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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Global health insurance inflation continues unabated

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Recent studies have shown that medical inflation trends continue to rise unabated for both individual and employee sponsored international health insurance plans. The average global annual inflation trend for medical costs may be 10% overall, but the percentage is higher in select countries such as the USA and Canada, where many expatriates are covered and may seek treatment. Companies such as Aetna Global and Cigna International often report medical inflation trends of 12 to 13%. This trend rate is also shared by many expat insurance providers.

What is driving the increase in medical costs? Many providers cite a large number of factors such as:

  • poor health habits such as obesity
  • drug costs increase, especially with biologic drugs which can easily run in the tens of thousands of dollars
  • compliance with local coverage requirements, including the Affordable Care Act in the USA
  • defensive medicine where doctors order unnecessary tests to ward off legal actions
  • new healthcare technologies are constantly being introduced and demanded by patients
  • demographics and age of the population, which is related to the size and age structure of the population that are using health care services
  • the intensity of care, which refers to increases in the care and services per unit of care delivered

These factors and more are having major impacts on the claims that are being incurred by domestic and international health insurers. These costs have to be passed onto individual policy holders and employer sponsored expat group insurance plans. Expatriates and their employers need to adapt their global medical insurance plans to make sure the coverage meets their needs and budgets. Some may choose to reduce costs by:

  • increasing the size of deductibles
  • increase coinsurance levels
  • have employees share in the premium payments
  • remove certain medical procedures and possibly restricting coverage areas

It is important to work with an independent global insurance specialist firm such as Expat Financial, which is a division of TFG Global Insurance Solutions Ltd. We can analyze the coverage needs of both individual expatriates and their employers and then search the market for a plan that will meet their respective needs and budgets. Learn more about the international group insurance plans we offer expat employers.

 

What to Consider When Moving Abroad

Moving abroad to work and live can be a huge decision for both you and your family. A move abroad involves a lot of advance preparation and planning-such as where to live, transport, where to educate your children, getting help, language training etc… It can all be quite daunting, especially if you have never worked abroad or are receiving little help from your employer.

One of the biggest challenges for an expatriate is obtaining the right international health insurance policy. Obtaining a global health plan is usually on the top of your to-do list. It is important to know that the health of of you and your family is protected as this will provide a high level of comfort and peace of mind. Expat Financial has long been recognized as a key source of international health plans for individual expatriates and their employers. Expat Financial, which is a division of TFG Global Insurance Solutions Ltd., offers global medical plans from a variety of insurance providers who can cover expatriates and their family members.

An international health policy can be a complex policy to purchase, but Expat Financial is here to help you find the right product to suit your needs and budget. With a large number of global medical plans – from basic to deluxe – from several large and well known insurers, we are sure to have a plan that will meet your requirements. Expat Financial even offers health plans that can be quoted and purchased via the internet.

If your employer has three or more expatriate employees, the HR director can contact us for an international benefit program that not only provides global medical care, but life, disability, dental and evacuation insurance. The savings from having a group plan can be significant. Also, a group plan can often automatically cover an employee’s pre-existing medical conditions.

In additional to insurance products, our firm can refer you to international firms which can help you with cultural training, relocation and tax preparation. Check out our Links page for more information. Expat Financial can also source global life and disability programs for many expatriates in most parts of the world.

If you are going global, make sure you put contacting Expat Financial for international health insurance at the top of your list.

Updated Foreign Exchange Services

TFG Global has recently updated the foreign exchange page for expatriates and some local nationals. You can view the newly updated page at:

http://expatfinancial.com/foreign-exchange/

Our firm has partnered with OzForex, a strategic investment of Macquarie BankAccel Partners and the Carlyle Group and its original co-founders Matt Gilmour and Gary Lord. USForex is part of the OzForex Group which includes UKForex, CanadianForex, OzForex, NZForex and USForex.

We are pleased to offer this additional service to our customers living abroad. It is a secure way to send money international and can offer better exchange rates than your bank. Youc an register free for international money transfers and gain valuable insights on foreign exchange trends. USForex is registered at a federal level with “FinCEN”, a bureau of the United States Department of Treasury, as a Money Services Business.

 

 

Why Expat Health Insurance is Essential

At Expat Financial, we like to give expatriates the tools and information to personalize their requirement for expatriate health insurance. Easy access to superior healthcare is a necessity for anyone living or working abroad. As you may know, in the developing world and even in some developed countries, the local medical institutions can be inadequate, costly or unattainable depending. Everyone experiences sickness and accidents in their lifetime and superb expatriate health insurance coverage is a critical step to one’s recovery and also maintaining one’s health.

Expatriate health insurance plans offer a variety of degrees of medical coverage and with a large array of deals available from health insurance companies the decisions can feel quite arduous. The expense of medical care is rapidly rising globally at a rate faster than the price of living. If a dire situation were to occur many would quickly realize that having a plan that insures any foreseeable circumstances is paramount. Health insurance could likely be the most important expatriate insurance you buy.

international health insurance plan from Expat Financial

Many people think that if they are going to be living in a developed country, then the need for health insurance is lower because obtaining local care is relatively inexpensive or one can obtain a local health plan at next to no cost. This is dangerous because if the health care costs are low, it most likely means that you won’t want to be treated there for anything other than something minor. An expat health plan will be essential to help you obtain proper care at a local private hospital or be evacuated to a center of medical excellence in another country. Also, using a local health insurance plan is not advisable because the coverage may be poor and it won’t cover you being treated outside the country, especially back home.

Expat Financial is your essential expat health insurance resource. Feel free to contact us to examine your global medical insurance needs so that you can obtain the right policy that will meet your needs and budget. Expat Financial can also source group benefit plans for expatriates.