Moving to Georgia for the purpose of changing your life? Is knowing about health insurance in this different country something that worries you? Then read on to learn all the information you need to stay safe in case you need medical care!
Many concerns go through our minds when it comes to precautions before moving to a new country – getting a house, looking for jobs, understanding how the country works, buying airline tickets, learning a different language…
Something that people sometimes forget is that worrying about health insurance is just as important as all of the above.
Georgia is one of the most open countries for digital workers, and they also allow almost anyone to open a bank account upon arrival in the country. This is extremely beneficial for digital nomads as most countries require you to be a resident to open an account.
The country is known to be super friendly, the locals mingle with visitors easily, and they are always happy to offer helpful advice. Another amazing thing about Georgia is how accessible it is, especially its capital Tbilisi.
In addition to talking about some alternatives for international health insurance for expatriates in Georgia, we will first comment on what Georgia‘s health care system is like, the differences between travel and expatriate insurance, which of the various coverages you will need, and other information.
(Be sure to read to the end to be aware of the types of Georgian visas and how you can start living or working in Georgia!)
How does the health system work in Georgia?
Nestled in the heart of the Caucasus, between Europe and Asia, Georgia has many benefits: an incredible mountain landscape, a magnificent cultural heritage and delicious wine. Here, entrepreneurs, international organizations and, more recently, digital nomads discover the meaning of Georgian hospitality. They most often settle in the capital Tbilisi, where the cost of living is among the cheapest in the world!
In terms of healthcare, the Georgian healthcare system still suffers from gaps in coverage and territorial disparities. To ensure comprehensive health coverage, expatriates must subscribe to an international private health insurance plan.
In February 2013, Georgia launched its Universal Health Coverage Program (UHCP). This government health scheme aims, among other things, to ensure universal access to quality health services, improve primary health care and reduce direct costs for patients.
The Georgian healthcare system is universal, state funded and heavily reliant on private medical facilities. In fact, 90% of Georgian hospitals are privately owned: 40% are owned by insurance companies, 30% by individuals and 20% by other companies.
The UHCP partially covers primary and secondary care, as well as some essential medicines. Vulnerable groups such as the elderly, children under five and people with disabilities are 100% covered by the UHCP, but only for a limited number of medical services. In fact, the UHCP only fully covers expenses related to emergency care and visits to a general practitioner.
For the rest of Georgian citizens, the amount of state coverage is limited and patient costs remain high, a major barrier to accessing healthcare. To benefit from this program, it is necessary to choose a specific health establishment and register there.
The UHCP provides partial health coverage for up to 90% of Georgians; the remaining 10% opt for private health insurance. For expatriates, health services are neither free nor subsidized. In cases of serious illness or health emergency, it is highly recommended to seek repatriation.
Do expats need health insurance in Georgia?
Yes, if you wish to spend more than 90 days in Georgia, regardless of your reasons, you will need to provide proof of health insurance when you apply for your visa.
So if you are planning to move to the country. We recommend you to insure yourself with one of the insurances I will recommend below 🙂
Bureaucracies and obligations can be annoying sometimes, but having an international health insurance plan gives you much more peace of mind. Even more if you consider that you’ll be in a completely different country, with a completely different culture, laws and language.
That is why, having international health coverage will make you much safer for any situation that you are not expecting or emergencies. Besides security, international plans have other benefits, which I will mention below.
As an immigrant in Georgia, should I get an international health insurance plan like the ones recommended in the list below? Or should I get a national plan?
This is a choice that varies from person to person, as it can change depending on your medical needs and the coverages you need to have in your plan during your days in Georgia.
International health plans should meet your coverage requirements in Georgia. If you choose one, be sure to check with the Georgian government embassy what the minimum insurance requirements are for staying in the country.
As I have never lived in Georgia, I am unable to recommend or talk about the national plans that are available.
With that in mind, here are some of the reasons why you might prefer to opt for international health insurance instead of public coverage:
- Most likely international health insurance will have cheaper monthly fees;
- You can choose how long your plan will last;
- With international health insurance, you can cancel or extend whenever you want;
- International insurance offers coverage in other countries, not just in one country (that is why it is considered “international”).
Who do these international health insurance policies cover?
All international health insurance companies listed just below are for citizens living in Georgia as workers, immigrants, expatriates or students from the following home countries:
- European Union (Portugal, France, Germany, Netherlands, Spain, Poland, Belgium, Sweden)
- United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland)
- New Zealand
- In addition to citizens of other countries
In addition to operating for expatriates/immigrants living in Georgia, these companies also offer services for residents living in:
- Europe (European Union and United Kingdom);
- And any other country in the world!
Because they are international plans, they can be used by people of any nationality and anywhere in the world, because they have worldwide coverage!
Why can’t I get travel insurance when I move to Georgia? What is the difference between travel insurance and expatriate insurance?
Travel insurance is a must for any trip, as it not only covers medical emergencies, but general problems on your trip, such as flight cancellations.
It should be noted that travel insurance is not ideal for expatriates and immigrants, because although you can apply for longer-term travel insurance, it is only for those who want a temporary stay in the country and not for those who intend to stay long term.
In addition, travel insurance does not usually meet the needs required by law for living in Georgia.
Ultimately, you will need to choose a health insurance plan that specifically covers expats. This is where the list below will help you.
What are the 7 best health insurances for expatriates and immigrants in Georgia?
Finding the right health insurance plan can be a real headache. That’s why we’ve prepared a comparison table of the best companies. That way you’ll be able to see the pros and cons of each one more quickly, and decide which one is best for you!
After the table, there are longer descriptions of each company, with their benefits, plans and more!
Besides all of the above, the best advice I can give you is: get a quote from each company before you make your final decision. It may take a little longer, but in the end you will save a lot of money!
|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||$1,000,000|
|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||Depends on the plan|
|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 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||Depends 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 coverage in the Diplomat Long Term and Diplomat International plans|
|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|
|Amateur Sports||Unlimited||Rider available up to $10,000||No||Yes||No||No||No|
|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||Can be unlimited depending 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|
|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|
|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 effective date||Any time prior to effective date||Any time prior to effective date||Any time prior to the effective date||Any time prior to the effective date||Any time prior to the 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|
Attention: This article and table are made for informational purposes as the information contained here is subject to changes and updates.
In my opinion, the best international health insurance companies for expats are:
- Now Health
- Global Underwriters
- Foyer Global Health
Cigna is a company founded in the United States that has a big role in Europe. It is a great choice when it comes to international health insurance.
Having been in business for more than 60 years, the company has great recognition for its insurance and worldwide they have more than 170 million customers. My partner, Nikki, has already purchased a health insurance plan from Cigna to meet the requirements for validating her residence card in Sweden.
Cigna is a company with a wide range of plans to choose from, including expatriate-specific plans (which work if you are moving to Georgia!), as well as individual and family plans).
As stated, there are individual and family plans for those moving to Georgia. One advantage of Cigna’s plans is that you have the ability to add benefits to your plan according to your specific needs and the type of medical care you need covered.
You can choose between the Silver, Platinum or Gold plan, which has coverage in over 200 countries and territories around the world.
If you are looking for a cheaper insurance plan for Georgia, the best alternative is Cigna’s Close Care plan. This plan particularly is the most affordable that Cigna has, because the coverage is only for your home country and the country where you intend to reside (Georgia in this case).
Advantages of an international health insurance plan with Cigna:
- 24-hour service, every day of the week
- Flexibility should you need to make changes to your plan
- Coverage for COVID-19 and PCR testing
- No registration is required to get a quote
- It has its own digital system to find hospitals and clinics near you
- Cigna, for the most part, pays health care providers directly, without the need for a reimbursement system
Disadvantages of an international health insurance plan with Cigna:
- Some plans don’t cover maternity
Another company recognized for its international insurance is IMG. It has over 25 years of experience and 3 subsidiaries around the world.
IMG also has several types of plans to choose from, either individual or for entire families, expatriates or travelers. You will find that they have the possibility of plans with long stays of 1 year or more, but also short-term travel plans.
Their website is intuitive and easy to navigate, with filters for dates, plan length, destination and more that make it easy to search. In addition to these filters, you can add your personal details such as age and specific needs for the best coverage.
IMG will then provide you with a detailed quote that allows you to compare plan options and coverage so you are free to choose what is best.
But when hiring your service, be aware of the details of each plan, as some do not have coverage for all age groups and not all of their plans cover Covid-19 needs.
Advantages of an international health insurance plan with IMG:
- Customer service 24 hours a day, seven days a week
- Flexibility plans for different client profiles
- More than 17,000 physicians for support
Disadvantages of signing up for an international health insurance plan with IMG:
- Some plans do not cover COVID-19
- No coverage for people 75+ years old
Now Health International is driven by its name, striving to provide an efficient, affordable, and easily accessible service. The company places a strong emphasis on building and maintaining positive customer relationships. They ensure that plan information is presented in a clear and concise manner, and promptly address any inquiries or concerns through their dedicated customer support team.
Now Health plans are specifically tailored to meet the distinct challenges faced by individuals living abroad. Their objective is to offer guidance and facilitate access to top-quality healthcare services globally.
Advantages of an international health insurance plan with Now Health:
- Customized plans according to your needs
- Clear information and excellent customer service team
- Provides coverage in 194 countries and territories
- Plans with high coverage routine maternity coverage
Disadvantages of an international health insurance plan with Now Health:
- You must wait a 12-month grace period to use maternity coverage.
- In some procedures, it is necessary to use the company’s reimbursement system, which means that you would have to pay for your care initially
4. Aetna (acquired by Allianz)
Aetna is a multiple award winner and a reference in the field of international insurance. If you are looking for security and credibility for your choice of insurance before your move to Georgia, Aetna is a company to consider.
They do not have a diversity of plans, but they do have flexibilities that let you add complementary coverage (such as dental care). Plans include coverage up to $5 million, depending on the case.
You can choose between family or individual plans, and may include coverage for repatriation and medical evacuation.
As an expatriate, I recommend the Aetna Pioneer. This plan has basic coverage up to $1.75 million. Just fill out a short form on the website to see an accurate quote and get detailed information about the policies available.
Advantages of an international health insurance plan with Aetna:
- They cover maternity
- Has an app that summarizes information and easy location of services and providers
- Short, medium and long term travel plans
- 24/7 care
- Pre-travel assistance to help with questions, such as vaccinations and regular use medications
Disadvantages of an international health insurance plan with Aetna
- Low plan diversity
- Higher prices than other companies on the list
SafetyWing is a popular company that has recognition in insurance for digital nomads, as it offers health insurance plans specifically for remote workers and businesses, expatriates, and digital nomads.
One of SafetyWing’s biggest advantages is that their policies are a little more accessible and easier to understand than those of other companies. They cover, for free, children from 2 to 10 years old if their guardians lock in a plan.
Each plan has a specific cost that depends on the age of the person who signs up. The cheapest plan does not cover pre-existing health conditions, however they have coverage up to $250,000. But you are free to add pre-existing condition coverage separately if needed.
What I like most about SafetyWing is that the company offers 30 days of free coverage in your home country for every 90 days that you use their plans abroad, such as in Georgia.
Advantages of an international health insurance plan with SafetyWing:
- Modern website, easy access to information and intuitive
- Customer service every day of the week, 24 hours a day
- 30 days of free coverage in your home country for every 90 days of coverage used abroad
- Coverage for COVID-19 and treatment recommended by medical specialists
Disadvantages of an international health insurance plan with Safety Wing:
- The plans are not as comprehensive and tend to have less overall coverage than some of the other options on this list;
- Website prices do not include fees and taxes that you may have to pay
Global Underwriters is another company with a high popularity when it comes to international health insurance. They have programs that cater to immigrants, students, digital nomads, and expatriates.
For someone who is moving to Georgia, I recommend the Diplomat Long Term or the Diplomat International Plan. Both have comprehensive coverage and generally include everything an expatriate will need in their new country.
Advantages of an international health insurance plan with Global Underwriters:
- Up to $1 million of medical coverage in the two plans mentioned above, and $1 million in coverage in case of accidental death or dismemberment
- All day, every day of the week client assistance
- The above plans have emergency dental coverage, medical evacuations, and repatriation of remains
Disadvantages of an international health insurance plan with Global Underwritres:
- Diplomat Long Term does not insure travelers in Iran, Afghanistan and Cuba
- Diplomat International does not cover COVID-19
- Global Underwriters does not cover residents of Australia, Iran, South Dakota, Maryland and New York
Foyer Global Health is a major provider of international health insurance plans for travelers, expatriates, digital nomads and immigrants.
It is a company with a large diversity of plans, probably the largest you will find on the market, and it is also a reliable company (part of the larger European Foyer Group).
Advantages of an international health insurance plan with Foyer Global Health:
- The plans provide coverage for consultations, dental treatments and even surgeries
- 24/7 online or by phone
- Pre-travel service for vaccinations and first aid kit preparation
- Coverage is available for evacuation and repatriation
Disadvantages of an international health insurance plan with Foyer Global Health:
- The coverage limits are not clear
For over 20 years in business, GeoBlue has offered insurance plans with international health coverage.
But GeoBlue only insures citizens and residents of the United States. So if you are not a U.S. citizen or resident moving to Georgia, you can ignore this option.
GeoBlue has health plans for different traveler profiles, including immigrants. Xplorer Essential is the plan I recommend the most, since it is made for stays that took a long time, with unlimited coverage.
If you are looking for a plan for a shorter stay, try the Voyager program. It is very simple, you just need to fill out a form or contact a broker to get a quote and receive more detailed information about the plans.
Advantages of a health insurance plan with GeoBlue:
- Feature application such as telemedicine
- 24-hour customer service, seven days a week
- Some plans have coverage for existing medical conditions
- All plans have unlimited coverage
Disadvantages of an international health insurance plan with GeoBlue:
- Low plan flexibility
- You need to submit a form or contact a broker for information or a quote for plans
Types of Georgian Visa
The visas for Georgia have the following categories:
- One category – diplomatic visa;
- Category B – Special visa;
- Category C – ordinary visa;
- Category D – immigration visa;
- Category T – transit visa.
However, the most requested by expatriates are category D visas and the famous Visa for Digital Nomads!
D – Immigration visa
Category D1 visa is issued to people who come to Georgia for work; business representatives and consultants who come to Georgia to carry out their official duties; aliens who come to Georgia for hired work and persons who come to Georgia to engage in entrepreneurial activities in accordance with the Georgia Act on Entrepreneurial Activity;
Category D2 visa is issued to people who come to Georgia to carry out scientific, sports, cultural or educational activities; freelancers; foreigners who come to Georgia as interns or volunteers; press workers who come to Georgia to carry out their professional activity;
Category D3 visa is issued to persons who come to study or do research at an authorized educational institution or to those who come to Georgia as part of an international educational program;
Category D4 visa is issued to people who come to Georgia for family reunification;
Category D5 visa is issued to the person – who, according to the procedure established by the legislation of Georgia, has the right of ownership of real estate within the territory of Georgia (except agricultural land) with its market value greater than US$ 100,000 GEL equivalents, and their family members.
Visa for Digital Nomad
The documents that you must upload in the visa application form are:
- Valid passport. Your passport must be valid for at least three months. You must attach copies of your passport biography page.
- Proof of business or employment. You will need to send a copy of your employment contract or your certificate of incorporation. Alternatively, you can send a letter outlining the details or a certificate of incorporation for self-employed individuals.
- Medical insurance. You need health insurance designed for digital nomads and remote workers living abroad.
- Funds check. You need to earn $2,000 a month or have $24,000 in your bank account. To prove your funds, you can use bank statements, stock statements, fixed-repayment contracts, and employment certificates.
How to apply:
- Get the necessary documents. Getting all the necessary documents before applying is very important.
- Start your visa application online. You need to complete the application by adding all your personal information and uploading the required documents.
- Submit the application and wait for approval. After uploading the documents and completing all the online application steps, you must submit them. Then you have to wait about ten days to get an email response.
- Simple visa application process. The visa application process is particularly easy. Everything is done online just by following the Georgia Nomad Visa website. Also, visa processing time is ten business days.
- No subscription fees. Applying for a Georgia Digital Nomad Visa is free.
- A visa-free country. Ninety-five countries can enter Georgia without a visa and stay for 365 days. Compared to other countries that offer digital nomad visas, Georgia is the only one that offers this opportunity.
- Tax system. As a digital nomad in Georgia, you are not required to pay any tax until your 183rd day of stay. If you stay longer than 183 days, you are considered a tax resident and income tax is approximately 20%. Additionally, Georgia offers an individual entrepreneur scheme, which allows digital nomads to pay just 1% of their first income of $155,000. This scheme is ideal for digital nomads and freelancers.
- Availability of bank accounts. Compared to other countries that require you to be a resident to open a bank account, Georgia does not. In Georgia, you can open a bank account upon arrival. As a digital nomad, having a bank account in the country you are staying in means your time there becomes more comfortable and enjoyable.
- Affordable living costs. The cost of living in Georgia is US$698 and, compared to the average of other countries in the world, it is 1.34 times cheaper. The cost of living depends on the city.
In a nutshell…
These are the 7 best health insurance companies for expats and immigrants moving to Georgia:
- Now Health
- Aetna (Allianz)
- Global Underwriters
- Foyer Global Health
Moving to a new country, even if it is a dream, is hard… I hope this article has taken all your doubts away and made the process at least a little bit easier! If you still have questions about insurance for your move to Georgia (or any other foreign country), leave a comment and I will answer as soon as possible!
Planning your next trip?
Already reserved your hotel or hostel? If not, we recommend Booking.com. They have a huge selection of hotels and hostels all over the world. Plus, in most cases, you can cancel your reservation without any costs up to a few days before the check-in date!
Still haven’t booked your plane ticket and want to save big? Take a look at Momondo. It’s a flight aggregator that combines several other ticket search websites to make it easier for you to compare prices and make sure you are getting the best deal.
And finally, will you need to rent a car during your trip? Then check out Rentalcar.com to search and compare car rental companies from all over the world in a single website. Then, you can find the cheapest price for the best car!