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Expatriate Health Insurance News: Expats could face being turned away without medical insurance

Not having adequate health insurance could leave you at risk of being turned away from the arrivals gate of whatever country you happen to be visiting, experts have warned

According to an article in the Daily Telegraph, expats living in Spain or France, who are under the age of retirement and are not registered as working, must  hold appropriate health insurance.

Matthew Aston, head of marketing at AxaPPP, told the newspaper: "Many people leaving the UK don't seem to realise that comprehensive medical insurance, in most cases, is a necessity, not a luxury."

The reason is mainly due to the fact that medical treatment on the continent can often be extremely high, and experts have warned expats to not only ensure that they are covered, but that their friends and family are too when they come over to visit.

A recent survey suggested that nearly half of British citizens believe that the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) entitles them to free medical treatment anywhere in Europe.

This has led to many visitors to come to the conclusion because they are in possession of an EHIC, there is no point in purchasing health insurance, with one-in-ten believing that it gives them the right to medical repatriation.

Thankfully, only three per cent of those surveyed  have tried to use an EHIC in a hospital or clinic, only to have it rejected.

Regulations can be all the more confusing when considering some of the most popular expat locations outside of Europe.

In Abu Dhabi for example, it is of paramount importance that visitors hold a comprehensive plan from a licensed provider, leading to some cases of expats and tourists being turned away and placed on the next return flight home.

Yet confusion understandably arises when attention turns to other emirates, as the enforcement of such laws can vary. For instance, Dubai recently dropped its plans to follow Abu Dhabi's lead in 2008 due to the economic crisis.

Mr Aston added: "If moving to Australia or the UAE, expats will need evidence they have appropriate medical cover in order to satisfy very strict visa requirements. Otherwise, being turned away at your destination airport could indeed be a reality."

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