Are you a digital nomad who frequently travels to other countries? Are you looking for international health insurance that can cover you in multiple countries? So, it is important that you know the seven most advantageous international health insurance options that adapt to your profile.
It is widely recognized that health insurance is key to ensuring our comfort and safety, especially when it comes to entering a new country – whether for tourism or for residency. Many companies, however, take advantage of this need to charge high prices for their services.
To help you find the best international health insurance option, here is a list of the most recommended plans for digital nomads – people who have the privilege of working remotely from anywhere in the world. If you fit this profile, check out the options below?
Foreigners often love Thailand’s climate and low cost of living, which makes it an incredibly popular destination for digital nomads! The accommodations are affordable, modern, and the public transport and, of course, communication infrastructure is good. As a digital nomad in Thailand, you will enjoy a comfortable lifestyle and amazing nature!
The 5 Best Cities for Digital Nomads in Thailand
- Bangkok – The city has an exciting nightlife scene and offers everything from fun street parties to lively nightclubs and sophisticated rooftop bars.
- Chiang Mai – Chiang Mai is one of the most popular digital nomad cities in Thailand. In fact, it’s known as the country’s digital nomad hotspot, attracting nomads from all over the world with its laid-back atmosphere.
- Ko Pha Ngan – Ko Pha Ngan is famous for the Full Moon Party that takes place on the night of every full moon, attracting young backpackers and digital nomads alike. But beyond the wild parties, there are many other reasons why it is one of the best places for digital nomads in Thailand. It has beautiful beaches, coworking spaces and cafes with fast Wi-Fi.
- Phuket – Phuket is Thailand’s largest island and a popular destination for tourists looking for a relaxing beach getaway. The island also attracts thousands of digital nomads who want to live in an island paradise while enjoying the affordable cost of living.
- Krabi – Krabi has a rural vibe to it, so if you’re someone who prefers to live and work on an island surrounded by lush jungles and stunning ocean views, Krabi would be one of those digital nomad cities in Thailand that you should check out. The atmosphere here is very relaxing, allowing you to enjoy peace and quiet.
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?
Despite digital nomadism being an ancient practice, its popularity has increased significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic. With many offices closed, people were forced to work from home and, as a result, many began to seek a freer life connected to nature.
These remote workers who have chosen to travel and sightsee while working are known as digital nomads or digital nomads in English. They only use a laptop to perform their tasks and are paid for it, which allows them to travel the world while they work.
For those who work in creative areas, such as writers, publicists, designers, or simply for those who have a stressful work routine and want to relax, there is nothing better than working in front of the sea, on a paradisiacal beach.
However, as someone who has tried working on the beach myself, I can assure you that it’s not always as pleasant or practical as it sounds. But despite that, being able to work with a sea view or being able to go to the beach easily after work is really great.
Some countries have started offering visas to digital nomads or people working remotely during the pandemic in order to boost local tourism, help the economy and satisfy travelers. Countries like Costa Rica, Bermuda, Barbados, Portugal, Georgia (the country, not the US state!) and Estonia are among those offering these visas.
Now that you know what a digital nomad is and how this way of life is growing more and more with the rise of remote work, it’s important to understand the importance of having health insurance before embarking on an adventure around the world – like, for example in Thailand!
Why do I need international health insurance as a digital nomad?
Many people who are dreaming or planning their trips do not give much importance to health insurance for digital nomads or even forget about it. But, to live in Thailand, it is essential that you have yours up to date!
First of all, it is important to remember that private healthcare abroad is extremely expensive and not all countries have a public healthcare system, especially for digital nomads.
Also, when moving to a new country, you will be exposed to new health hazards and risks, including food poisoning and other illnesses. It is always better to take precautions and ensure your safety.
Here are some reasons to take your health insurance seriously before you travel:
1. International health insurance offers security and peace of mind
While not all countries require health insurance for expats or digital nomads, having medical coverage in a new country is important, especially if you are not familiar with the local health system.
Even if it’s not mandatory, taking care of your own health is essential to avoid problems and ensure a peaceful stay.
2. International health insurance provides access to quality medical care
Although many countries offer public healthcare systems, the quality can vary widely and there are no guarantees of adequate care. With international health insurance, you will have access to high-quality medical care, even in countries with poor health systems.
Furthermore, in many countries, private health services are superior to public ones, and health insurance can guarantee access to these quality services.
3. International health insurance can help you avoid excessive medical costs
Private medical services in many countries can be extremely expensive, and even the simplest of services can result in huge bills. Without international health insurance, you could be subject to excessive medical costs that could lead to personal bankruptcy.
Why is it important to take out international health insurance instead of just travel insurance?
While travel insurance can be useful in emergencies such as accidents or lost luggage, it does not provide adequate medical coverage for an extended stay in a foreign country.
If you are planning to spend an extended period or get residency through a work visa, it is essential to take out international health insurance to ensure that you are protected in all health situations.
What is important to consider before taking out health insurance for digital nomads?
And finally, let’s discuss the best (and most cost-effective!) options for international health insurance.
But, of course, you might be wondering: how do I know which health insurance plan is best for me?
Don’t worry, here is a list of factors to consider before making your decision:
1. Type of coverage offered by each plan:
- What is the coverage area of the plan? Can I be served in other cities or countries if I’m traveling? If I am an expat or digital nomad, is the plan valid in other countries?
- Does it cover all of North America?
- Is this the ideal plan to meet my family’s needs?
- Is it possible to customize the plan according to my priorities and/or the needs of my family?
- 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:
In addition to quality, it is important to check the number of hospitals and clinics available for use, especially if you are moving to a small town.
The greater the number of options, the easier it will be for you to have consultations, exams or emergencies, being able to choose the hospital closest to your home or the one that offers faster service.
Check if the plan offers free medical services in its network or if you need to pay and then claim reimbursement (we don’t recommend the latter unless absolutely necessary as it can be difficult to get insurers to pay what they owe ).
3. Your specific health needs or pre-existing conditions for you and your family:
Most health insurance offers coverage for pre-existing conditions, but it’s important to check whether this coverage is limited or free.
Not all insurances have unlimited and free coverage for pre-existing illnesses, specific treatments or even pregnancy.
So if you need a specific type of treatment or medical care, make sure the plan you’re considering includes it.
4. Quality of the insurer’s customer support:
The quality of service provided by the contracted company is an important factor, as if you need to claim your insurance, this will make a difference in your experience with the insurance company.
It’s recommended to check response times, history of successful claims, and customer reviews (but keep in mind that insurers often receive low reviews, so be careful when reviewing these).
If you don’t speak English or the language of the country you’re moving to, it’s important to find out if the company offers support in other languages, including your native language. It’s critical to make sure you can count on efficient, quality support – and in a language you understand.
Another essential factor is whether the company offers 24/7 service (all plans listed below do), so as not to be caught by surprise and left helpless in times of need.
Who do these international health insurances cover?
The international health insurances on this list 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 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, regardless of where you live or where you want to go, most of these health insurances can offer good service, since they are companies with global coverage.
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.
Established in the United States, the company adopts American standards of quality and efficiency in its services. Its goal is to provide access to quality healthcare anywhere in the world, with little bureaucracy. Cigna already has more than 180 million customers and has offices in several countries around the world.
When we were living in Sweden, Nikki opted for international insurance from Cigna to ensure quality health coverage and meet the resident visa requirements.
If you need a plan that meets health insurance requirements for obtaining a visa or residence permit in another country, Cigna is a good option. However, remember to research the plan’s coverage well before paying for the service.
In our experience, choosing the right plan with Cigna was easy, and canceling the policy was also simple once Nikki was granted residency and access to the public health system. We cannot comment on the ease of filing a complaint as we never have to do that.
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 a renowned company in the international health insurance market and has been providing quality services to clients around the world for years. Its primary mission is to provide exceptional customer service with clear and efficient communication.
Now Health stands out for the variety of customizable plans available to meet the needs of its customers with different profiles. In addition, the company offers multi-lingual support and 24/7 support. Now Health is worth considering as an international health insurance option for digital nomads.
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 top-rated options for digital nomads looking for international health insurance. With over 30 years of experience in the market, the company is recognized for the quality and efficiency of its services. One of the strengths of IMG is that it has global customer service, making it easy to contact for questions and support.
Nikki and I have previously purchased IMG’s “Patriot America Plus” and “Global Medical Insurance” plans and have had positive experiences. In addition, the company’s website currently offers a live chat for quick answers and clarification of doubts, which has received very positive reviews.
It’s important to note that, like Cigna, we’ve never had to file a complaint with IMG, so we can’t comment on that aspect.
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)
The last health insurance company on our list today is Allianz, a German insurance company.
What sets Allianz apart is its expat-specific program, which is one of its best features.
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
Global Underwriters presents itself as an excellent insurance option for digital nomads due to its years of experience in the industry and its varied plans that cater to travelers worldwide.
Among the most highly recommended plans for digital nomads are the Diplomat Long Term and Diplomat International policies, both of which provide comprehensive coverage that effectively addresses the needs of foreign nationals 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 agile company that has adapted to market innovations – and is one of the best options for digital nomads – and has been gaining ground among health insurers.
Right away, you can already see the difference in relation to other companies, starting with its website: modern, intuitive and with insurance options that cover medical and travel expenses. SafetyWing presents some unique and innovative opportunities, such as offering 30 days of coverage in your home country for every 90 days spent abroad.
The company values self-service and offers a smart website, which facilitates the resolution of any problems that may arise quickly and without complications.
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 premium service, then GeoBlue is the perfect choice for you!
GeoBlue strives to provide personalized service to its clients by offering a diverse range of coverage options, as well as short- and long-term plans to suit individual needs.
Moreover, GeoBlue caters to a diverse range of customers, including but not limited to missionaries, teachers, students, yacht crews, immigrants, and digital nomads, ensuring that everyone can find a plan that fits their specific requirements.
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, one of the largest insurance companies in Europe, is a significant player in the health insurance industry.
With its diverse range of plans, it’s an excellent option 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 quality services and accessible health solutions, Aetna has been a prominent figure in the insurance industry for over 50 years.
It is among the largest healthcare providers in the US and offers affordable international health insurance options that cater to digital nomads. Moreover, Aetna’s customer service team is always available to provide assistance round the clock.
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 Thailand
The most commonly used digital nomad visa is the LTR long-term resident visa in the remote worker category. You can live and work, but you must work for an international company that is listed on an international stock exchange or has generated $150 million in revenue in the past three years.
With this visa, you can legally work in Thailand for 10 years and extend it if you want. The LTR remote worker visa even allows you to bring your spouse and children along and they also get a leave of absence that is valid for 10 years. For this, their birth certificates and your marriage certificate must be shown in the visa application.
If the previous visa is not ideal for you, there are also Smart Visas. If you are an entrepreneur and want to move to Thailand for work, Smart Visa is perfect if you want to develop a project in the country. This visa is the best option for foreign entrepreneurs who are also digital nomads and work in the technology sector.
Smart-S Visa allows you to stay in Thailand for six months and all you need to do is submit an Introductory Check and Business Plan on a Startup Idea that can benefit the nation.
The Smart S visa requires you to develop technology that benefits the Thai economic sector. It could be a mobile app, desktop app, wearable tech, software type, and more.
The idea must be innovative in the eyes of the Thai government, so it must be something that is not saturated in the Thai market. They want projects that help the country financially, so it has to be a consistent idea.
Once approved, you can renew your visa for an indefinite period by creating a Thai business and registering in Bangkok. You may have a large team and possibly people from other countries as two of your team members can also come with you on this type of visa.
A great plus point is that the Smart-S Visa is multi-entry, so you can enter and leave the country as much as you need.
So, did you like the article? I believe that you are now better able to find the ideal health insurance and enjoy all the wonders of being a digital nomad!
Don’t forget the importance of carefully reviewing all available options and always having health insurance before setting out on an adventure!
If you have any questions about international health insurance, being a digital nomad or living abroad in general, feel free to leave your message in the comments below. I am here to help! To the next!
Planning your next trip?