Coverage for medical treatment in the USA important for many expats

Almost all international health plans will either include medical treatment in the USA or exclude it. Some global medical plans will give individual expatriates the option to purchase coverage in America at an extra cost. For some plans, this can mean a much higher premium while others may include it for American nationals residing abroad at a fraction of the cost. Most American expats residing abroad will seek out a global medical plan that includes the USA because if they suffer a serious medical illness or injury, the expat will most likely want to seek medical treatment back home in the USA. For non-US citizens who are residing in the USA who are not eligible for a local health plan on a group or individual basis, it is obviously critical that one purchase a medical plan that includes treatment in the United States.

If you are an expatriate who is living abroad and travel often to the United States, it is also important to get the USA coverage option. For non-US expats residing in a country that is close to the USA, it is also advisable that you get the USA coverage option because the local medical system in your host country may not be able to handle a serious medical claim and you may be sent to the USA for medical treatment. This is especially important for expatriates who reside in the Caribbean, Mexico and even Central and South America. Yes it will add to your monthly premium, but you do not want to be in the USA without medical insurance, especially if your are evacuated to a hospital in Miami or California for treatment.

While some individual expat health plans will cover emergency medical treatment in the USA, some expats who do not wish the substantial cost of including coverage in the United States will choose to purchase single or multi-trip travel medical coverage for any trips to the USA. It is important to contact your international health insurance needs with an expat insurance expert and weigh the costs and benefits of having an international health insurance plan that provides full coverage in the United States of America. Expat Financial provides a variety of individual health plans that can provide global coverage – including Cigna, BUPA, IMG and Allianz.

David Tompkins to speak at Global HR Conference in Toronto on June 18th

David Tompkins, President of TFG Global Insurance Solutions Ltd., which owns and operates Expat Financial, will be speaking at the Global Human Resources conference in Toronto on June 18th, 2015. The theme of the event will be on growing global business and managing mobile talent. The objectives of the conference are to help HR managers who employ expatriates around the world. Business leaders will be attending and will learn how to acquire the best talent of the positions, local and right price in the globalized business environment.

David Tompkins will speak on international group insurance and provide detailed tips one what to look for when setting up and maintaining an expatriate group insurance plan. David has spoken and written extensively on global insurance challenges that are faced by individual expats and their employers. David will also discuss special risk coverage for employees who are posted to high risk zones such as Iraq and Afghanistan – especially the requirement for terrorism insurance in today’s uncertain world.

The event will also feature very interesting presentations from a global tax expert at Trowbridge, CEO of HR.com and the head of HR at Hootsuite. This event is critical for any business which manages global employees outside of Canada or is bringing in talent from overseas. More information can be found online. Tickets are available from Global Business News web site or from TFG Global Insurance Solutions Ltd.

The event will take place at the AIG offices at 145 Wellington Street West, Toronto, Canada at 9 AM and finish by 2:30 PM.

Maternity expenses can be very expensive for expats & tourists

Going abroad is a huge financial and emotional commitment for expatriates, but even more so if you add maternity to the mix. The importance of maternity coverage is even more important if you will be residing or traveling abroad, especially if your travels will take you to the USA. Travel insurance plans will generally not cover pregnancy related expenses, especially in the last 3 months of a pregnancy. If a pregnancy has any complications, then you can rest assured your travel insurance policy will not cover any expenses should there be a premature or regular birth. This was made quite clear in the news recently as a Canadian couple purchase travel medical insurance to cover their trip to Hawaii. Only two days after their arrival the mother’s water broker and was prescribed bed rest and was unable to be repatriated back to Canada for some reason.

The premature baby was born six weeks later by C-section and was required to stay two months in the neonatal intensive care unit. The medical expenses amounted to over $900,000 along with additional living expenses for the husband. Unfortunately, the travel insurer denied the claim because it sited the pre-existing medical exclusion in the policy because of an earlier bladder infection that was clear before they left on the trip. This huge medical claim illustrates the danger of traveling when pregnant, especially in the USA or elsewhere in the world where medical expense are high.

Expat Financial is often contacted by couples who are traveling while pregnant and we are not able to located travel medical coverage that will cover an existing pregnancy. Some expat medical policies will provide some medical coverage, but it is better not to test the plan and instead stay home. For individual expatriates who are already pregnant and require international health insurance, there are no expat health plans that will cover them. Individual expat health insurance plans that offer maternity coverage will only cover pregnancies after a 10 or 12 month waiting period. Maternity can often be included in a plan or purchased as an optional benefit.

The only way to potentially an existing pregnancy will be to part of a group expat health plan that covers maternity expenses with no waiting period. As demonstrated by the huge medical claim for the Canadian couple in Hawaii, a large policy maximum is also important. If you are lucky enough to be covered by a group expat health plan, make sure you read the fine print as it relates to pregnancy expenses. Caution when it comes to pregnancy is probably the best policy.

44% Increase in terrorism attacks in 2013 – Terrorism insurance is critical

It has recently been reported by the Global Terrorism Index 2014 report that deaths from terrorism rose by 61% from the previous year in 2013. There were nearly 10 thousand terrorist attacks in 2013, which is a 44% increase from 2012. Iraq is the country that is the most impacted by terrorist attacks thanks to al-Qaeda and the Islamic State (ISIL or ISIS). A report from the Institute for Economics and Peace remarked that 18 thousand people died from terrorism related injuries in 2013. Syria and Iraq are fueling a dramatic increase in terrorism, but Boko Haram in Nigeria is also responsible for the global increase. Further destabilization in the Middle East will only increase the amount of terrorism in the world. Even Turkey and Mexico are experiencing higher rates of terrorism.

Terrorism across the world is being driven by religious, nationalistic and separatist movements that are attracting followers from the western world. Authorities are justifiably worried that citizens who have traveled abroad to join terrorist movements such as ISIS will then come back to wage terrorist battles back in their home countries – especially in Europe and the USA.

Expatriates are encouraged to obtain international insurance coverage that will cover civil strife, terrorism and even war if they will be traveling or posted to countries where such risks are present or possible. Unfortunately, terrorist attacks can occur almost anywhere. Expat Financial can work with individual expatriates and expat employers who are sending employees overseas to discuss their risk profile and find international insurance plans that will not exclude terrorism and war related claims for passive bystanders. War and Terrorism risk insurance is becoming a necessity for many international employers with employees posted overseas and Expat Financial can search the market for an international group insurance plan that will provide war risk coverage. Please contact us for more information.

Source:  Global Terrorism Database

Please check out our video which describes the special risk coverage that our firm can source:

 

 

Terrorism coverage has become a necessity for some expatriates

Silhouette of soldierIt is an unfortunate reality that living abroad today can be just as risky as ever. Recent events have shown that many parts of the world are becoming increasingly volatile.

Whether your move is for business or pleasure, understanding and predicting future medical needs can be very difficult. If your relocating on a fixed contract, you may be fortunate enough to have your insurance provided by your employer — they will likely have a better idea of how much health coverage is required for your stay. Otherwise, seeking out expatriate medical insurance is essential to maintaining your health, safety, and peace of mind.

Even with the ability to relocate nearly anywhere in the world, health and safety risks for expatriates have increased once again with the political unrest in the Middle East, especially with advances made by the terrorist group ISIS. Seeking special risk coverage is a necessity when traveling to countries in conflict. Earlier this year, this coverage has become additionally important for expatriates in some European countries, as the Russia-Ukraine conflict persists. Terrorism is a real danger for expatriates spending their residency in countries such as these.

Many insurance policies for expatriates will exclude war and terrorism related claims, so it is vital that individual expatriates and their employers secure plans which will cover war and terrorism. More information on global insurance plans to cover expatriates can be obtained at Expat Financial.

 

Venezuelan currency problems are impacting expat insurers

global_medicalThere has been a steep devaluation of the Venezuelan Bolivar in recent months. Official exchange rates defined by organizations like Dow Jones – that are used in the claims reimbursement process by many expatriate group insurance companies, no longer reflect market exchange rates. Continuing to do so could lead to reimbursing claims for amounts that are disproportionate to the actual market value of the expenses.

Some international health insurance firms will now use the SICAD II (Complimentary System of Foreign Currency Acquirement) exchange rate for reimbursing claims incurred in Venezuelan Bolivars. This exchange rate was introduced by the Central Bank of Venezuela in March 2014 as part of the government’s plan to help stabilize its shaky currency. It is thought to be more in line with the actual market value of the Venezuelan Bolivar than any other index. It is critical that expatriates be covered by an insurance company which can settle claims in major currencies.

TFG Global Insurance Solutions Ltd. and its expat division Expat Financial will continue to monitor the situation and how it will impact expatriates who reside in Venezuela and other countries with currencies which are volatile. More information on international health insurance, including quotes, can be obtained at Expat Financial.

 

Expatriates can face higher rates of mental illness

Mental Health for ExpatriatesLiving abroad as an expatriate can be very rewarding and exciting for an expatriate employee and his or her family members. However, many expatriate employees often face culture shock, homesickness and social isolation. There is often a lack of support for expats and it can be more difficult to cope with living in a new country and culture. Many expatriates and their family members can be faced with mental illness – including stress, depression and anxiety. It is vital that an expatriate employer make sure that the group expatriate insurance plan contain coverage for mental illness. Unfortunately, many international health plans will exclude mental illness and substance abuse related claims. It it vital that individual expatriates and their employers obtain a plan that will cover these claims. Having mental illness coverage might cost a bit more, but the savings from unpaid claims and a failed expat assignment can more than offset the costs of covering such illnesses.

Being away from your normal social circle is particularly difficult in cases of depression and many expats and their family members probably suffer in silence. It is critical that one seek out professional help as soon as possible. An expatriate Employee Assistance Program (EAP) can be a great addition to an expat health plan. Some expatriate insurance plans can include an EAP program that is specially designed for globally mobile employees overseas. An insurer can also provide a list of mental health providers who are recommended for expatriates, especially ones who speak the same language.

Mental health is now in the news again because of Robin William’s recent suicide. It is vital that all those who suffer from mental illness not suffer in silence and seek medical treatment and support. For more information on individual and group expat insurance coverage, contact Expat Financial today.

 

Ebola Virus and Medical Evacuation for Expatriates

Ebola VirusThe World Health Organization recently declared the West African Ebola epidemic that has killed nearly 1,000 people an international public-health emergency. As the Ebola virus continues it march across Africa, international health insurance providers and their medical evacuation suppliers are continuing to monitor the precarious situation there. Some clients of TFG Global and Expat Financial which have employees in Africa are asking how their employees will be treated should they become infected with the deadly Ebola virus.

If an insured person is infected, it will be vital to immediately advise the health authorities, eliminate contact with others and seek medical attention. Most medical insurance policies will cover the medical expenses associated with the Ebola disease, but medical evacuation will be much more complicated and precarious because of the highly infecteous nature of this disease.

An evacuation request would still be subject for review and coordination between the insurance company and the evacuation provder, however, the Ebola outbreak also has the added component of local and world health organizations. For instance, the insurer’s actions may be limited if a specific village is quarantined. If a client is worried about the safety of their employees, they may wish to take them out of that infected area as a proactive measure.

Generally, a healthy individual would not qualify for medical evacuation, so the client/member would be responsible for such travel costs. Basically, evacuation is often decided on a case by case basis that would need to follow an approval process and be reviewed and handled by the insurance company’s medical staff. Evacuation providers such as ISOS have staff and also the local health authorities in the region who are constantly monitoring the situation. The fact that Ebola is a deadly contagious disease with the World Health Organization (WHO) and other medical organizations involved, makes it more complicated as insurers  must also follow these authorities’ guidelines.

Also, a country may refuse to allow Ebola infected patients to be evacuated to their country to prevent the spread of the disease, so I would expect that evacuation of an infected individual may be very difficult due to countries not wanting to import the disease to their country. Resources may be stained as well as transporting an infected patient is extremely difficult and requires specially outfitted planes and support staff.

For more information on international group insurance, medical evacuation plans and an examination of your organization’s global mobility benefits, please contact TFG Global Insurance Solutions Ltd. through its Expat Financial division. Individual global health insurance plans are also available.

 

Ebola Virus Outbreak is Reminder of the Importance of International Health Insurance

There have been reported outbreaks of the Ebola virus in Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia. One infected person even died in Lagos, Nigeria after a plane trip from a nearby country. Ebola virus is a rare and deadly disease. The Ebola incubation period, from exposure to when signs or symptoms appear, usually ranges from 2 to 21 days. Early symptoms include sudden fever, chills, and muscle aches. Around the fifth day, a skin rash can occur. Nausea, vomiting, chest pain, sore throat, abdominal pain, and diarrhea may follow. It is vital that one seek treatment as soon as possible and take immediate steps not expose others to the illness. 

Some expat health insurance policies may not cover a pandemic illness, but most policies will cover the illness like any other illness. One should check your international health insurance plan to make sure you know what you are covered for, especially if you will travel to a region where Ebola has been reported. Your employer should also check the international group insurance plan to ensure that any Ebola related illness will be covered. More information can be found at:

 

Expat employers with few employees can obtain group expat coverage

One of the largest barriers to expatriate group insurance adoption for small organizations without a current plan is the simple belief that their company is “too small” for a benefit plan. Others think that a global mobility program for their small firm will cost too much.

Many companies do not know that there are international group insurance plans that are available for the small expat business market with as few as three overseas employees. The impact of an unfunded life, disability, evacuation or health claim can lead to a large impact on the organization, its employees and bottom line. This is even more of an issue for a small company with potentially much smaller backup resources than a large firm.

While the insurance benefits for a small group plan may be more restrictive because the risks can’t be spread upon a large population of employees, the group expat benefits will still be superior to what an individual expat health plan will offer. The administration of a group expat plan will also be much easier for a company’s human resources executive. The premiums for an international group insurance plan will also be lower than a group of individual plans. Some group plans will also provide medical coverage without any underwriting. Life, Disability, AD&D, evacuation and dental benefits can also be added.

A group expat plan can be started with as few as two or three employees with some global insurance companies. Send your company’s expat population census information to Expat Financial today so we can obtain quotes from the market after discussing your organization’s benefit needs.

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