Worldwide health insurance: which countries require it for entry?
It is always advisable to have health insurance if you are living or working overseas. But there are now an increasing number of countries that won’t let you in without it. Find out which countries these are and how to choose the right insurance for you.
Mandatory health insurance is becoming more common
In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, mandatory health insurance for entering a country is becoming more common. Some countries are now requiring visitors to have health insurance before they will issue a visa. In others, you risk being turned away at arrivals if you don’t have cover.
Currently, many countries are restricting entry to travellers. If they are open to travellers, many countries require negative coronavirus tests for entry and/or are imposing quarantine restrictions. The situation is changing rapidly, so make sure you check the requirements for the country you plan to visit before you travel.
Update 08/01/2021: all international arrivals to England, including UK nationals, are required to present a negative COVID-19 test taken up to 72 hours prior to departure.
Why do some countries require you to have health insurance for entry?
Having the right health insurance means visitors and expats will be able to access medical treatment if they need it without being faced with enormous costs. But countries also want to protect their own health systems. Particularly in the age of COVID-19, they do not want to see hospitals and clinics left with unpaid bills for healthcare given to visitors.
Which countries won’t let you in without health insurance?
Countries where you will need health insurance on entry include:
This Caribbean island has introduced mandatory Aruba Visitor Insurance to help cover expenses up to US$75,000 if you test positive for COVID-19 during your stay. Premiums are per person and depend on your age and the length of your stay.
International health insurance guaranteeing at least US$50,000 of coverage for COVID-19 is mandatory.
To enter the country you must have travel insurance with cover for COVID-19.
Foreign tourists travelling to the Galapagos must have health insurance.
Health insurance is compulsory for all visitors and additional insurance covering COVID-19 related expenses is ‘strongly recommended’.
You will need to attest that you have health insurance or that you will personally assume all expenses for the cost of your care if you fall ill.
Turks and Caicos Islands
As well as completing a detailed health screening, visitors will have to provide evidence of having health/travel insurance that covers COVID-19.
United Arab Emirates
Visitors to Dubai must have international health insurance before travelling. See our checklist for moving to Dubai.
What other health-related entry requirements are there?
To enter many countries, you will need to have evidence of a recent negative COVID-19 test. You may also be asked to take a test on arrival. There may also be quarantine requirements.
Does Medicare cover me in a foreign country?
Medicare is the US federal health insurance programme. Medicare does not normally cover medical care outside the US and its territories, although there are some very limited exceptions. In all cases, if you have health insurance for your own country, you will need to check whether it offers any coverage in other countries too. If it doesn’t, you’ll need a separate health insurance policy.
Which countries have mandatory health insurance?
In some counties, it is compulsory for citizens to have health insurance, while companies in some countries are obliged to provide health insurance for employees. These countries include:
- Dubai and Abu Dhabi: employers are responsible for providing health insurance cover for employees.
- Oman: it is mandatory for private sector employers to provide basic health insurance coverage for employees, including expats.
What insurance do I need for working abroad?
Whether or not it is compulsory in the country you’re going to work in, for your peace of mind and wellbeing, you will need health insurance that covers you for illness or injury when you’re living overseas. As well as that protection, our international insurance also gives you 24/7 access to help with navigating language barriers and unfamiliar hospital settings.
Which is the best international health insurance?
The best international health insurance for you will depend on your situation and the level of cover you want. At William Russell, we provide a truly personalised service for expats with a range of health insurance policies that allow you to choose options to suit your lifestyle.