Americans Helping Americans Abroad

Featured Articles

  • Midterm 2022

    Exercise Your Right to Vote!

    The Association of Americans Resident Overseas (AARO) is organizing two voter registration/ballot request sessions at Reid Hall:

    Saturday, October 1, 2022, from 13:00 to 16:00
    Saturday, October 15, 2022, from 13:00 to 16:00

  • The Windfall Elimination Provision

    The Windfall Elimination Provision

    Over the past several years, Congress has introduced several bills to reform or repeal the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP). One of them, the Social Security Fairness Act, H.R. 82, now has 295 co-sponsors (207 Democrats and 88 Republicans) and moves will likely be made this fall to bring it to the House floor for a vote.

  • Enhancing American Expats’ Access to Savings Vehicles and Retirement Plans

    The SECURE Act 2.0 (“Securing a Strong Retirement Act of 2022”) aims to expand coverage of employer-sponsored plans and increase retirement savings, as well as simplifying and clarifying rules. With suitable modification it offers an attractive vehicle for addressing one of the most severe problems facing expats: access to savings vehicles and retirement plans.

    Read More
  • Comment on the Senate Finance Committee’s “International Tax Reform Framework Discussion Draft”

    In April, AARO made a submission to the Senate Finance Committee relating to its hearing of March 25 on U.S. International Tax Policy. The Committee is advanced in following up with proposed legislation.

    Read More
  • It's So Difficult to Save for Retirement

    AARO Advocacy Survey

    AARO conducted a survey in October/November 2020 to aid us in our advocacy efforts. The results of the survey have been very informative and give us fuller insights into your issues.

    The eleventh, and final, article, “My Social Security Was Reduced! It’s called WEP.” has been posted.

  • A sampling of the words survey participants used in describing their experiences with the extraterritorial application of U.S. taxation and banking polices.

    SEAT Publishes Survey Report

    From late October until mid-December 2020, Stop Extraterritorial American Taxation (SEAT) carried out a study to better understand the effects of the extraterritorial application of U.S. taxation and banking policies on persons living overseas.

  • End CBT! New Talking Points Document

    AARO has prepared a set of talking points to support ongoing discussions to end the citizen-based taxation system in the U.S. and move to an alternate method. Links to supporting documentation are included with the talking points.

  • New Taxpayer Advocate Recommendations

    The National Taxpayer Advocate has released its annual report to Congress proposing legislative recommendations to resolve taxpayer problems.

    Read More
  • hands on laptop

    Online Social Security Account

    The Social Security Administration (SSA) provides online accounts for people to access their account information, but overseas Americans have been unable set up these accounts from outside the U.S. There may be a way for you to do this.


Susie Bondi, Vienna, Austria
September 2009

For us, health care was a big consideration when we were deciding where we would retire. Quality of health care was an issue of course, but so was coverage. We chose Vienna, Austria. Although Austria is listed only as 9th best by the World Health Organization, it was far above the U.S.A. listed only as 37th. Vienna, however, was listed as 1st in quality of living by Mercer Consultants, so we thought we would give it a try. We were not disappointed!

In Austria you can be either 100% covered by the public program or 100% private pay, however you can also get supplementary private insurance for “comfort class” hospitalization which includes flexible visiting hours, private room and your private doctor. Everyone who pays taxes in Austria is financially supporting the public system, whether they participate in the public system or pay for private insurance.

Doctors have choices – they can be private, public or both. Doctors want to be part of the public system. There is currently a waiting list for doctors who wish to become part of the public system.

We are covered 100% by the public program. Outside of an occasional 4.50 € we pay for a prescription, we have very few out of pocket expenses.

When you’re 86 years young, experience with the health care system is not unusual, and we are experienced. Last winter Fred fell and broke his nose. The services we received were as follows: the ambulance to the emergency room, the emergency room doctor, the MRI, the CAT scan, the night in the hospital (to make sure there was no internal bleeding) and 2 square meals in the cleanest hospital I have ever seen with the most pleasant, helpful nurses I have ever experienced. The total amount that was not covered by our public health insurance. . . 36 €, which was then covered by our AARO insurance! I was impressed. Fred’s cataract surgery when about the same way – I’m still impressed.

Here is how it works. Each covered individual has a plastic card with a computer chip. The chip has all necessary health care information. You choose your general doctor, then he or she co-ordinates your general care. This includes visits to specialists when needed through the use of an “überweisung” – or transfer form. When you arrive at your doctor’s office, the receptionist will swipe your card, and then you see your doctor.

The down side to the public program is waiting. Private patients make appointments, and they are respected. Public patients make appointments too (or not), but there can be a wait. When you have a little experience you learn certain tricks, like coming early or making appointments on Wednesdays!

Theoretically one should be able to move from one EU country to another while maintaining health insurance. In practice, there are glitches. Misdirection, ignorance and misinformation on the part of our “home” country, France, were very frustrating for us. We finally gave up. Since Fred was a “victim of Nazism”, he was quickly and easily granted admittance into the “Wiener Gebietskrankenkasse”, the Austrian public health insurance system. As his wife, I too was accepted.

The feeling we get from our Austrian medical care is that despite the program being designed for the general public, we are important. Our health and well-being is a concern to our care givers. We are not ignored; we are not made to wait for important, expensive tests. We are treated with kindness and respect. I only wish that the same standards of care and caring were available elsewhere.


A Native New Yorker THRIVES as an Expat in Paris, Pam Combastet

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Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)

 Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)AARO urges all Americans overseas who have not already done so to create an account and enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) in order to receive updated travel and other security information, particularly during the COVID-19 crisis. AARO's understanding is that the information contained in the enrollment is NOT shared with the IRS or other USG agencies.

Enroll here:

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In addition to its core activity of advocacy on behalf of the almost 9 million Americans living and working abroad, AARO offers benefits to members that can make their life abroad easier and more interesting!