health check

Get your health in check before you relocate overseas

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What health considerations do you need to consider if you’re moving halfway across the world?

Moving can be a stressful time even if you’re just going down the road. But if you're relocating internationally, you have even more things to consider. Along with sorting out your home, taxes, the kids schooling and all of the other items on your ‘to-do' list, it's important that you don't forget about your health. Kevin Melton, from AXA PPP International, talks about health tips and what you can do before you go to ensure a smooth sailing into your new life.


Depending on where you’re going, you may need to get vaccinated. For the latest information you can check out the World Health Organisation website or if you have international health insurance, your provider should be able to help you either via a medical helpline or an online personalised service. Some vaccinations are needed weeks in advance so be sure to do your research with time to spare.

If you are moving with children, it may be an idea to ensure they are fully up to date with their childhood vaccinations as these may be unavailable at your destination.

Get a health check

You wouldn’t go on a long road trip without giving your car a good once over first? Why treat your body any different. Mitigating any future health issues by being pro-active and getting your health assessed can save you time and worry when you’re getting used to your new surroundings. Plus, catching ailments in advance usually means a better outcome you.

health check

Medical history

If you or one of your family have a complicated medical history, you may want to get your medical records translated before you go. This will help to ensure you get the right treatment in the future. It can also help prevent your new doctor from undertaking unnecessary exams and tests that may have previously been done.

Find your nearest medical centre

When you know your new address, look up the nearest doctor and emergency room. It’s better to have this information ready to go than trying to find it when you need it. When you arrive you might want to take a practice run so that in case of an emergency you know the way there.

A good health insurer will help you find the nearest and most appropriate doctor for you – they should also help with language barriers such as listing English speaking facilities or providing interpretation.


Drug availability varies worldwide. It is worth speaking to your doctor before you go asking them about other drug options in case the prescription you’re on is unobtainable. Knowing the generic names of the drugs also helps as the brand names can vary widely too. It is also an idea to research the availability of your prescriptions so there are no nasty surprises once you arrive and you run out.

Moving with children?

Depending on where you’re going, your children may be exposed to a whole new set of germs, viruses and bacteria. So you may want to prepare for them becoming sick with minor ailments more frequently than might be normal. This could be coughs, colds, tummy bugs, rashes, allergies and viral illnesses. You can be prepared by taking basic medicines from home that you know your children are familiar with and respond well to.
It’s also important to ensure your children are up-to-date with their childhood vaccinations and these may not be available in your new home country.

Get your health covered with a reliable International health insurer

Some countries do not have a local state health system and even if they do, a good knowledge of the local language is needed. The same can be said for local private health insurance – all of the membership documents, claims processes and customer service will be in the local language. However, an international private insurer will help you usually by offering interpretation services, and guide you to a hospital or clinic where the staff speak English.

International health insurance also gives you access to certain benefits that you wouldn’t get on the state or on a local private medical plan such as routine maternity treatment, evacuation and repatriation, health screens and dental treatment. There are many different variations and companies offering international health insurance so it’s worth shopping around and finding the best product for your needs and where you’re moving to.

By preparing in advance, you can help minimise any health issues once you get to your new home. However being covered by a reputable international health insurer should also provide you with 24/7 support whether it’s about claims, places to receive treatment or medical questions. 

AXA PPP International, international health insurer / Expatica
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1 Comment To This Article

  • osita posted:

    on 22nd August 2012, 09:59:55 - Reply

    It's worth noting that in some countries (such as the Netherlands), you are required by law to hold Health Insurance from the country where you now work, guaranteeing coverage without requiring 'approval' from a private insurer; thus ensuring everyone has access to the same level of care and cannot be refused treatment due to pre-existing conditions.

    In such cases, a private policy (such as the sponsor of the above ad, oops, article) is insufficient to meet residency/work permit requirements and as such, is surplus to requirements; although its probably adequate for someone who travels from country to country without staying in any place for more than a couple of months.

    It pays to check the legal requirements of the new country of residence, to avoid taking out a private policy and then being fined and back-charged for missing local coverage.