Will I get health insurance when teaching English abroad?

Having adequate health insurance is clearly an important issue wherever you are living and working around the world. Whether health insurance is covered by your employer or not is something that varies from one situation to the next so it is important to confirm this whenever you are interviewed for a teaching position. Here we take a brief look at health insurance within the ESL teaching world.

Will I get health insurance when teaching English in Asia?

In most of the big ESL job markets across Asia such as China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Indonesia and Vietnam, health insurance is typically included in a teaching contract. In most cases the cost will be fully covered by the employer, although a small sum might be deducted from your salary in certain situations. In other less developed markets, health insurance is less likely to be provided but this will depend on the employer and the quality of the position.

Will I get health insurance when teaching English in Europe?

If you are an EU citizen you should have access to the local health care system when working in another EU country. If you are a non-EU citizen and have a work permit for an EU country you should also be eligible for health care services, although this normally requires a monthly deduction from your salary. Teachers who are placed in teaching jobs via government run teaching assistant programs such as those in France and Spain should have full health cover included in their benefit package. However, work permits are quite hard to come by for non-EU citizens in many European countries, so many people end up working 'under the table', which means you will be responsible for your own health insurance. If you plan on heading to Europe on a student or working holiday visa you will also need to have proof of adequate health insurance coverage when making your application.

Will I get health insurance when teaching English in the Middle East?

Across the Middle East it is common practice for schools and language centers to include health insurance in the benefit package offered with the teaching contract. This applies to all the main ESL markets in the region, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait.

Will I get health insurance when teaching English in Latin America?

Across South and Central America, it is generally difficult for foreign teachers to get their hands on an official work permit. Because of this, the majority of teachers working in this region are responsible for their own health insurance cover. There are a few exceptions such as Chile and Mexico where official work visas and legally binding contracts are relatively common.

How do I purchase health insurance for teaching English abroad?

A simple online search will reveal plenty of health insurance providers so you will need to do a bit of research to ensure you get the right cover and the best value for money. One important thing to remember is that you need long term international insurance which is generally much cheaper than short term holiday insurance or domestic health insurance policies. Although fees vary considerably, you should budget for around $50 US dollars per month for a good policy, although it might be possible to find cheaper options if you do some in-depth research. Those that do have health cover included in their contract might also need to purchase an additional policy if they plan on traveling outside of the country where they are working as this may not be covered.

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