> Expat-Advice > Health-Care
From the first time I flew from the mainland to Ambergris Caye—in a small turbo-prop plane—I was hooked on Belize. Gazing down onto the crystal clear Caribbean waters, and at the waves breaking on the Mesoamerican Reef, I was overwhelmed by the scenic beauty around me…
John Sklute, a retired English professor from California, has lived just about everywhere—from sunny Spain to spacious Sweden. So when he says that Berlin has a special something, you know he’s done the legwork. John’s love for Berlin started when he spent a summer there in 1994 and fell in love with a local. The relationship didn’t work out, but John’s passion for Berlin never waned.
In the heart of Costa Rica’s Central Valley is Grecia, a charming town of about 16,000. Like the rest of the Central Valley, Grecia has an ideal spring-like climate and enjoys quick access to the capital of Costa Rica, San José. There you can find the best medical care and shopping in the country, as well as the main international airport.
My adventures in pursuit of stories have taken me to strange and wonderful places. The spice-scented bazaars of Istanbul were memorable, as were the breweries of Dusseldorf on the banks of the German Rhine. I have haggled with gypsies, queried stamp investors, “borrowed” a speed boat to check out real estate, and handled shotguns in London worth $100,000 each.
- A New Global Wealth Tax, Asian Currencies, Diamonds in Panama and Much More…
Posted on February 20, 2014 by International Living
In the U.S., there’s a simple reason why our medical bills are high: Going to the doctor costs more. Perceptive, I know. But it’s the truth. If we dump the unions, the politics, Medicare, government and any other hot button from our discussion, we’re left with the simple yet disturbing fact that Americans pay more for services than patients elsewhere around the world—even in similar “first world” economies. Lots more.
It started with a fever that didn’t go away. Ill and worried, I finally went to the emergency room. It was my first time sick in Uruguay and I wasn’t sure what to expect. But, thanks to the great care and house calls of the doctors and nurses, I was soon enjoying a grilled steak to celebrate my recovery. And now—after living here for seven years—health care is one of the things I appreciate most about my adopted country.
“Who remembers the economic tsunami of 2008?” Edd Staton asked. “Well, that’s how we got here. Before 2008, we had great jobs and were pulling down good money. Our retirement account was growing steadily and we had big plans for our retirement…which we thought was a long ways off…”
I’m about to head down the PanAmerican Highway to Quito, Ecuador’s sprawling capital, to attend this year’s Fast Track Ecuador Conference, where I’ll spend the better part of a week with hundreds of people who traveled thousands of miles to see this country for themselves.
For three days now, I’ve been telling you that in Ecuador, you can have it all…but at what price? What must you give up to make a good life here? International Living is, at times, accused of seeing the world through rose-colored glasses…of overlooking the bad and omitting the blemishes. If you’ve been here in Quito the past few days, I doubt you’d agree with that.
InternationalLiving.com’s annual Global Retirement Index reports that France, Uruguay and Malaysia provide the best and most affordable health care in the world. The Health Care category in the Index considers the cost of care and the quality. Also considered are the number of people per doctor, the number of hospital beds per 1,000 people, the percentage of the population with access to safe water, the infant mortality rate, life expectancy, and public-health expenditure as a percentage of a country’s GDP.
Most mornings Chuck and Kathy Baumgarten can be found leisurely sipping coffee and enjoying the sunrise from their porch. It’s easy to see why if you visit their home. They have one of the most scenic vistas in all of Ecuador. Mount Imbabura seems to rise from their backyard. A 180-degree turn showcases Mount Cotacachi’s golden-hour glow.
In many ways the Coffee Triangle is the heart and soul of Colombia. Even in the region’s modern cities, where you’ll find international cuisine, state-of-the-art museums, and innovative public transport, the country’s agrarian traditions linger. Farmers sporting traditional straw hats sit amongst college students in cafés, and hardware stores in trendy shopping malls display agricultural tools in front windows.
After a long career in Silicon Valley, Robbie Felix, 58, was ready for a change. “I showed up there in 1978 right after they broke up the telephone monopolies, and it was booming,” says Robbie, who worked as a headhunter specialized in staffing start-up companies. “I loved it. It was fascinating but extremely stressful. There was a lot of pressure because there was so much money on the table.”
As I sit here sweating in the middle of January it’s hard to imagine that it’s cold somewhere. Our friends back in the U.S. are still working, yet I’m only 53 years old and happily retired now for two years. The past two and a half years have gone by quickly as we’ve settled into our new life in Panama.
- Better Weather, a Lower Cost of Living…and other Great Reasons to Move Overseas
Posted on January 16, 2014 by Dan Prescher
Sometimes my old friends back home have a hard time understanding why I moved abroad. Just last week I was wrapped up like a polar explorer in borrowed coats, helping a friend I was visiting back home for the holidays shovel the drifting, blowing snow off his driveway. “What’s the fascination with living abroad anyway?” he asked through the scarf wrapped around his face to avoid losing his nose to frostbite.
- Enjoying the Best Climate in the World in Costa Rica
Posted on January 13, 2014 by Emily Shea
Frances Jones leans back in her chair and motions to the rolling view from her terrace. Forest and coffee field-flecked hills stretch for miles to the Gulf of Nicoya and the Pacific. “When we found this place the house was simple—no porches—but the view was just killer. Even if it was a tent, we still would have taken it,” says Frances.
For anyone who’s been there recently, it’s no surprise that Spain is one of the top five destinations in International Living’s Global Retirement Index—our pick of the top retirement destinations in the world. Spain is arguably the best bargain in Europe, offering First-World living at a cost that can compete with some Latin-American countries. Thanks to the ongoing recession, real estate prices in many parts of Spain have plummeted. Buying here is more affordable now than it’s been in decades.
- IL Radio Episode 41: Raising a Family in Costa Rica’s Central Valley
Posted on January 7, 2014 by Dan Prescher
Hi, I’m Dan Prescher. Want a great example of how to move your family AND career to a tropical paradise? Look no further than Jason Holland, who lives and works in one of the most beautiful spots in Costa Rica with his wife and two young children. Jason made his move abroad in the middle of a job crisis, a world economic downturn AND the arrival of his second child…
- The Best Places to Retire Overseas for Affordable and Efficient Health Care
Posted on January 5, 2014 by Barbara Ross
Health care overseas is more affordable than in the U.S. You will pay less for high-quality health care overseas and these countries are three of the best according to International Living’s Annual Global Retirement Index 2014.
- Medical Tourism: 4 Countries Where You Can Get High-Quality, Low-Cost Health Care
Posted on December 12, 2013 by Barbara Ross
The cost of elective procedures such as dental and cosmetic surgery is cheaper in these four countries than in the U.S., even when you take the cost of travel into account.
When my husband first proposed the idea of retiring early outside of the U.S., I thought he was being unrealistic. Could we really afford to retire in our 50s if we found a place where we could live on less? I was skeptical…but I’m happy to report that we’ve been living that dream in Panama for over two years now and have never looked back. Here we could actually afford to retire, live comfortably and even travel. The little country of Panama is fast becoming a haven for retirees.
Costa Rica has a lot to recommend it: low cost of living, bargain real estate, the “Pura Vida” lifestyle, great weather, fabulous beaches…the list goes on and on. But one of the biggest benefits for retirees, business owners, and other expats is the health care. In a time of rising costs in the U.S., not to mention a contentious political debate over insurance and medical care, Costa Rica’s take on the issue is refreshing.
- Five Places to Get Affordable Health Care Overseas
Posted on November 29, 2013 by Barbara Ross
In the following five countries you will pay less for health care than you do at home. And the quality is at least as good…in fact, many expats say it’s better. Affordable health care isn’t the only reason to move overseas—but it makes the move more attractive. You can get great quality health care for less abroad, lowering your monthly expenses. Panama offers excellent quality health care and modern hospitals in Panama City and other large towns or cities…
When you move overseas, most things cost less. Health care is cheaper, beachfront property is cheaper and flights are cheaper when you qualify for a retiree program. You can even enjoy a symphony performance for far less than in the U.S., and have a better quality of life for less. Here is a list of five items that are cheaper overseas.
Do You Want to Retire Early?Each day we uncover some of the most desirable -- and cheapest -- retirement havens on earth. Sign up for our free daily Postcard e-letter and we'll immediately send you a FREE research report to help you find your perfect retirement destination.