For the past two years, I have spent many hours online shopping for health insurance plans for the big Fledgling Flâneurs lifestyle launch. As you may recall, Steve and I are late-stage Boomers, so we are too young for Medicare, which doesn’t cover you outside the U.S. anyway, and too old not to have racked up some clicks on the old odometers.* In other words, we have some pre-existing medical conditions, and boy howdy, does that take all the fun out of the aforementioned online shopping.

Like many early retirees in the U.S., we have been signing up for Obamacare plans during each open enrollment period with a smug sense of entitlement, because the tightwad health insurance companies on the exchanges have to issue them without regard to pre-existing conditions. When it comes to international plans, this is not the case. The insurance companies can and do utilize medical underwriting, which is a fancy way of saying, “If you have ever had a medical problem, don’t even think about getting coverage for it.”

As a former corporate and securities lawyer, I know a little something about assessing risk. For example, I have conducted many due diligence reviews of companies that wanted to sell securities or get acquired by my client. It’s a detailed tire-kicking process that is dreadfully dull and can drag on for weeks or months if you do it right. Comparatively speaking, these medical underwriters are major slackers. About five seconds after you tell the insurance company all of your most embarrassing medical secrets, they inform you that none of that stuff will be covered. Well, OK, that’s not entirely fair. If you actually die overseas from your non-covered pre-existing medical condition, they will fly your dead ass home under their “repatriation of remains” benefit. Still, short of actual death, you are on your own.

I just bought a policy from Cigna.

*If you don’t get this reference, I urge you to watch the film, “Best in Show,” at your earliest convenience.