Health Insurance in Guatemala: Expat / Digital Nomad's guide

My husband I are going to try the digital nomad thing soon, and there is so much to plan! I decided I'd better start sharing so that I can help some other people connect the dots, I know I'm not the only one planning to spend some time in Guatemala working online, exploring, and volunteering.

One of the biggest challenges has been determining what to do about health insurance. A lot of the information I found online was outdated, pre Obamacare (Affordable Care Act), or just plain wrong.

Here is what I've found so far. I'll continue to add to this post if I find some new information and I'll make corrections as I go also!

Here's what you should know:

  1. If you're outside the US for 330 calendar days or have residency elsewhere you don't need to follow the Affordable Care Act, you're considered exempt and you have to fill out Form 8965 which is pretty easy. That form was from 2015 for reference, so make sure you have the 2016 one.
  2. If you're not exempt, the penalty for not having US health insurance in the States is $95 per adult per year
  3. You are allowed a short gap in coverage every year—penalty free (less than 3 months each year)
  4. Returning to the U.S. from another country is considered a “qualifying event,” which allows you a 60 day grace period
  5. Getting local Guatemala health insurance is not highly valued among the Guatemala expats, one man said his health insurance is "United Air" (ie fly back to the states for any major medical thing) but a couple were mentioned as options that I'll list here:
  6. You must have a US address to get Obamacare, so it's a catch-22. 
  7. I have a US address where all my mail is scanned to me and checks are deposited for one monthly fee. If you purchase through my link, you help support my writing and may receive a discount. Check it out: https://travelingmailbox.com/?ref=106
Most of my info is coming from this article http://blogs.wsj.com/expat/2015/08/16/5-things-expats-need-to-know-about-obamacare/ as well as conversations in a private group on Facebook

Let me know if you want to know more, if this helped you, and if you have any questions!

Content by Laura Gabriele