USA: The High Costs of Returning Home

Without insurance, both health and car, entering the US short- or long-term could spell financial suicide.

Count yourself lucky if your school provides health insurance that includes the United States. For those of us WITHOUT such broad coverage, even a short visit home could spell financial disaster if medical attention becomes necessary.

On the bright side, short-term policies are available at what could be argued ‘reasonable prices.’ Don’t be surprised, however, if you don’t qualify for the lowest premiums. Insurance companies set prices based on the odds of whether or not they’ll have to pay claims. Because you’ve been out of the country, there’s no paper trail to attest to your current state of health. Nothing personal. it’s just that you’re a bigger gamble so you’ll pay more.

Short-term policies do have a big disadvantage: They expire every six months. Should a health issue occur during any 6-month period, that issue is eligible to be classified as ‘pre-existing’ and not covered in an ensuing 6-month policy. For educators planning to stay a while, a short-term policy may not be the best choice.

A COBRA policy may be what you need if planning a long-term stay, such as moving back permanently. Named such, no doubt for its stinging high price, a COBRA policy lets you extend an expiring policy for a set period of time. Be aware: Insurance companies know you will no longer be overseas where medical costs are reasonable, but rather in the US where prices are often 10 times that of many other countries. The monthly premium will reflect this. Ouch!! A COBRA policy can be useful until you find a suitable long-term policy.

Not to rub salt into the wound, but you’re also going to need transportation. America is not known for its transit systems. You could risk it and drive without car insurance, but if you end up in an accident of your making and someone is hurt, an ambulance chaser will litigate you into financial ruin. If you’re an American returning from overseas and cancelled an existing policy some years ago, you’ll be placed in the “lapse in coverage” category. For all the insurer knows, you’ve been driving without insurance. You’re high risk now and the price reflects it.

Leaving the United States is easy. Coming back in is a different story. Factor two kids and a spouse into the equation and …. well, you see the problem! ISR asks: What has your experience been with visiting the US or moving home in terms of insurance? What advice would you give newbies?

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11 thoughts on “USA: The High Costs of Returning Home

  1. Returning to the UK has similar problems, it’s not just America where your insurance is higher, healthcare unavailable etc.

    Fascinating that it is seen as only an American problem.

    Try putting your child into university in the UK if they haven’t lived there for at least 3 years before, or insure a car or go and use the free NHS legally, yes legally, not just walking in and pretending that you have been resident all your life.

    Banks won’t open accounts because you don’t have utilities, bills as proof landlords won’t rent to you as you have no references, it goes on and on.


  2. To mitigate the auto insurance issue of being uninsured or lapsed, I remain on a policy with a family member in the states as one of the primary drivers and maintain my driver’s Lisc. The good news is I can easily get auto insurance when I return home and purchase a vehicle.


  3. It’s not that you guys don’t exist, it’s simply that we outnumber all of you put together by over 100%. The webmasters will focus on generating the most traffic, by appealing to the largest demographic. Marketing 101.


  4. I’m not quite sure why this is a thing people are concerned about. If you’ve been teaching in China or the Middle East for an extended period of time, by rights you should have piles of cash saved. I came back to the the US in 2019 with close to $50,000 saved after a 5 year stay in Qingdao. Buying a six month car insurance policy or a bit of travelers insurance was the least of my concerns.


  5. My husband and I also moved back last June. We were able to get free Obamacare for the first 6 months because we were not working this year and therefore only had 6 months income. If we had been willing to change to the next lower level for insurance, we could have stayed with the free policy, but because we chose to stick with what we had it went up to $45 per month for really excellent coverage.
    We bought a new car to use this year and used cars are crazy right now, but the insurance did not seem unreasonable. We have not had insurance for the last 5 years while we were in Ukraine, but there was not penalty.
    We are headed back overseas in August, but the insurance issue was not so bad for us.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. The car insurance part is interesting.

    A company coulf assume uve been driving if there’s no car registered to your name.

    1. A trick, let a family member or trusted person use your car . Transfer ecrytging to them abd let them assume payments with the agreement ull get it back upon return etc.

    2. If keeping a car registered in your name while gone, then yes you need to pay insurance on it, just like you would a house. To avoid issues. But its significantly less if you inform the company it will be out if use due to moving. and many companies select specific garages for you to hold it at.

    3. Sell it and be done. If sold and no cats in your name, you have 0 issue.

    But yes, America is the land of paper trails and needing evidence lol.

    More often than not , since living abroad, I’ve learned the benefit of that..
    Annoying at times yes, but it can help the customer hold a company accountable as well.


  7. I’m moving back this year, as crazy as it seems. Not permanently, but it will be at least a year, possibly two. And at this point, I don’t know what freaks me out more: the amount of money I’m going to lose resettling, or the possibility of being shot.


    1. It is unsettling. The 27 school shootings (among a string of other places) and just the overall gun violence in the inner city (e.g. Chicago), racist man shooting at tops, racist man shooting in the subway, and on and on. It is not regulated to one race/skin color, but a little research shows an issue across America..


  8. Life in the US is hell of you’ve been overseas in a civilized country for an extended period of time. Rising out of control costs, school shootings, etc. etc. etc. There’s insurance for your insurance here. It’s a nightmare. Stay where you are.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. We moved back last summer. We got Obamacare until we got new jobs. Since we didn’t pay U.S.taxes the previous year, this was cheapish. We had to buy two cars. Rent is crazy expensive. You will need a very good amount of liquid cash and support from people in the city you are moving to. It was challenging and expensive so you need to have a solid plan especially if you have dependents. Budget then add 20 percent. Good luck.

    Liked by 2 people

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