Often in the bustle and excitement of moving to a new country, the possibility of a medical emergency is the last thing on anyone’s mind. You’ve just finished the long, grueling haul of deputation and you’re absolutely thrilled to move to the new place God has called you and your family to.
So you pack up your life, put the kids in the car, and say goodbye to loved ones at the airport. A whirlwind of emotions fills your heart as you sit back on the plane and turn your thoughts to the new country…
But fast forward a few weeks, months, or even years. Perhaps you’re sweating through the jungles of Peru, and you suddenly fall sick with Dengue fever. Or maybe you’re climbing the mountains of Cambodia and your son breaks his leg. Maybe your pregnant wife begins experiencing complications, or your young daughter begins having inexplicable seizures.
If you’re cringing at this point, you’re not alone. Nobody wants to consider the possibility of a serious medical emergency. But unforeseen situations like these don’t have to be traumatic… if you’re prepared.
Let’s take a look at some of the reasons people give for refusing global health insurance, and decide whether or not they hold any water.
1. I’m / We’re already very healthy
This may be perfectly true. However, on the field it can be difficult to prevent every possible accident-prone situation you may find yourself, or your family, in. You may be exposed to weather, the elements, animals, insects, poisonous plants, disease, germs, unclean or infested water, warfare, machinery, chemicals, accidents, etc. Ministry can take place anywhere: from the African desert to the South American rain forest, to the frozen tundra of northern Russia… well, you get the idea.
And no matter how healthy you are now, you haven’t been exposed to your new country’s strains of bacteria, viruses, and other pesky germs. You never know how your body will react until you’re there, and it’s always better to be prepared.
2. I already purchased “travel insurance.”
Travel insurance is fantastic if you’re taking a survey tour or a short-term missions trip, because it provides many of the same benefits of global, or worldwide healthcare. The only downfall is that travel insurance doesn’t provide long-term coverage. Most companies’ “long-term” packages only cover you up to 18 months-2 years.
This can obviously present a problem for missionaries who plan on being out of the country longer than a couple of years. If you’re planning on a typical schedule (two-four years on the field, 1/2-one year off), you probably want to stick with global health coverage.
3. It’s too expensive.
A few decades ago, this may have been a valid concern. Fortunately for us today, international healthcare for US citizens abroad is much more affordable than it used to be. Most companies offer extremely competitive rates. Some even provide special bonuses like cash back or 50% off your deductible for visiting specific doctors or hospitals.
Healthcare is expensive, to be sure. But all things considered, it’s significantly cheaper than paying entirely out of pocket for a medical helicopter ride from Taiwan back to the Chinese mainland, or a month-long hospital stay in Brussels.
How do you feel about global health insurance? Let us know by leaving your name and a comment below. We’d love to hear from you!