of salt).
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 service in other languages, including your native language. We know how unforeseen events can happen and, in times of desperation, it’s good to have the assurance that we can count on a quality and efficient support service – and in a language we understand.
A key factor is whether the company offers 24/7 customer service (all the plans listed below offer this), so you don’t get caught out and find yourself without help when you need it most.
Who is this international health insurance offered to?
The international health insurances listed below provide coverage for citizens living abroad as digital nomads, including:
- British people
- New Zealanders
- And for citizens of almost all other countries who live abroad.
For digital nomads residing in the following 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 insurance companies will be able to offer a good service, since they are companies with global coverage.
The 7 best and cheapest international health insurance for digital nomads:
The time has come that you what you were most waiting for: check out the list below that we have 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. While it may take a little work, at the end of your search, you could save a good amount of money.
Founded in the United States, the company adopts the North American standard of quality and efficiency in its services. Its objective is to offer quality medical assistance, without a lot of bureaucracy, anywhere in the world. With more than 180 million employees, Cigna has offices in several countries around the world.
When we were living in Sweden, Nikki took out international insurance from Cigna to prove the quality of coverage and medical care and meet resident visa requirements.
Cigna is a good choice for anyone looking for a plan that meets immigration health insurance requirements for obtaining a visa or residence permit in another country. However, it is important to remember that you need to research the coverage of the plan, as it is a paid service.
Our experience with Cigna has been positive. It was easy to find the right plan and cancel the policy once Nikki received her residency and gained access to the public health system. While we never filed a complaint with the company, we can’t 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 several years.
The company’s mission is to offer a quality service with clear and efficient communication, which is reflected in its exceptional customer service and one of its main qualities.
In addition, another advantage of Now Health is its various plans with customizable options, which meet a wide range of profiles and needs of its customers.
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 one of the best insurance options for digital nomads and has been established in the market for over 30 years. One of the company’s advantages is its global customer service, which facilitates contact with the company.
Nikki and I have both “Patriot America Plus” and “Global Medical Insurance” plans previously and have had good experiences with IMG. The company’s website offers a live chat to answer questions and get quick answers, which has received great reviews.
As with Cigna, I’ve never had to file a complaint with IMG, so I can’t comment on that part.
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 today’s list.
A key highlight 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 seeking insurance coverage, Global Underwriters is a great choice due to their extensive experience in the market and diverse plan options for travelers worldwide.
The Diplomat Long Term and Diplomat International plans are highly recommended for digital nomads, as both provide comprehensive coverage that caters well to the needs of foreign residents living abroad.
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 a modern company that has adapted to market innovations, and is one of the best options for digital nomads. Recently, it has gained prominence among health insurers.
The difference starts right on the company’s website, which features a modern and intuitive design, with insurance options that cover medical and travel expenses. In addition, SafetyWing offers some unique and innovative opportunities, such as 30 days coverage in your home country for every 90 days spent abroad.
The company has a very “smart” website and values self-service, making it easy for customers to resolve any issues that may arise quickly and hassle-free.
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
If you are looking for top-notch insurance with extensive coverage and excellent service, GeoBlue is an excellent choice.
To enhance the insurance experience for their clients, GeoBlue provides personalized services with a range of coverage options and both short- and long-term plans.
Furthermore, GeoBlue caters to a diverse clientele, including missionaries, educators, students, yacht crews, immigrants, and digital nomads, with tailored insurance plans.
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 major players in the health insurance industry, Foyer is among the largest insurance companies in Europe.
Offering various plan options, Foyer is 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 their accessible health solutions and quality services, Aetna has a reputable presence in the insurance industry, spanning over 50 years.
As one of the largest health insurance providers in the United States, Aetna offers cost-effective international health insurance options, ideal for digital nomads.
Furthermore, Aetna provides reliable customer service, available 24/7, to offer assistance to their clients.
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
If you are still in doubt, take a look at this table with a comparison of international health insurance for Digital Nomads. That way, you can better visualize and know which one is ideal for you to 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 the Japan
Currently, Japan does not have a specific visa for digital nomads, but there are options available to work remotely in the country.
Digital nomads can apply for the specific human skills work visa, which is granted to people with technical or specialized skills in fields such as information technology, engineering, design, among others. It is important to point out that, in order to apply for this visa, it is necessary to have a job offer from a Japanese company.
Another option is the student visa, which allows you to stay in the country for a specified period to study at an educational institution. Digital nomads can choose to study language courses or areas related to their jobs.
Requirements for both visas include:
- a valid passport
- financial proof that you are able to support yourself during your stay in the country
- proof of accommodation
- and a certificate of eligibility issued by the Ministry of Justice of Japan.
- For the work visa, you must also have a valid job offer from a Japanese company and prove that you have the necessary skills to perform the job.
Digital nomads should be aware that the work culture in Japan can be different from other countries, with an emphasis on hierarchy and respect for authority. Also, the cost of living in Japan can be high compared to other countries, so it’s important to plan financially before traveling.
Here are the 7 best (and cheapest!) international health insurance companies for digital nomads:
- Now Health
- Global Underwriters
So, what did you think of the article? You should now have a clear idea of how to find the right health insurance to make the most of the benefits of being a digital nomad.
Don’t forget to carefully review all options before making a decision and always have health insurance before embarking on a journey.
If you still have questions about international health insurance, the digital nomad lifestyle, or living abroad in general, leave your questions in the comments. I will do my best to answer them and help you find the right answers! To the next!
Planning your next trip?