How to find a doctor while living abroad

Before moving or traveling overseas, it is important to get to know more about the health services at your destination country. This especially important for people with chronic medical conditions or people who will stay in a foreign country for a long period of time. In this article, we will discuss how to find a doctor while living abroad and tips to prepare for medical care before and after departure.

Ways to Find Medical Facilities Abroad

Research Hospitals: We recommend that expats and travellers research destination country’s medical information and hospitals online and contact them if you require medical attention during your stay. Especially for expats who have pre-existing medical conditions such as heart disease, arthritis, HIV, diabetes and depression. When living abroad, most expats will want to use private hospitals and clinics, especially in countries where local government medical systems are underdeveloped or not available for expatriates. Expats also prefer private medical facilities because of their excellent treatment and high level of medical service. Compared to public hospitals’ long queues and waits, many private hospitals not only have English speaking staff and well-trained doctors, but also the flexibility treatment bookings to suit expats’ schedules. It should also be noted that most private medical facilities provide better accommodations and services for expatriates.

The cost of private medical treatment can vary significantly between country to country. In many nations, uninsured medical costs can cause a financial burden to many foreign patients. Therefore, it is vital for expats obtain an international health insurance plan that can cover both emergency and non-urgent medical costs.

Researching Doctors While Living Abroad: In addition to hospital search, it is suggested that expats research doctors online in their destination country as well. Please keep in mind that you will want to select doctors who can speak your language. Many embassy sites in your destination country will provide doctor services information. For example, many US embassy web sites in foreign countries will have a list of international physicians and doctors. It is also recommended that expat patients with medical needs should contact their embassy before they go abroad.

Aside from a web search, another great source for expatriates living abroad is to check with their international health insurance provider’s web site as it will often provide a list of medical doctors and hospitals that are in the insurer’s medical network. This may even allow for direct reimbursement of the costs without the expat having to pay out of pocket for medical claims. It is vital that expatriates and expat employers obtain medical coverage with an expat insurance company that has a large medical network that will provide fast and efficient payment of claims while living abroad.

How to Prepare in Advance

In case of medical emergency, some healthcare facilities may be unsatisfactory in underdeveloped countries or for expats working and living in rural areas. Expats and visitors can follow these simple points to make sure you and your family members are properly prepared while living abroad:

  • Bring any medications you may need while living abroad and make sure the bottles are properly labeled.
  • Always consult a doctor if you need to find a replacement medicine or prescription in your destination country.
  • Carry your global health insurance card with you, as well as your international health insurance company contacts and policy number.
  • Check if the local doctor can write and speak English or your native language.
  • A written document that identifies your blood type, any chronic illness and allergies in local language. This really helps in case of medical emergency.
  • Make sure your international health insurance plan has medial emergency evacuation coverage.
  • Wear your medical information bracelet if you have an underlying medical condition
  • Embassy contact information for your destination country.

Obtain International Health Insurance Before Departure

The cost of preventive healthcare at many private medical facilities is expensive, especially in more developed countries. Local healthcare packages for expats may include some very basic medical coverage, but those plans usually do not cover preventive healthcare expenses or give you access to advanced private care. With a tailored international health insurance from a company such as Cigna, expats can be covered internationally – including medical emergency evacuation and repatriation, preventive healthcare expenses, hospitalization and treatments and medicines. The peace of mind of knowing that you and your family access to the best healthcare is very important for individual expatriates and their employers. 

If you have questions about our international medical insurance plans or you want to discuss your needs and produce a customized quote, please contact us or complete the quote form

 

 

 

Hong Kong International Health Insurance Options

International health insurance in Hong Kong is very important to consider when moving to this city, which is one of the world’s most successful financial centers and offers an exiting array of culture and excitement for expatriates in this vibrant Asian city. In this article, we will discuss how Hong Kong international health insurance is vital for locals, travelers and expatriates in one of the most  prosperous international business areas in AsiaHong Kong is within a few hours’ flight from all major cities such as Beijing, Tokyo, Seoul and Singapore in Southeast Asia. Hong Kong has advanced medical care system, education, international cuisine and active lifestyle  that helps attract many expatriates of different countries from all over the world each year. When in Hong Kong it is important to keep healthy and active, so we will introduce the healthcare system in Hong Kong and health insurance options for locals, travelers and expats.

Healthcare in Hong Kong

Public System: The standard of healthcare in Hong Kong is generally considered as one of the best health systems in Asia. Most healthcare is government operated and managed by HK Health Authority. There are approximately 56 hospitals in Hong Kong, of which 12 are private and 44 are public. Public hospitals are equipped with advanced facilities and well-trained medical staff, while the cost to Hong Kong ID card holders are minimal and affordable. For the most part, the public system is more geared to emergency care, not preventive healthcare. There is also usually less choice, especially with regard to doctors. The one thing the public system does not provide is dental care. Therefore, expatriates seeking dental treatment must take out international health insurance plan to cover the medical cost.

Private System:  Private hospitals are often chosen by Hong Kong nationals and expatriates because of their high level of service and excellent treatment, without long waits and queues. Private facilities in the city will also provide flexible surgery bookings to suit expats’ s schedules along with more deluxe accomodations and services. You may have to pay more when a surgery is performed outside regular hours. However, the cost of using private medical facilities can be quite high. It is important that expats moving to Hong Kong should obtain international health insurance coverage before departure. Many expats in Hong Kong will add optional dental care for their family.

expat healthcare if critical

Health Cover for Visiting Hong Kong as a Traveler

A visa for Hong Kong is not required for tourists from more than 160 countries within staying from 7 to 180 days. Medical payments are usually using cash in public hospitals. As travelers don’t have Hong Kong ID card, they will need to pay private hospital rates when using public hospitals. For example, the cost for an emergency visit at public hospitals can be HK$120 with ID card, but could be HK$600 as a traveler without one. Many travelers tend to use private healthcare facilities for treatment under emergency situations. It is important to obtain emergency travel medical insurance with medical evacuation coverage if traveling to Hong Kong from another country that will provide payment for medical treatment via a large network of hospitals.

Global Health Insurance for People Living and Working in Hong Kong 

As a well established international financial center, many expatriates working in trade and finance related professions in Hong Kong. Some expat employers may provide health plan with basic coverage, but it probably won’t provide much coverage beyond HK or Asia. However, this is often inadequate when apply to private medical facilities. Additional private medical insurance plan is required to cover your stay. Many expats should also obtain global life and disability insurance coverage. Our most popular global medical plan for Hong Kong is the Cigna Global Health Options plan and it can be offered to both expatriates and local Hong Kong nationals. It offers coverage from a very large, secure and respected global insurance company with many hundreds of thousands of expatriates coverage around the world. You can choose in-patient only or add out-patient medical coverage to include items such as check-ups and tests done outside a hospital setting. 

International Health Insurance Solutions in Hong Kong 

Expat Financial offers several international health insurance plans for expatriates and even local nationals living and working in Hong Kong. We offer plans from several different international health insurance companies that are designed for foreign nationals living outside the country for which they hold a passport or some local national living outside US or Canada. We also offer excellent service before and after you purchase your international health insurance plan. If you have questions about our international medical insurance plans or you want to discuss your needs and produce a customized quote, please contact us or complete the quote form.

Road accidents in Thailand are a big risk for expats

Thailand is bustling and vibrant country at the heart of South-East Asia. There are many beautiful beaches and historic temples in Thailand. As a popular expat destination, Thailand has much to offer anyone when on the beach or traveling the country on many roads and highways. However, according to a recent article in the BBC news, 478 people lost their lives on the roads in just seven days over the New Year period in 2017. Unfortunately, like many developing countries, road accidents in Thailand are a big risk for expats. In this article, we will briefly review the high incidence of road accidents in Thailand, road safety tips for expats and how this higher risk highlights the importance of having global medical insurance in Thailand.

Road Accidents in Thailand 

According to a 2015 World Health Organization report, Thailand’s road death rate is one of the highest in the world. In fact, on Jan.2, 2017, a public van lost control and collided on a highway and 25 people were killed in the crash, as reported by many news organizations. Between December 29 and Jan. 3, 478 people died in 3,327 accidents according to by the Department of Land Transport. It has also been reported that road accidents involving tourists and expatriates in Thailand are quite common. In fact, the World Health Organization reports that there were 36 road related traffic deaths a year per 100,000 people in 2015. The British foreign office in 2013 even launched a road safety campaign to cut the number of UK expats injured and killed while living abroad, especially in countries such as Thailand.

As reported by the Vancouver Province, in January 2017, two Canadian women traveling in Thailand were involved in a car accident in Thailand. One died and the other suffered severe injuries and did not have any travel medical insurance. She is now faced with large medical bills.

One of the main reasons of road accidents in Thailand is speeding. However, other factors such as the rise of population, congestion in urban centers and highways, too many cars and vehicles in cities, etc. are all causes of road death. Luckily, the Thai government is implementing new road and safety projects and high-rise roads to improve the traffic conditions. In Thailand, many of the deaths and injuries involve scooters and motorcycles.

expat healthcare if critical

How to Increase Road Safety as an Expat in Thailand 

As a popular international destination, there are many expats choose to work and retire in Thailand. Just because there are more frequent road accidents doesn’t mean you should not enjoy life in Thailand. Here are some common sense road safely tips for expatriates in Thailand:

  • If you want to drive in Thailand, it is advised that always follow the legal speed limit.
  • Keep a certain distance with motorcycles – their speed is faster than you think.
  • When crossing road intersections, don’t rush to pass.
  • If you need to ride a motorbike or bicycle, wearing helmet is mandatory, but not usually enforced. However, it is well recommended as motorcycle accidents make up 70% of all road accidents in Thailand.
  • Expats living in Thailand should take extra care when walking in the city.
  • Your risks of a road accident increase when you ride or travel at night, so try to use the roads during the day.
  • Avoid riding quad bikes as they can be dangerous and illegal.
  • Check out the UK Foreign Office web site for Road Safety Overseas.
  • Before you enter Thailand and travel the roads, make sure you are covered for international health insurance. Make sure your health plan covers you if you are riding a motorcycle.

Railay beach, Krabi. Thailand

Medical Facilities in Thailand 

In major cities such as Bangkok of Thailand, the standard of medical facilities is generally quite good. Both public and private hospitals are available in Thailand. The public hospitals have good standard of medical care and used by the majority of Thai nationals. However, expats will want to skip the long queue of public hospitals and use private medical facilities with English speaking medical staff. If you are traveling the roads in more rural areas, the medical care you receive in the event of a road or pedestrian accident may be substandard. According to the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, many private hospitals in Thailand are equivalent to western standards. Although the cost of medical treatment is reasonable in Thailand, expats should obtain international health insurance with medical emergency coverage before departure in the case of emergencies.

Obtain International Health Insurance in Thailand 

As one of the most visited country in Southeast Asia, Thailand is popular destination for expat worldwide. In 2016, a man from BC was visiting Thailand and while traveling by scooter he was run over by a large truck. Barely clinging to life with severe injuries, he barely survived. The Canadian did not have adequate medical coverage and his hospital bills quickly ran up to over $170,000 USD. This is an unfortunate reminder of the importance of international health insurance for expats living in Thailand.

If you are planning to work, live and retire in Thailand, most expatriates will want to obtain an international health insurance plan that will cover medical treatment in Thailand, but also globally. A good plan should not only cover accidents, but also illnesses. Expatriates in Thailand should make sure that their plan includes medical evacuation and repatriation coverageExpat Financial can source international health insurance for expatriates in Thailand from large and respected international insurance companies. If you are traveling the roads and highways in Thailand, contact us today for a quote and to discuss your Thailand expatriate insurance requirements.

Covering the chronic medical conditions of expat employees

Why should expat employers have a global benefit plan that covers chronic medical conditions? In today’s globalized economy, more and more companies are sending employees overseas to help their companies expand their markets. This includes companies involved in mining, engineering, manufacturing, oil & gas, legal and much more.  These expatriates are a vital asset for multinationals and organizations who want to retain and attract global talent. These expats are a key part of any multinational’s global success. However, many of these expat employees or their dependents may suffer from unseen medical conditions, otherwise known as chronic medical conditions. These “hidden diseases”, otherwise known as chronic conditions, are not something that companies can ask their current or future employees about.

There are many chronic diseases and conditions that an expat employee or his or her dependents may suffer from. A chronic condition is defined as being a disease which last three months or more and can’t be prevented or cured by medication. It has been reported that 88% of Americans over age 65 suffer from a chronic condition and the rates of such conditions increase with age. The rates for expats abroad under age 65 must also be quite high as well. Unfortunately, tobacco, alcohol and poor eating habits can increase your risk of developing a chronic condition. Sometimes its related to genetics or just bad luck. As an expat employer, you often can’t screen out employees with chronic conditions for a variety of reasons, such as legal restrictions. It is key that you get the best global talent possible and our firm have heard of expats who refuse expat postings because their employer doesn’t have a benefit plan that will cover their chronic condition or their dependent’s pre-existing medical condition.

Five well-known chronic conditions are heart disease, arthritis, HIV, diabetes, or depression have minimal symptoms at the very beginning. Below are a list of five significant chronic conditions that expat employers should consider when setting up a global medical plan:

Heart Disease: Otherwise known as cardiovascular disease, is a term describing diseases including the heart and blood vessels, whether the blood vessels are affecting other parts of the body. In many countries, heart disease is the leading cause of death in adults. Heart problems can cause a variety of symptoms such as chest pain, fast and pounding heartbeat and irregular heartbeats, or even shortness of breath. If diagnosed early, heart problems can be managed in many ways. Expats should take diagnostic tests regularly and discuss with doctor about the best treatment options. To prevent and control heart disease, expats should stay away from tobacco. Another good way to maintain healthy is regular exercises.

Arthritis: Is a chronic condition characterized by joint pain, stiffness and swelling. People of all ages can be affected. It has been reported that arthritis and related conditions are the leading cause of disability in the US, with nearly 43 million Americans affected. It has also been discovered by scientists that arthritis has a strong association with major depression, with an estimated risk of 18.1%. Physical activities have been shown to benefit people on preventing arthritis and related conditions.

Depression & Mental Illness: According to a recent research, in the UK, one in four people will suffer from a mental illness at some point in their lives. In the US, 18% of the population suffers from some form of anxiety or depression. Depression may not manifest itself until the stress of working overseas presents itself. These unseen mental conditions can go serious when they come to expat employees, whether they are on a short assignment or are a long-term expat. Unfortunately, many expat benefit plans we examine have mental illness exclusions or limitations.

Diabetes: According to the research of International SOS, failure to manage diabetes can cause a greater risk to an expat than an infectious disease. And The World Health Organization estimated that the number of adults with diabetes is expected to reach 592 million by 2035. Travelling across different time zones can complicate schedules for taking medications. When working and living overseas, expats also need to be careful not to run out of necessary medications. Expat employees should keep in mind that always consult a doctor before finding medication replacements. This can be very dangerous to your health.

expat healthcare if critical

HIV: Known as human immunodeficiency virus, this illness will weaken your body’s immune system and make you very sick. It has been reported by many sources that there are approximately 37 million people around the world who have the HIV virus. It has been widely acknowledged that there is no cure for HIV, but with proper medications and care, most people with HIV can avoid getting AIDS. While HIV used to be a death sentence, it is now seen as a chronic condition. Travelers and expats with HIV need to take proper medical plan when planning travel schedules. Most expat group insurance plans will exclude HIV, but we can source group plans that can fully cover this chronic condition.

The Dangers of Unseen Medical Conditions  

Due to the fact that healthcare providers vary dramatically between countries, expat employees living and working abroad with unseen medical conditions will rely upon medication within the country, and the duration of expat assignment. If expat employees are traveling in a location where the medical facilities are substandard, then the unseen illness can be seriously affected. An untreated chronic condition can quickly lead to a more serious medical claim and a failed expat assignment.

Some expat employers might be tempted to have the expatriate employees covered by a local or government group insurance plan. However, the local medical plan would usually only cover very basic medical conditions with long waiting lists. It is generally much better to have them covered under a global group benefit program with life, AD&D, disability, dental, evacuation and especially international health insurance coverage. A good global benefit plan should fully cover pre-existing medical conditions

How do Health Insurers Work with Chronic Conditions

Because many of your expatriate employees or their dependents may suffer from a chronic condition, it is important to have a plan that will cover pre-existing medical conditions coverage. All individual expat health insurance plans will either exclude a pre-existing medical condition, ask for additional premium or simply decline the application. For group plan, because the risk is spread among healthy and unhealthy people, they can often cover pre-existing medical conditions if the number of employees covered is large enough – usually 10 or 20 employees. We often run into clients who have placed their expats under a group plan that excludes chronic conditions, leaving both the employee and the employer at risk for a denied claim. However, we work global medical insurance companies who can provide full coverage for pre-existing medical conditions on the medical coverage for both the employees and dependents if the employer has more than 25 or 30 global employees – including both expats and local nationals.

international health insurance for chronic conditions

These excellent insurance plans can even provide full coverage for an expat group of only two or three expat employees. This is excellent for any expat employer as almost all employees or dependents, especially older ones, will have at least one pre-existing medical condition.

Obtain an Expat Group Insurance Plan that Covers Chronic Medical Conditions

Fortunately, Expat Financial can source international expat group insurance plans are available for companies with expatriates that can fully cover most, if not all chronic conditions. Some of the group expat plans we can source can even fully pre-existing medical conditions, which really is a must if you are an expatriate employer in today’s market looking for the best global talent. Expat Financial is able to offer flexible international expat group insurance plans in most parts of the globe:  Africa, Europe, Asia, Middle East, North America, South America, Caribbean, Oceania, Central America, and most major cities in the world. When your employees are sent overseas and experience a medical emergency that can’t be handled in the host country due to limitation of medical facilities and shortage of equipment or medications, it is very important to have an international health insurance plan that provides international emergency evacuation and repatriation coverage. A group plan will also offer international evacuation insurance plan that will enable urgent treatment abroad if required. All of these services are vital when you employ expats and their dependents who have these “hidden diseases.” 

As international insurance specialists, we can help you define your group’s international group insurance requirements in today’s global market. We have the experience, knowledge and global insurance contacts that expat employers require – only a specialist brokerage can adequately provide the independent advice, solutions and ongoing service and support to clients around much of the world.

For more information, contact Expat Financial today.

Expats in Africa – Important tips for living in Africa

Africa Introduction

Africa has become a very active continent for expatriates from around the world. Followed by Asia, Africa has the world’s second largest continent with about 30.3 million km including several surrounding islands. The continent of Africa has 54 independent countries, with an estimated total population of 1.1 billion. Surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, the Indian Ocean to the southeast, Africa hosts a large diversity of cultural traditions, natural beauty and languages. Africa can be divided into several general climate regions. Areas near the equator have a tropical rain forest climate, with high temperatures and seasonal heavy rain throughout the year. At the northern and southern parts of the continent are of subtropical climate. The number of expats in Africa is unclear, but it has been reported that there are an increasing number of Chinese expatriates in the continent due to the growing economic presence of Chinese companies in Africa. There is still a large presence of Western expats living and working in Africa.

Economy in Africa

Africa has abundant natural resources such as oil, gold and diamonds and many foreign mining companies are operating in various countries on the continent.  HR consultancy firm 24-7 has reported that after salaries for expats in Africa hit bottom in 2016, there will be new hiring in 2017 which should result in higher salaries for expatriates in the region. This is especially true in the mining sector, where Africa is believed to hold 90% of the world’s platinum and 50% of its gold. In the last ten years, Africa has an impressive 5% GDP growth. Expat Financial has several mining company clients in Africa employ large expatriate populations and require global benefit plans. Though prices for Africa’s commodities fell in 2015, decreased political instability guarantees the continued developments in Africa. The top three of largest economies in Africa are Nigeria, South Africa and Egypt. Oil and gas revenue have contributed significantly to the economy of many nations in Africa. Non-resource sectors in Africa are also making inroads, especially in the communications and banking sectors, which are also big expatriate employers.

Current Expat Working Environment in Africa

Expat assignments in Africa continue to focus on specialized industries such as oil, gold, diamonds and copper. According to a global survey, many expats working in Africa are making more than $250,000 annually. Based on InterNations‘ research, Nigeria has the highest number of high-earning expats. The overall labor environment has also been improving in recent years. Since 1994, some African governments started to take steps to secure and protect the rights of workers, and other labor friendly practices. However, government corruption at both local and national levels continues to be a major impediment to both the political and economic systems in many African countries. Political instability and civil strife in many nations in Africa is a constant concern for expatriates and their employers. It is important that companies employing expats obtain coverage that will cover war and terrorism risks.

Safety for Expats in Africa

It is widely known that many countries in Africa have serious safety concerns for expatriates and locals alike. Many countries in the continent have high crime rates and terrorism concerns, such as Nigeria, Chad and Zimbabwe. In fact, Kenya has experienced some horrific terrorist attacks in recent years, including the Westgate Mall attack in 2013. Other countries such as South Sudan are experiencing civil wars while DRC is in the midst of a political crisis that has lead to demonstrations and attacks. As an expatriate, you have to have a safety plan to avoid these civil disturbances and of course the usual crimes of opportunity such as muggings and pickpockets. Expats should remain vigilant and take steps to improve their safety, such as avoiding high crime areas at night, avoiding demonstrations and not wearing valuables or flashing cash. Probably the biggest concern for expats in Africa should be road accidents as local driving can be very dangerous on poorly run transportation systems. If you take adequate precautions and use your street smarts, you can enjoy residing in pretty much any African nation.

However, not all African countries are dangerous for expatriates. Many are quite safe for expatriates, including Morocco, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Botswana, Seychelles and Malawi. You don’t need to live in fear while residing in Africa. Be smart and take adequate precautions and enjoy the culture and local population who are keen to show you the wonders of Africa.

Health Risks in Africa for Expats

Though it has abundant natural resources, Africa remains the world’s most underdeveloped continent. Even though nations such as Nigeria, South Africa and Ghana are relatively wealthy, healthcare resources in cities and especially in remote areas can be very poor. Low standards of healthcare facilities and inadequate water sanitation have affected a large proportion of the African residents and are a concern for expats as well. The region’s health risks include malaria, dengue fever, ebola virus disease, tuberculosis and Hepatitis A and B. There also have been outbreaks of avian flu and Lassa virus, as well as HIV. Expats moving and traveling to Africa should carry water purification tablets, anti-diarrhea pills and alcohol based hand cleaning solutions along with updated vaccinations based on regional and country specific recommendations from the medical community.

International Health Insurance for Expats in Africa

It is critical that expats should include emergency medical evacuations in their international health insurance policy before moving to Africa. A typical international health insurance plan via Expat Financial will provide coverage options such as hospital coverageoutpatient treatment, medical emergency evacuation, routine health check-ups and dental & vision care.

Expats in Africa should also think about having adequate life cover, disability cover and accidental death coverage while residing in the continent. Expat health insurance premiums will vary depending on the coverage of the plan, your age, citizenship and several other factors.

Expat Financial  is extremely experienced in covering expatriate employees in Africa. We are able to source global benefit plans for groups of 2 or more expatriates in Africa and across most parts of the globe, If you have questions about our international medical insurance plans or you want to discuss your needs and produce a customized quote, please contact us or complete the quote form.

Obtain important information on the international insurance plans that are offered by Expat Financial to expatriates and some local nationals in the African region: expatfinancial.com/regions/africa/

expat healthcare if critical

Rapid growth in demand for private health insurance in China and its impact on expatriates

According to a recent Ernst & Young report, the market for private health insurance in China is increasing a rapid rate. Insurance premium revenue jumped from RMB 1.5 trillion in 2014 to RMB 2.4 trillion in 2015 and is projected to reach almost RMB 5 trillion in 2020. The increase in premiums must indicate that more and more people are seeking private health insurance to protect themselves from medical costs. Though the public healthcare system in China provides some basic coverage, it cannot meet the requirements of more affluent patients and especially most expatriates in China. In this article, we will discuss the rise of health and medical insurance in China and how it will impact expatriates and local nationals.

What Factors Drive Demand For Private Health Insurance In China?

The trend of a focus on well-being is increasing among the aging and wealthier Chinese population, according to the Ernst & Young report. It is widely known that the standard of public hospitals in China varies from city to city. Usually public hospitals in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou are better than those in municipal or rural areas – as you would expect. Therefore, most patients will prefer large reputable public hospitals in major cities if condition permits. With increased pressures, these larger public hospitals in major cities are becoming overcrowded with much longer waiting period and line-ups. This is causing difficulties for expatriates seeking medical care in some Chinese medical facilities.

We should also note that the medical costs can cause a financial burden to many Chinese and foreign patients. With a private expat health insurance plan, they can reimburse the prescription drug costs and supplement their public health insurance plans.

The increased focus on health issues, unsatisfactory public healthcare services,  increased medical expenditure, relaxed private health insurance regulation, etc are the factors that drive demand for private health insurance in China.

International Health Insurance For Expats Living And Working In China

Most expats living and working in China will prefer international health insurance over a local plan that is meant for local Chinese nationals. First of all, most foreigners are excluded from public heath insurance system. Second, even if you can access to local public health plan, you will still need to pay co-payments. The Chinese public health insurance system has little reimbursement for out-patient medical treatment fees. Thirdly, most expats staying in China prefer private hospital and clinics. These private medical facilities are equipped with foreign medical staff, English-speaking doctors and top standard of medical care. The decor of the private hospitals is also more welcoming for expats in China. Medical treatment at private medical facilities can cost much higher than at a public hospital in China. In fact, many insurers report that private hospitals are often more expensive than hospitals in the United States. With an international health insurance plan on hand, expats do not need to worry about the high medical expenditure and protect your financial security.

What Does International Health Insurance Cover? 

If you are living in China or planning to move there, an international health insurance plan can provide flexible and portable coverage along with world-wide service. It will not only let you select the hospital, but also medical providers and doctors. A typical international health insurance plan will provide coverage options such as hospital coverageoutpatient treatment, medical emergency evacuation, routine health check-ups, dental & vision care, life cover, disability cover and accidental death. Expat health insurance premiums will vary depending on the coverage of the plan, your age, citizenship and several other factors. Some plans may not cover pre-existing medical conditions or may be able to provide coverage for your previous medical condition depending on the medical underwriter’s decision.

Choose The Right International Health Insurance Broker for China

We are very experienced in covering expatriates in China. As an independent broker, we can be of assistance when it comes to choosing international health insurance in China. Expat Financial offers several different international health insurance plans for expatriates across most parts of the globe. We also offer excellent service before and after you purchase your international health insurance plan. If you have questions about our international medical insurance plans or you want to discuss your needs and produce a customized quote, please contact us or complete the quote form

Tips on becoming an expat entrepreneur

As an entrepreneur, can you imagine living abroad as an expat while running your business successfully? Starting a business is not easy, especially if you’re running one overseas. In this article, we will share a few tips on how to run a business while living as an expat before you decide to departure.

Know the local business environment

Most of the entrepreneurs are running a business with a local focus before traveling to a new country. Promoting your services or goods to local people can be difficult if you are unfamiliar with local business environment. It is a good idea to join local business networks even if you are running an online business. This way can help you to understand the culture and the local consumer, be that in Asia, Africa or around the world.

Researching online is another good way to guide you to meet the right partners and launch at the right conferences.

Start to learn the local language

Unlike traveling, running a business overseas requires participation in cultural experience every day. Learning the local language is a key step. Although it may sound like challenging, poor language skills are still better than none. Besides, speak the local language will help you meet your partner and customer better. Language skills are important when the market is not native to you. You should also network both locally and internationally. LinkedIn is a great resource for expats.

Get tax and legal advice before and after moving abroad to start your expat business

Local and global tax rules are extremely complex and it makes sense to talk to an expat tax professional that can fully appreciate your expat business plans and it will impact your bottom line. You may want to pick a country with the right tax rules and treaties that will allow you to flourish. Many expats choose jurisdictions with low tax rates. You should also inspect the country if possible first to see if it is a business friendly nation with favorable tax rates and rules. You should also talk to a legal adviser to make sure you are fully compliant with the local laws.

Manage your expat based business online

As an expat entrepreneur running an online business, you will need to mange your team, leads and make sales completely through smart phones or laptops. There are many great communication tools such as Skype, Slack and more to mange team and make sales online. Developing a balanced work and life style is important. Sometimes due to different time zones, you will need to adjust schedules to the clients’ time zone. One of the best things about the internet is that it has enabled the expat entrepreneur lifestyle.

Don’t forget international health insurance considerations for expats 

It is important to choose a quality expat health insurer when you live abroad for your global medical needs. Expat entrepreneurs have a diverse set of roles and can’t rely upon a group expat health plan provided by an employer. Expat Financial offers several different international health insurance plans for expatriates across most parts of the globe, even if you are working on your own or with a few other expat employees. If you have several other expat employees, we may be able to source a group plan that can offer better coverage, terms and premiums. If you have questions about our international medical insurance plans or you want to discuss your needs and produce a customized quote, please contact us or complete the quote form. Also don’t forget to obtain individual life and disability coverage.

What expats should know about UK’s National Health Service (NHS)

The National Health Service (NHS) is a free publicly funded national healthcare system. Recognized as one of the world’s leading health systems, it is the primary healthcare provider in England, including in-patient care, primary care, emergency medical care, long-term healthcare and dentistry. The NHS is for the most part funded from general taxation with a small amount contributed by National insurance payments.

The NHS has three core principles:

  • That the system meet the needs of everyone
  • That coverage be free at the point of delivery
  • That it be based on clinical need, not ability to pay

Most expats in the UK are able to access free emergency medical treatment at NHS hospitals. However, some expatriates will be responsible for payments of in-patient medical treatment and dental, depending on where they are from. Countries such as Australia, EU and New Zealand, etc, citizens are exempt from the NHS healthcare payments.

Expats Using the NHS while living in the UK

Expats living in UK must register for an NHS Number in order to make medical appointment. Due to the long waiting lines, in most cases the appointment will be in about a week or much more. Expats looking to use the NHS should be prepared for long waits.

Private Healthcare in UK

Private healthcare in UK provides best medical specialists in London. Medical cost of private clinics in UK can be expensive but free from long waiting lists. Also, they do guarantee quality treatment and don’t cover chronic conditions, pre-existing medical conditions or cover you outside the UK. Expats living and working in UK will want to obtain international health insurance plan if living the the UK. International health insurance offer global coverage when expats travel back to their home country or overseas. Most plans will cover international medical emergency evacuation and repatriation, preventive healthcare expenses, hospitalization and medicines.

Expats from Outside Europe Returning to UK

It has been reported that Expats from outside Europe who return to the UK and want to access NHS hospitals may be billed for 150 per cent of the cost of treatment if they don’t have sufficient medical coverage. Most treatment remain gratis for those with a European Health Insurance Card (Ehic) along with United Kingdom pensioners residing in the European Economic Area (EEA). Note that Brexit may impact these rules and systems. There are exemptions available to some people, but these rules reflect the current efforts by the UK government to reduce expenses related to the very expensive NHS and cover for expats. More info is noted in the nhs.uk web site for UK expats living in many non-EEA nations who may get free hospital treatment in those countries because of a reciprocal arrangement with the British government.

Obtain International Health Insurance With Expat Financial 

Expat Financial offers several different international health insurance plans for expatriates planning on living the UK who want global coverage.  We also offer group plans for multinational firms that have excellent coverage & wellness programs for your employees along with great rates and enhanced coverage. If you have questions about our services or the plans  we can source, please contact us or complete the quote form

Preventive Healthcare for Expats is Critical

Living abroad is widely viewed as an adventure. People move abroad to become expatriates for work, lifestyle or to retire abroad. Sometimes we are so busy with expat life that we often forget to take care of our health. Moving abroad can often place you in countries with limited medical care or support along with being exposed to more health and safety risks. One way to keep yourself healthy is to take steps to prevent health problems from occurring when you move overseas. Preventive healthcare refers to medical measures to disease prevention. Preventive healthcare is very important for detecting health problems  before they become serious and preventing chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer. In this article, we will help you obtain a better understanding of preventive healthcare and why it is critical for expat.

Differences Between Preventive and Diagnostic Medical Care 

Preventive medical care includes screening, immunizations, lab tests and other medical tests to help you avoid any illness before you notice any symptoms – aiming at help you stay healthy.

Diagnostic medical care is following up and monitoring existing healthcare problems, including treatment based on test results. Both preventive and diagnostic medical care are important in keeping you as healthy as possible.

Preventive Healthcare for Senior Expats

Many senior expats are living a healthy and energetic life style. As we all know, as we get older things don’t always work as well as they used to. Preventive healthcare is especially important for this age group to help them prevent disability and stay healthy.

Generally speaking, all seniors & many adult expats will benefit from these screenings and tests on a regular basis:

  • Blood pressure check
  • Mammogram
  • Cholesterol screening
  • Cancer screening
  • Diabetes screening
  • Age-specific immunizations

Preventive Healthcare if  Pregnant Expats

Being pregnant as an expat is exciting and overwhelming. The best way to take care of yourself and your baby is to get preventive healthcare tests and prenatal care:

  • Follow routine tests such as blood and urine test; Certain medical tests during pregnancy will reduce your risks for any potential diseases;
  • Visit your healthcare provider regularly and talk to medical professionals about vaccines you may need;
  • Check with your expat health plan to see if there is maternity coverage. Most individual plans have a 12 month waiting period while group plans usually have no waiting period.
  • Make sure you check in with your doctor often when you become pregnant. Advise your MD if you will be living abroad in a country where there is limited healthcare or more exposure to health risks such as infections, viruses or other hazards such as the Zika Virus.

Preventive Healthcare for Expat Children

Regular medical check-ups and screenings for your expatriate children is critical. Visit healthcare professionals and discuss any concerns on how to develop a healthy diet, physical and emotional development, etc. Becoming an expat can be a great experience for your expat child, but also a very stressful one – so you may need to seek a mental health professional when you live abroad in order to help your expat children adjust to their new location. Please read our blog post article and obtain more information on Expat Parenting – Are you ready to adjust to family life abroad?

Preventive Healthcare for All Adults 

According to Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, most men are 24% less likely than women to go the doctor. However, regular preventive healthcare can help all adults live a long and healthy life. Some examples of participating in preventative health for men include prostate exams.

Except for general adult preventive healthcare such as blood pressure, cholesterol screening, cancer screening and immunizations, women will benefit from taking mammogram, cervical cancer screening, Chlamydia screening, etc.

How Can International Health Insurance Can Assist in Preventative Care?

The cost of preventive healthcare at many private medical facilities is expensive, especially in more developed countries. Local healthcare packages for expats may include some very basic medical coverage, but those plans usually do not cover preventive healthcare expenses or give you access to advanced private care. With a tailored international health insurance from a company such as Cigna, expats are covered internationally – including medical emergency evacuation and repatriation, preventive healthcare expenses, hospitalization and treatments and medicines. You can choose to add out-patient and wellness modules that include excellent preventive care for expatriates. If you have questions about our international medical insurance plans or you want to discuss your needs and produce a customized quote, please contact us or complete the quote form

We now offer a compliant ACA global health plan for individual expats

Previously American expats who were impacted by the PPACA (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act ) had to purchase a USA local compliant health plan as well as an international health insurance policy to provide coverage abroad. Expat Financial is now able to offer the perfect solution for expats who need global Affordable Care Act (ACA) coverage under one policy that gives you both US compliant healthcare and global coverage. Or to put it another way, you shouldn’t need to buy multiple policies anymore in order to meet the Minimum & Essential Coverage (MEC) requirements and avoid the tax penalties.

Cigna International has offered this exclusive plan that to the best of our knowledge is the only ACA compliant medical plan for individual expats on the market. Only a very small number of insurance brokers in the world are allowed to offer the plan to expats and we are very proud to be considered as a key broker partner of Cigna and we can now sell the policy effective November 1st, 2016.

What is the Affordable Care Act? 

But for those of your who are asking, what is the Affordable Care Act (ACA), we should give you some insights before, is a United States federal statute enacted by President Barack Obama on March 23, 2010, hence the name Obamacare. For more information on PPACA, check out our ACA page.

Which Expats Should Get an ACA Expat Policy? 

Well, that depends on several factors and you should get some tax or legal advice just in case, but we can provide some general insights. Obamacare applies to US citizens, legal US residents, resident aliens and non-resident aliens required to file tax forms unless they are exempt. There are several way to be exempt if an expat qualifies for the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion by either the Physical Presence test or the Bona Fide Residence test. Generally this will mean being out of the USA for more than 330 days or being a bona fide foreign resident. Most residents of American territories are deemed to have Minimum and Essential Coverage (MEC). Again, best to talk to your tax expert.

How Much Tax Will an Expat Pay?

If you are an expat who is a US taxpayer and you are not excluded from the PPACA rules, then the tax amount will depend on your income. The tax is referred to by the IRS as the “individual shared responsibility payment,” but is most widely known as a tax. Expat individuals or family with an income over $83,400 can pay a penalty equal to 2.5% of their income in 2016 if they don’t meet an individual mandate to obtain compliant healthcare under the PPACA rules. You don’t have to comply – you can simply pay the “tax” instead, but why not put that tax to work with an ACA compliant health plan. Check with your tax professional to see how much you will pay as it varies widely.

Who can Purchase the ACA Expat Health Plan?

To be considered eligible for the Cigna ACA Global Health Plan, you must be under age 65 and a:

  • Non-US Nationals residing in the U.S. under an eligible visa or green card (Inbound)
  • US Nationals residing out of the U.S. (Outbound)

For expats in the USA, getting a MEC policy is very difficult to obtain before they arrive and they generally want a plan that will provide coverage outside the USA, especially in their home country. Most U.S. policies in the USA don’t provide cover abroad. If you are an American expat living or about to be living abroad and require PPACA compliant health plan, having one global solution seems to be the perfect fit. However, the coverage is quite comprehensive and the premiums may be higher than some are willing to pay.

What does the ACA Global Health Plan Cover? 

This comprehensive policy offers a number of benefits for expats, including:

  • Worldwide coverage including the USA
  • Completely portable coverage for this American style plan
  • A wide range of deductibles and coinsurance
  • Optional dental, vision and evacuation
  • Meets the minimum essential coverage requirements of the PPACA so you can avoid the tax penalty that currently runs at 2.5% of income
  • Unlimited maximum with maternity cover
  • Covers pre-existing medical conditions! This is a huge benefit of the Cigna plan.
  • Great mental health and addiction coverage

Who Can’t Purchase this ACA Global Health Plan? 

The plan is not meant for everyone and Cigna can only offer this policy to a select population including:

  • US Nationals residing in the U.S. (including US territory includes: Guam, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Northern Marian Islands and Virgin Islands). There are visa requirements to get the policy.
  • Non-US national not residing in the U.S.

What Can I Do if I Don’t Qualify or Require an ACA Expat Health Plan? 

For expats who don’t qualify for the Cigna ACA plan or simply don’t want one, we still offer their excellent Global Health Options policy from Cigna via our web site. It offers similar coverage with a variety of options and deductible levels to meet almost any budget. Also, you can exclude the USA for additional savings if you don’t require coverage in the United States.

If you do want to get Cigna ACA health plan quote, click the link below.

getquote

If you have a tax or legal questions that relates to the PPACA, Obamacare or ACA, it is strongly recommended that you talk to your tax or legal adviser. The above is noted for general information purposes only and not meant to be seen as legal or tax advice.