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How much does average expat
health insurance cost?

The cost of international health insurance varies greatly depending on your circumstances. As a rule of thumb, it’s more expensive than domestic health insurance, but how much does average private healthcare cost abroad? And how can you keep the cost of your health insurance under control?

So what does average expat health insurance cost?

In 2020, our average premium for an individual for a single year of cover was $3,470*. How much you pay though, will depend on things like your age, cover needs and location.

The cost of expat health insurance varies so dramatically because there are so many factors affecting how we calculate premiums. The most important factors are:

  • Where you need coverPrivate healthcare is more expensive in certain countries and regions.
  • Your age – Generally speaking, the older you are the more healthcare you’re likely to need. Premiums get more expensive as you get older.
  • Medical history – Health insurance doesn’t typically cover pre-existing medical conditions. Sometimes, you may need to pay an additional premium to get cover for such conditions.
  • Optional extras – Perhaps you need cover for complex dental treatment or temporary cover in the USA.

Unlike other providers, your claims history while you’re a member with William Russell won’t affect your renewal premium. Unlike other providers, we don’t think it’s fair to penalise members based on legitimate claims they’ve made in the past. Further, it discourages people from receiving the medical treatment they need because they are concerned about the cost of their renewal premium.

We’ve published a full guide on how we calculate premiums for health insurance.

International health Insurance costs are rising in 2021.
Find out what’s driving up prices
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How much does average expat health insurance costs in different countries?

Your location is one of the key factors in calculating a premium. The cost of private healthcare varies dramatically in different countries, even when they’re geographically close to one another. For example, the average cost of health insurance in Singapore is $5,458, nearly double the cost compared to its not-too-distant neighbor Thailand, where expat health insurance costs on average $2,728. We look into what influences the costs of healthcare and health insurance in the USA, a nation where per capita health spending is almost twice the average seen in other wealthy countries.

Because the prices vary so drastically we use a sophisticated pricing model that weights countries according to how much private healthcare costs there. We have over 100 different country weightings, which means we can provide members living in diverse countries an accurate and fair premium for their private health insurance in that country.

Most expensive countries for international health insurance

So which are the most expensive countries for expat health insurance? According to a 2019 report conducted by Pacific Prime, the USA was the most expensive country for expat health insurance premiums. You might guess the other countries making up the top five most expensive. Each figure in the table below shows the average cost for a single member, priced in US dollars.

Rank Country Cost
1 USA $8,887
2 Canada $7,045
3 Hong Kong $5,738
4 Singapore $5,458
5 Israel $4,799


So, which countries are cheapest for expat health insurance?

The same survey concludes that the cheapest country for expat health insurance is Thailand. Surprisingly, European countries make up the rest of the ‘cheapest’ countries for expat health insurance.

Rank Country Cost
67 Slovakia $3,423
68 Netherlands $3,419
Norway $3,419
69 Romania $3,391
Croatia $3,391
70 Poland $3,320
71 Thailand $2,728


Ways to save money on your health insurance premium

Whilst an international health insurance policy isn’t usually cheap, there are things you can do to ensure you’re not paying more than you need to when finding the right policy for you and your family. Here are some of our top tips:

  • Ensure you’re cover is for the location(s) – most expat plans are tailored to specific areas (or zones) of cover. You can save money by ensuring you pick the right zone for you.
  • Choose a provider with modular/customised plans – Some providers lump several benefits together into one bundle. We know that one size will never fit everyone and that our members deserve tailored products.
    When you choose a provider who offers modular plans – you can decide whether you want to pay extra for things like dental cover.
  • Pick the right ‘base plan’ for your needs – Once you’ve found an insurer with modular options, you can focus on picking the best base plan for your needs. It’s worth comparing more comprehensive plans and basic plans with added benefits.
  • Pick the right excess – Finally, it’s worth exploring different excess options. For example, if you’re only interested in a policy that covers you for serious illnesses you may be better off with a Bronze plan and a higher excess. At William Russell we don’t use call centres and instead, have a team of product specialists who are dedicated to helping you find a cost-effective health plan tailored to your needs.
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How much does international health insurance cost with William Russell?

Here are a few examples of our members and how much they pay for their plan.*

The busy family The young couple The solo nomad
A family of four who wants their routine dental care covered but don’t need the additional the coverage a gold plan would provide. A couple who are planning on starting a family and want to ensure they have great maternity cover. A frequent traveller and digital nomad who wants to make sure they have medical evacuation and a good level of cover without a huge premium.
Country of Nationality UK USA Norway
Country of residence Vietnam Indonesia Thailand
Age(s) 35, 40, 5, 2 29, 34 34
Plan selected Silver Gold SilverLite
Excess US$250 (per annum) US$250 (per annum) US$1000 per annum
Payment frequency Yearly Monthly Half-yearly
Annualised premium US$8,419.90 US$10,298.80 US$2,280.80

*Based on personal health plans with worldwide cover issued in 2020 by William Russell.

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