Houston is considered to be a national leader in health care services with the world-class Texas Medical Center providing dozens of hospitals and some of the most cutting-edge research. Not only is the health care provided within the U.S. considered to be among the best in the entire world, but Houston with the Texas Medical Center is considered to be one of the very best in the country. With several medical schools in the city and top-notch hospitals such as St. Lukes, Memorial Herman, MD Anderson located here, many of the nation’s best physicians and surgeons practice medicine in Houston. As a result, many international medical students come here for studies, and individuals seeking the best health care possible come here from around the nation and from around the world for treatment options. All medical facilities are available in Houston, such as general care, dentistry, and optical/vision care, from the individual practitioner to clinics. Emergencies are responded to quickly and with competent staff on the ambulance. In some severe cases, a life flight helicopter may also be called in by the personnel. Overall, a new ex-pat will not be missing any comfort and competency in Houston.
For the U.S. and in particular Houston, a modern and healthy city, there are no particular vaccinations that a visitor must have before relocating here. General vaccinations, however, are strongly recommended against common human diseases.
The U.S. does not have a federal health care insurance system except for older residents or residents under social care. Health care insurance is generally provided through the employer at a lower cost to the employee but can also be privately obtained at a high cost. The new U.S. reform mandates that everyone will need to be insured by 2014. Until then, if no health insurance is provided, the individual can go uninsured and pay hospitals and doctors directly through a bill.
Expats should definitely use the health care program offered through their employer. Independent health insurance comes with a high monthly cost, depending on age and previous illnesses or predetermined risks through family history. Expats who have an option to keep their health insurance in their home country often prefer that option; especially, if they plan on returning home at some time in the future and the health insurance pays for treatment in a foreign country. Make sure to check with all provisions of such insurance and what limits to treatment are given.