Complete guide to obtaining health insurance as a digital nomad, the best options, fees, and FAQs

A digital nomad is a person who works remotely while living or traveling abroad. In most cases, they work in content creation, content writing, translating, accounting and bookkeeping, IT and programming, photography, etc. But, digital nomads are not limited in their work— as long as they can work online, then they can do anything. However, the problem with digital nomads until recently was that they worked while traveling on a tourist visa, which is not permissible. As a result, many countries now offer specific visas for digital nomads to allow them to travel and work. 

Still, now there’s a gray area when it comes to digital nomads and health insurance. While they are working under a digital nomad visa, they may not qualify for state-funded health insurance in the current country where they are staying. Also, they’re not traveling for short periods, so travel insurance may not meet their needs. So, do digital nomads need health insurance, and how can they obtain it? Here you can find a detailed overview regarding digital nomads and health insurance. 

Do Digital Nomads Need Health Insurance?

Sometimes digital nomads are legally required to have valid health insurance. This varies from their current country of residence. For example, let’s say someone who is working in Germany as a digital nomad/freelancer must have health insurance since Germany requires all citizens to be insured. Such laws may not exist in other countries, but digital nomads are still highly encouraged to have health insurance. 

You can purchase health insurance for digital nomads online before you travel, through comparison marketplaces such as Insubuy or International Citizens Insurance which allow you to compare different plans before settling on one.

In some countries, medical care can be costly, and without insurance, they have to pay for healthcare out of pocket. Especially if a worst-case scenario happens and someone requires emergency transportation to their home, they won’t have to pay for the service as long as they have health insurance. 

Can Digital Nomads Use Travel Insurance?

Digital nomads can use a basic travel insurance plan if they plan on working abroad for a short period. Travel insurance mainly covers travel-related losses but offers additional medical coverage for emergencies. Health insurance, on the other hand, is tailored specifically for medical issues, including routine checkups, which is beneficial when living abroad for a longer period of time. 

In essence, using travel insurance for short periods is okay, but long term, it can be costly and very limited in terms of medical coverage. 

Digital Nomad Health Insurance: What to Look for?

If you’re new to digital nomad health insurance, you might find yourself overwhelmed with the information and might not know where to focus. When buying digital nomad health insurance, there are a few things to keep in mind: 

  • Worldwide coverage. You’ll see that some providers ask you to determine the country where you want coverage. You’ll also notice that if you wish coverage in some specific countries (USA, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, etc.), the price of your insurance increases. This is because healthcare is expensive in those countries. If you’re not working in any of these places, buy an insurance policy that excludes them, lowering your insurance price. On the other hand, if you’re planning to travel worldwide, you can choose a more comprehensive policy. 
  • Coverage in your home country. Sometime during your digital nomad life, you might want to go back to your home country for a short period of time. In this case, it’s important to see whether your international policy covers you while you are in your home. Usually, most policies offer home country coverage for three or six months, but this varies on your provider. This benefit will make it easier for you so you don’t have to buy a new policy every time you head out to travel. 
  • Pre-existing conditions. If you have pre-existing conditions you know require routine check-ups, make sure you accept a policy that offers coverage for pre-existing conditions. But, know that you pay more for your premium in this case. 
  • Travel benefits. Most international health insurance policies cater to medical needs without including travel benefits such as coverage for loss of personal belonging or stolen or damaged gadgets. Knowing how important digital equipment is for digital nomads, it’s important to find a policy that offers coverage or at least offers add-ons for personal items. 

Nowadays with comparative marketplaces such as Insubuy or International Citizens Insurance choosing an insurance plan with the benefits you need has become much simpler.

What Does Digital Nomad Health Insurance Cover?

Digital nomad health insurance coverage options vary, but a basic policy usually consists of the following: 

  • Emergency room visits. 
  • Surgeries. 
  • Emergency evacuation and repatriation. 
  • Consultations with medical practitioners and specialists
  • Prescribed drugs and dressings
  • Pathology, Radiology, and diagnostic tests
  • Outpatient Rehabilitation Physiotherapy and Chiropractic treatment
  • Cancer testing and treatment.
  • Vaccinations (in some cases)
  • Dental accidents
  • Child and Adolescence well-being health

There are benefits that digital nomads can choose to exclude or include in their policy depending on their needs.

Digital Nomad Health Insurance Cost

Health insurance plans for digital nomads range between $40 to over $500 per month. This type of health insurance can be slightly more expensive than travel insurance because it offers a high maximum limit for medical coverage. However, the price changes based on several factors such as the insurance provider, the duration of the policy, or the benefits included in the plan. 

Usually, the fewer benefits, the cheaper the plan. But, keep in mind that expensive doesn’t mean better. It all depends on what you as a digital nomad need to have covered during your work. In this case, it’s always best to consult with an insurance broker or comparative marketplaces like Insubuy or International Citizens Insurance so you can get a detailed summary of the available plans and their prices. 

How to Save Money on Insurance as a Digital Nomad?

Here are some tips to help you save on your health insurance as a digital nomad:

  • Get insurance only for where you will be traveling. 
  • Buy extra benefits only if you need them, e.g., coverage for pre-existing conditions. 
  • Set a higher deductible if you can. 
  • See if you qualify for state-funded insurance in your current country and put those services to use. In turn, use your insurance only for benefits that are not offered to digital nomads.
  • Opt for travel insurance instead of global health insurance if you will be traveling as a digital nomad short-term. 

Best Health Insurance Plans for Digital Nomads 

Here is an overview of some of the best international health insurance providers and their plans for digital nomads: 

Cigna Global Insurance Allianz Global Health InsuranceIntegra GlobalDigital Nomad InsuranceSafety Wing Remote Health 
Inpatient careYesYesYesYes
Outpatient careYesNot without paying for add-ons.Not without paying for add-ons.Not without purchasing the premium add-on
Emergency transportationYes YesYesYes
Mental health careYesIn-patient and day-care treatment only.N/AN/A
Pre-existing and chronic conditions Some YesSomeSome 
Travel benefitsN/AN/AN/ASome
Coverage in the home countryYesShort-tripsN/AFor up to 30 days (15 days per 90 days in the US).

Additional benefits are included in all of these plans depending on what level of coverage you want— of course, in this case, you have to pay more for your insurance policy. 

Health Insurance for Digital Nomads in the US 

Digital nomads working in the US from other countries should be prepared to pay a little extra for their health insurance policy. Generally speaking, healthcare in the US is costly, and it would be ill-advised to go to the US without proper health insurance. In this case, you can opt for one of the following health insurance plans tailored specifically for visitors in the US:

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