retired expatriate

Health Insurance Options for Retired Expatriates: A Comprehensive Guide for Peace of Mind

Living abroad as a retired expatriate offers many exciting opportunities, but it is essential to take measures to protect your health. As a retiree, having adequate health insurance is important to address unforeseen medical expenses. In this article, we will explore different health insurance options available for retired expatriates to help you choose the best coverage for complete peace of mind.

Self Insurance 

Local Health Insurance 

International Health Insurance 

The CFE 


Self Insurance

One option to consider is self-insurance. Some individuals choose to set aside specific funds to cover potential medical expenses. This approach can be suitable for those who are in good health and prefer to take the risk of paying their own medical costs instead of subscribing to health insurance.

However, it is important to carefully assess the risks and potential costs before choosing self-insurance. Unforeseen medical expenses can be substantial, and a serious illness or injury can result in significant financial consequences. It is therefore recommended to have sufficient savings to handle such situations or have an additional safety net, such as medical evacuation insurance.

Local Health Insurance Plans

In many countries, there are local health insurance plans available to foreign residents. These plans offer basic medical coverage and can be an affordable option for retired expatriates. However, it is important to note that the quality of care and the scope of coverage can vary significantly from one country to another. Therefore, it is essential to carefully study the conditions and limitations of the plan before subscribing.

It is also advisable to consult local healthcare professionals or experienced expatriates to obtain recommendations on the best available local health insurance plans in your host country.

International Health Insurance

Another option to consider is international health insurance specifically designed for expatriates, including those who are retired. These insurance policies provide global coverage and allow you to access quality medical care wherever you are. They generally offer greater flexibility in terms of choosing doctors and hospitals, as well as extensive coverage for treatments, medications, and specialized care.

International health insurance may be more costly than local plans, but it also offers greater peace of mind in terms of extended coverage and the possibility of medical repatriation if necessary. It is important to compare the different insurance policies available on the market, taking into account your specific needs and budget. However, be cautious of renewal limits.

The Caisse des Français de l'Étranger (CFE)

If you are a French or European retiree living abroad, the Caisse des Français de l’Étranger (CFE) can be an interesting option to consider. The CFE is a social security organization intended for French residents living outside of France. It offers specific healthcare coverage for French expatriates, allowing them to access medical care both in France and abroad.

The CFE offers different health insurance plans tailored to the needs of retired expatriates. These plans provide complementary coverage to that of local schemes, enabling French retirees to receive quality care while maintaining a connection to the French healthcare system.

It is important to note that the CFE is a voluntary insurance, which means you will need to register and pay contributions to benefit from its advantages. The rates vary based on your age, family situation, and the chosen plan. Therefore, it is essential to carefully evaluate the costs and benefits of the CFE compared to other available health insurance options.

The CFE can be an attractive option for French retirees as it offers coverage specific to their situation and allows them to stay connected to the French healthcare system. However, it is important to note that the CFE does not cover all countries worldwide, and some countries may have specific agreements with France regarding social security. Therefore, it is advisable to inquire with the CFE and consult a health insurance advisor to determine if this option is suitable for your situation.

More information in this article


When you are a retired expatriate, it is crucial to choose adequate health insurance to protect yourself in case of medical issues. Whether you opt for local insurance, international insurance, supplementary insurance, or the CFE, it is important to consider your specific needs and compare different available options. By taking the necessary measures to ensure coverage, you will be able to enjoy your retirement abroad, knowing that you have financial protection in case of medical needs.

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