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Social Security and Medicare for Expatriates: What You Must Know

Social Security and Medicare together make up a huge financial asset for American retirees. But if you decide to live abroad as an expatriate, will those programs still be there for you?

In the following video, Dan Caplinger, The Motley Fool's director of investment planning, looks at how Social Security and Medicare work for those living abroad. Dan notes that Social Security benefits are generally available to all U.S. citizens wherever they live, with the only exceptions being places like North Korea, where sanctions prevent money transfers. Medicare, though, doesn't generally provide coverage outside the U.S., with only limited exceptions in cases where a foreign hospital is actually closer than a comparable facility within U.S. borders. Dan points out, though, that with medical costs much lower in certain countries, it can end up being cheaper for many expatriates to go without Medicare coverage.

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Read/Post Comments (3) | Recommend This Article (4)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On March 15, 2014, at 1:53 AM, bsteaves wrote:

    Hi Dan,

    What about Pres. Obama has now taken away the web sites for social security and medicare. You need a good VPN of US IP number to get into the site.

    The IRS web site works fine for all foreign IP numbers. Not fair?

    Bob

  • Report this Comment On March 15, 2014, at 1:41 PM, TurboT wrote:

    "What about Pres. Obama has now taken away the web sites for social security and medicare." Glad to know that ----- I just logged off of each --- I musta been dreaming.

    TurboT

  • Report this Comment On March 16, 2014, at 10:56 AM, fedupexpat wrote:

    This amazes me. The IRS forcing us American expats to pay taxes to the US government, though if we continually live overseas we cannot collect medicare payments even after having paid into the system for years. Dan unfortunately you forgot the effects of FATCA in your analysis. The fact that many expats, including myself who live and work outside the US and have a mediocre job and paying taxes in two countries, may end up leaving back for the US or renouncing my citizenship due to FATCA. I would venture to say many overseasamericans, who bring many benefits to the US will either renounce, close their companies and return to the US or find aslyum somewhere else. FATCA is going to destory the US.

    I find it ironic that we expats have to pay into a system that we can never get anything out of. The US needs to work towards a residency based taxation system and of course repeal FATCA!

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Dan Caplinger
TMFGalagan

Dan Caplinger has been a contract writer for the Motley Fool since 2006. As the Fool's Director of Investment Planning, Dan oversees much of the personal-finance and investment-planning content published daily on Fool.com. With a background as an estate-planning attorney and independent financial consultant, Dan's articles are based on more than 20 years of experience from all angles of the financial world.

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