Consider This One Overlooked Health Factor When Moving Overseas

Are you a big-city person?

If you’re an expat moving abroad with an unusual, chronic, or potentially serious health issue, you may want to be a big-city person.

The U.S. hasn’t had the best healthcare system in the world for quite some time. By many measures, it doesn’t even enter the top 10.

But that doesn’t mean that healthcare is better everywhere else in the world you might go, or even within countries with higher healthcare rankings than the States.

Just as in the U.S. and Canada, the best healthcare facilities are found in the largest metropolitan areas in every country I’ve ever lived in.

And just like in the U.S. and Canada, if you’re out in a little village or the countryside somewhere, modern healthcare can be all but nonexistent.

This raises a serious question for people who want to relocate abroad and aren’t particularly interested in city life.

If you find yourself in dire need of modern medical intervention, the city can be the very thing that saves your life.

This is a major calculation in the process of deciding where in the world you want to retire or relocate. If you’re young and healthy with no major medical issues, village life or life out in the countryside won’t daunt you.

Likewise, if you do have medical issues but prefer small-town or country living, you’ll want to find a place that has either a decent local clinic, fast and easy transportation to a nearby major metropolitan area, or a local network of residents that watch out for each other and can help out in the event of a medical emergency.

I’ve lived in a small town where the resident expats organized just such a local medical assistance network. They checked in on each other, had basic knowledge of each other’s particular medical situations, knew where to find each other’s important medical documents, and had each other’s contact information for family and friends back home in case of emergencies.

When I first moved abroad in 2001, neither my wife nor I were particularly concerned with how close we lived to a modern hospital or clinic. Over the years this concern has gradually worked its way up the list of our prerequisites for places we feel comfortable living overseas.

Assessing where you are in relation to this concern—and where you are in relation to a modern medical center—can be crucial to your peace of mind when choosing a place to retire or relocate abroad.

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